You see, Masked Intruder has a dancer, who is a dude dressed up in a cop costume. His job is to run around and rile people up. He accomplishes this by pushing people and moshing with them. Part of his job is to flip people off, too. He flips off as many people as he can at any given moment, on- or offstage. I imagine that Masked Intruder would kidnap me, as they are robbers, and I'd probably get sick and tired of the cop, even though I think he's cool at the same time.
Sheena Ozella, the frontwoman (guitar and vocals) of Lemuria, is an amazing guitarist—she's clearly an intelligent person, as her odd chord structuring and deft movement along the neck played out sonically with an almost jazzy character. Her left hand played Tetris with itself and moved from barre 7 chords to tuning while she was singing during a stop.
Young Widows exude a chilled-out vibe to their brand of sludgy hardcore. Their music is intense, with frontman Evan Patterson's guitar riffs chunking out like metal bolts and anvils coming out of a meat grinder, but it's a sort of pensive aggressiveness, like watching volatile chemicals in science. Young Widows are the type of band whose record you throw on and smoke a J to, even though they are noise-rockers imbued with hardcore.
There is not enough sarcasm in all of Austin to match the amount that came out of Pissed Jeans vocalist Matt Korvette. Pissed Jeans is just as their name says, sans jeans. Pissed Jeans don’t give a fuck about you or what you do, say, or want. Honestly, Matt said, “We actually don’t care about you guys,” to the audience.
Maximum Hedrum's stage presence was incredibly wacky and crazy. One could definitely tell that the band was from Hollywood CA. Most of the band members where blasting out more fake energy than a Tony Robbins convention and spouted one liners to entice the audience.
Merchandise had manifested a persona during their show that said, “accept us or reject us, we really don’t care.” They create a calm and introverted demeanor through vocals combined with small, slow-flowing movements while the lead singer would close his eyes to feel the music, crowd and energy of the room, much like any successful shoegaze band.
I first heard about Charles Bradley after he played The State Room in SLC last year. SLUG's former managing editor, Jeanette Moses, came in the office the next day exclaiming about his show the night before. For the next week, everywhere I went I ran into friends speaking about the Charles Bradley show. When I saw he was playing SXSW, I knew I couldn't miss him.
Holy shit, I have been to a lot of parties and seen a lot of shows, but I don't think I have ever experienced one exactly like this. Within the first three songs, Icon Pop had put every single girl in the house into an excited estrogen-fuled frenzy. This must be what Katy Perry shows are like, except the music was fucking awesome and the audience wasn't dressed up in stupid blue wigs. Every dude in the place looked scared.
Bajofondo has a polished sense of how and when to move onstage. At one point, the drummer got a thick beat going, and frontman and guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla heralded his bandmates to get the crowd to start clapping along. As the audience followed suit, the stringed instruments cascaded into a dissonant, bend-sounding synergy of sound.
It was Death, the protopunk band—one of the (retroactively) driving forces in rock n' roll history. And they killed it. The remaining Hackney brothers were right on spot in the rhythm section, and they had two guitarists rather than one. As Bobby Hackney said at various times during their set, this was music straight out of 1975, and I felt like I was transported there.