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Day Five, Saturday

Oh no, It is The Final Countdown, Saturday SXSW 2016. Think of that last present to be opened on Christmas Day. It’s that sort of feeling.

Off to a spectacular start with one of the most talked about bands to get things rolling. Midday at Cheer Up Charlies with Car Seat Headrest. Just a great show from miserables in the stylee of Morrissey but with more noise and instruments. This is a clip of the show we watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvdeH2hZAcs

Then to a rock n roll diner for burger lunch. Eating was in this year!! A long walk out to check out Waterloo Records stage next. Along the way we saw Phoebe Snow at BD Riley’s and the squeamishly named Diarrhea Planet at Little Woodrows. Here is said planet, somewhere in their crowd.

The record store had a big stage set up in their car park. We watched Marlon Williams. On the way back we caught Spirit Animal. All were fine nothing special. Felt like the day was fading away a bit. So went to see another Buzzz Band, Mothers, at the Side Bar. Dullness ensued. But then along came Mail The Horse. Here they are with Wasted Sex, like Exile oN Main Street Rolling Stones. One of my favorite SXSW 2016 songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJKNhk3MXZw

Pretty excited to see Astronautilus next. He was playing a weird Food Trailer park place called South Bites. It was sponsored by Avocados Mexico, weirder still. So we took the long walk off the beaten track to see this spectacle. Imagine our dismay when we learned the reason behind the venue and the sponsorship. Turned out he was a guest chef at a celebrity Guacamole cook off. So we saw him, spoke to him, got his recipe and ate his dish. File under the increasingly long list of Bands We Did Not See At SXSW Stories (hello Ghostland Observatory and Transviolet too).

Here is the man in his apron

Let me introduce you to some of his work

Some of his other work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGOjoeRq9Ik

From one end of Austin to the other then as we had managed to get a few VIP passes for the Flood shows at Cedar Street Courtyard thanks to Tim and Kyle.

So we watched the splendor of Polica from right above them, got to love twin drumming pop music.

It felt that the day and SXSW was hitting a bit of a brick wall though so we chilled out for an hour or two and planned our final Saturday night assault. I notice that the acts playing Saturday are rarely well known, not even by indie geek status. This year was no exception although two of Elliot’s top picks were to play, my thoughts were that we had seen the best and were on a downward slope.

This was confirmed by the first show of the night in another church, Jo Scarborough Band at St David’s Sanctuary Hall. A pleasant start nonetheless. Next up was the odd sight of an artist doing his entire set cross legged, bare footed on a big cushion. Sorne. Lots of vocal gymnastics and a complete absence of musical instruments just his wee prerecorded box thing. Try sitting through this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd0-Kmyf8m8

Sometimes you just stumble into a magic moment. The finest Portland tradition that is Voodoo Donuts had just opened its first door on Sixth Street. They also were putting on bands!! A band who wanted to be the new Devo were playing. What could go wrong? Well how about watching a not too great act surrounded by people eating donuts in a typical fast food environment. Looked great in the photo though. Built By Snow

It is nine o’clock on Saturday night and it seems like ages since we saw something we loved. Elliott takes us to the Lucky Lounge as he fancies watching a band called Amasa Hines. We go and see the band before whose name I do not recall. A first. Then we wait an age. The crowd is thin and the sound check is now twenty minutes. All around us there are venues with bands playing and we are letting the night peter out. I go to the rest room and on the way meet an old friend. Sean runs the world’s best music site for learning about new bands Daytrotter. http://www.daytrotter.com

He tells me that he now manages the band we had come to see Amasa Hines!!!. So instead of leaving we wait another 15 mins (you have to realize this is like a year in SXSW time). Then the SXSW moment happens. Best Show of the Week. Spectacular sound. Vocals. Stage personality. This band should make a mark big time. Elliot justified his invite to join me at South By with this one single pick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3oHQamluIE

The night takes off from there. Into Esther’s Follies for the last time this year to see a 2016 Jimi Hendrix spectacle from Australia called Harts. Excelllent.

Sounds like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsI7XJXmCRk

Onwards to the biggest SXSW venue, open air Stubbs. Dislike the place but visit it once a year. Just in time to see Honne who I had never heard of but Elliot knew the songs. Stubbs went wild for them.

To Mohawk for another highlight, Caveman were your typical South By Indie Guitar Pop brilliant for 30 minutes band. Liked them so much just been to see them again when they were in Portland last week.

This is the show we saw. Eccentric camera work and sound but this what it is like. Look closely we are in the crowd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ql0BQ0qbvc

It is Midnight and we have special pass tix to see the headline show at the Gatsby, also known as the Pandora Discover Den. Making a what I expected to be triumphant return were Bloc Party. But it just did not do it. Pretty dull surrounded by the energy of new stuff all week. We left early. Nice venue though.

And so to the 90th act for me and about the 70th for the later arriving Elliott. The final show of SXSW 2016. we had to go back and leisurely end it in the living room setting of the Hilton 18th Floor lounge where a three person electronic band led by a spectacular singer performed. AKW are from Los Angeles. In the CHVRCHES mold. Played a stormer to about thirty people at 1am in the morning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkVuuWnmocA

And. That. Is. That. Over. Back in our room overlooking the scene. 2.30am. Special week. Again.

To wrap it up the absolute best acts were:

  • Mass Gothic
  • Miya Folick
  • Day Wave
  • Beach Slang
  • Pearl Charles
  • Quiet Company
  • The Wild Feathers
  • Sleepers Reign
  • Car Seat Headrest
  • Caveman
  • and Amasa Hines.