K-Holes played a rocking opening number at Panache Booking's showcase on Tuesday March 13 at the Scoot Inn. Photo: Angela H. Brown
I kicked my week in Austin off with a free party at The Scoot Inn, hosted by Panache booking, featuring 14 bands on two separate stages—a small one inside and a larger one outside.
A five-piece called the K-Holes, from New York City, opened the night on the outdoor stage. Their initial song of the night sparked my attention, but after that, I quickly lost interest in what was happening onstage. Luckily, Panache caters to those of us with short attention spans, and a few songs into K-Holes set, another band had started playing on the indoor stage
The adorable, four-piece girl group from Brooklyn, known as Habibi, was already a few songs into their set when I walked in. Although their set started out a little rocky and their frontwoman seemed a bit nervous at first, their stage presence improved as they continued to play. The guitar player, bass player and tambourine-playing frontwoman harmonized on many of the songs. Although their guitar player spent a good deal of the last song, “Tomboy,” struggling to re-attach her guitar strap to her instrument, it was actually one of the catchiest and strongest songs of the short set. Plus, the crowd got to see some hilarious “team work” as their lead singer meticulously reattached the strap, while singing and seeming to never miss a note. Nice work ladies—that ordeal could have been disastrous
Oakland, Calif.’s Bare Wires were up next on the outdoor stage. I’d been looking forward to checking these guys out since hearing Cheap Perfume earlier this year. Recorded, the trio’s garage pop was reminiscent of acts like Ty Segall. Unfortunately, onstage they reminded me of a less-energetic Bass Drum of Death. Their set was good, but nothing to write home about. Halfway through the set, they announced that the drummer onstage was a fill-in, which might have explained why the live performance felt so lackluster compared to their recorded material
The final set of the night that I caught was from Brooklyn’s Xray Eyeballs. The band quickly got to work decorating their mic stands and a keyboard in white Christmas lights, and I squished my way up front between a sea of photographers. It appears that Xray Eyeballs have once again replaced a drummer, as Sarah Baldwin was noticeably absent, and in her place was a male drummer. Their short sound check was telling of sound issues that would plague the entire set. The sound guy couldn’t seem to get Liz Lohse’s keyboards loud enough, and every band member complained that they couldn’t hear themselves in the monitors. Unfortunately, Xray Eyeballs' set suffered from many of the same problems that their set in New York City did during CMJ—vocals that were so buried, it was difficult to hear the words of the songs—an unfortunate situation for a band with lyrics that sound like lullabies. It seemed like OJ San Felipe realized the issues and in an attempt to re-engage the crowd, handed his guitar to a fan in the front row, stage dived into the crowd and crowd surfed to the bar in the back of the room to grab a beer before crowd surfing back to the stage. The antics were entertaining, but I just wish their set had sounded better.