Saturday, March 17th – Needless Suffering

Posted March 18, 2007 in
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Today is the last day of SXSW and I decided to go full blast start to finish by seeing as many bands as possible. Ironically enough, most of the bands that I wanted to see were playing free shows on "the wrong side of the tracks" an industrial area that had several unofficial SXSW venues such as a trailer held up by rocks and buckets in front of Snake Eyes records, a Mexican restaurant called Misses Bee's were, I hear, illegal immigrants hang out the rest of the time and as a gringo you wouldn't want to be caught dead there any other time, someone's backyard petting zoo and the Scoot Inn. It's like having many Kilby Courts within two blocks of each others.

Erik in eurotrash glasses

The first band I saw was a bona fide Ryan Powers powerhouse called the White Mouse. They were an electronic, full frontal assault of grindcore with swirling, urgent blips of noise. The three piece dressed up with lab coats smattered with "blood" and they all wore clunky, cumbersome mice heads with various grotesque mutations on them. Typical of these types of bands, they were fast, intense but not all that technical. What set this band apart was their dynamism brought about by the electronic factor. It was very Venom meets a pared down Black Dice.

Next, I trotted through an alley way to see Genghis Tron play on a trailer. Not much to say here except that they were on par with their other show. Once you rock as hard as they do, it's pretty hard to top yourself.

After Genghis Tron, I headed back to Misses Bee's and saw NOXAGT. NOXAGT was a three piece (see pattern here?) from Norway. They had a monstrous black metal sound that was extremely heavy, technical and mathy. NOXAGT's sound was like putting heavy metal riffs through a grinder. It was a massive as a tornado.

Before seeing Green Milk from the Planet Orange yet again, a chick from New York City who looked like my mom, had green and black tights with horribly applied lipstick. Dynasty Handbag was just one chick with a laptop not to far away from a more DIY, lo-fi Peaches. The music was dancy indie-electro-pop that she danced and lip-synched to. She was half-improv comedy and half-entertainer. It was awesome novelty to take my mind off the sweltering heat and humidity of mid-day.

Angela, Maddy (an English traveling campanion, and yours truly, Mark Trail

Assemble Head and the Sunburst Sound played a flavor of psych revival that included a Theremin. What was disappointing about the live show was that the record far out shadowed the boring performance. None of the spark or dynamism of what they could do with the recording process appeared. Compared to other psych revival bands such as Green Milk or Entrance, they were soft and mechanical almost as they were focusing too much on a script.

The sound inside the Scoot was horrible as the mic was hot and the guitar and bass were muddled. Pusher played inside the Scoot Inn. The Scoot looked like a more rundown and smaller Burt's but with hardly any personality and bare walls. This didn't stop Pusher from rocking a hardcore sound with a splash of a refined technical guitar playing that blew the fuses in the place! Pusher ripped through a small set until the fuse blew. Similary, The Lords played an mped up set similar to that of Pusher but with a fiercer Form of Rocket flavor. Both bands are from Louisville, KY. The Lords featured ex-members of Coliseum and Breather Resist. I then went outside to see Teeth of the Hydra, a Tee Pee records band effectively blending Entombed with the Melvins. It was great but nothing to write home about.

SXSW Indie Rock Mardi Gras

Psychic Paramount, featuring ex-members of Laddio Blocko, were a trio and the last band to play inside and boy did they fucking hand my ears back to me bruised and bloody. The Psychic Paramount's sound is so loud (ala early shoegaze bands like Bark Psychosis and My Blood Valentine) yet so clean that you can actually hear what the band is about instead of a brutal wall of sound; the comparisons to shoegaze aren't totally off key as they are an unholy between MBV and SunnO))). This set was so intense and my ears were rocked so hard, I didn't know if I could make it to the last show just outside the door, Earthless.

Earthless is a J Mascsis side project in which he plays drums and totally hits the Black Sabbath/Blue Cheer vein. The guitar solo's, monster riffs and psychedelic noodling made this band good but not great. Maybe it was the fact that I had just been blown away for four hours, maybe it was the time of night but Earthless, while good, just didn't compare to the smaller, more intense bands that I saw inside the Scoot.

Saturday was the perfect day to end SXSW as I was able to round out my experience with bands such as the White Mice and Psychic Paramount. I was able to see drugged out hippies dance and subsequently get made fun and chased out of a venue, see a local Austin color in the industrial side of town and rock out from noon to 2am in the morning. Exhausted and beaten, I am ready to call it a week.