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Day Four, Friday

Straight to the Convention Centre Days Stage for a mid day show. The UK phenomenon Jack Garret got the day off to a pop blistering start.

One of the hottest bands in the world right now up next. Glasgow’s very own CHVRCHES. Less of a concert, felt more like sitting through a late night chat show performance complete with lengthy in between talking to the audience. Still I can see why they make many people smile.

Still in same place we have another UK band making a bit of a comeback. In a sort of Blues Brothers for 2016 without the humor mould, I was looking forward to seeing The Heavy, but after 15 minutes I realized their proper name was The Heavy Weather. Average.

Out into the streets of Downtown Austin and over to Mohawk. On the outdoor stage were The Strumbellas from Canada. They have a song which every indie station in the US has on heavy rotation. Only slightly off-putting is the toy steam train noise which accompanies the chorus. Good fun show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9kXstb9FF4

On to Swan Dive yet again. Outdoors is Basia Bulat. She describes herself as "10 songs of desire and redemption, lit up with a bottle-rocket of liberated, faintly psychedelic sound". A grand claim but she definitely has something going on here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH6Vm_-z9GY

On to yet another of Elliot’s picks. If I was to suggest that you accompany me to see an aging Danny Devito lookalike in a Kaftan do Saturday Night Fever disco soul songs, what would your response be? Mine was in the positive. Madness ensued. I give you Har Mar Superstar.

Next and back at the Convention centre day stage is the continuation of the VuHaus day, where some of the greatest Public Service Broadcast radio stations were broadcasting live, including what may be the best radio station I have ever encountered, Portland’s finest OPB station - check them out.

Two of the most talked about bands were up next. In fact perhaps the two largest Buzz Bands of the week. First Lucius fronted by twin female harmonies and killer tunes and easily the best dressed band of the week. Destined for stardom etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv6jER7wrPM

Next a band playing their 17th show of the week (they said). Perhaps the most hyped act of this year, the all girl quartet from Madrid, Hinds. They were fine but not up to the publicity, a watered down Savages, a less dubby Slits.

Storms were brewing again in Austin so we took refuge in Valhalla to see a little band I had heard of, Keeps, once more from Nashville. It was a night of doppelgängers as the lead guitars was Rick Moranis, Ghostbuster’s Era. He was spectacular, must have been good because theirs was the only show all week I actually bought their vinyl and carried it around for the rest of the day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvTnvn-Rlmg

The skies then burst and all over Austin the outdoor venue shows were suspended. So we jumped out of the rain and in to Elysium to sample the wild Japanese night. It started classy. Sort of Tokyo Stray Cats.

It ended tacky. Here is the same guy. This time without his Bass Cello and clothes but with Mustard and Tomato sauce all down his back. Not quite art. Pointless sharing their name.

Storms passed. In to the Parish to see Bee Caves. Beardie Hipsters turn out to be alright after all shock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYKBh1Z7DP8

BD Riley’s Irish Bar, tiny little stage. Best cider in Austin. And. A Rarity - a great French band, The Blind Suns, who also had the best geetar riff of the week with this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5S3unl7N8M

Where were they when we lived in Paris? Anyway this is them as viewed from the street looking through the window, as I went next door to see The Twerps from Canada whilst Elliot stayed to watch The Blind Suns.

The Twerps. Rockers. Good.

On to Tellers to see a great one man band called Advance Base. I have followed this guy since he was called Casiotone For The Painfully Alone which is the most accurate review I could give his show.

So use your imagination here. Imagine, a person with a casiotone. That is it. Here he is. Quite special. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvMn91xVosE

Back to the Parish to see the quite disappointing Eleanor Friedberger, formerly with The Friendly Fires, before heading to see one of the great new Dutch acts at Sidewinder. Every year there is, for me, a stand out pop song which becomes quite a thing over the summer that follows. In the past this has been stuff like Peter, Bjorn and John with Young Ones as well as The Naked and the Famous with Young Blood, or Of Monsters And Men with Little Talks. This year I suspected it would be Transviolet from Amsterdam with New Bohemians. But we caught a bit of a curse this year and wasted a good, oh thirty minutes or so, watching bands tune up or have technical problems on a number of occasions. This was the worst as we had to get to the next gig which was late night special featuring one of my must see bands Ghostland Observatory. So my review of Transviolet is - they looked busy setting up and their video is worth watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orSl4qnc1iM

So we went to catch Ghostland Observatory at Bangers which turned out to be the Pandora House, so was like the inside of a glam MTV studio. Huge queues for about 100 yards outside for this midnight show. Despite having badge privileges we had to join a mini queue and after the longest wait of the week to get inside a venue ( about 15 minutes) we got in. Entered a parallel universe. One where 1977 had never happened and manufactured boy bands were the only music in the world. This meant we got to see someone who I have since discovered is the new Justin Beiber. From Australia, Troy Silvan. As you would expect I, erm, loved it. Excellent show. Wild crowd. This is footage from that very same show. Yes, sacrilegious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJbYYaO0hO4

Finally much later. Elliot and I have a truly SXSW Moment. On come Ghostland Observatory. I saw them in 2006 at my first SXSW visit. A special local two man Austin band. Fronted by a dreadlocked indigenous American singer/guitarist and his keyboard pal. All these years later they had transformed. A full band and the lead was not fashionably bald, bearded and no longer played guitar. Their sound had evolved too - more dance and pop tunes orientated. Anyway they were great and Elliot liked them a lot. All went well till their final song when they said thanks and goodbye, announcing that they were X-Ambassadors. Turned out the storm had played havoc with the running order and lots of changes later this happened!!

This is what we saw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti2ps3809MI

Suitably confused we headed to Esther’s Follies to the 1 am show. A member of my all time favorite band was putting on a solo show. The band is Magazine. He was the base player, Barry Adamson. Whilst the world went crazy for Joy Division, Simple Minds and The Cure, they were much better. After Magazine he became a Bad Seed with Nick Cave. He is now a hollywood film score producer but decided to get his feet dirty at SXSW 2016. Great show.

Then. 1978. Barry is in white jeans and with afro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxahgaOQch0


Friday Night is over. Special.