My first show of the day was the unlikely combo of weirdo funk performed in the bar of a pretty nice hotel. The patrons at times looked a bit frightened, but mostly amused. The band was a force to be reckoned with, called Spirit Animal. The band, out of New York, is led by former Angeleno Steve Cooper and he is an unbelievable frontman, giving it his all for an audience that didn’t give nearly as much back. They’re a bit out there, but do what they do very well. (It’s reminiscent of early Red Hot Chili Peppers if you need a reference point). Furious energy and fierce musicianship. DJ Garth Trinidad is a fan, especially of their song “Making It Work“, and they recently released a new video for “Crocodile Skins”.
This year the music portion of the SXSW conference started on Tuesday, but it didn’t seem like there was all that much going on so I decided to do a little experiment — to walk down the busiest street in Austin and check out every band I heard for at least a minute. Not surprisingly, most were not very good, but I did enjoy a few songs of Charlotte-based band Lucky Five. Then we landed at the Pitchfork showcase, which was packed. The sounds of Teengirl Fantasy wafting in the cool night air was exactly what I needed at that moment.
My one goal of the night was to see Heartless Bastards since their new album is one of my favorites of the year, but it was so crowded I actually chose to listen from outside the venue rather than squeeze my way inside. At that point, I decided to call it a night and plan for tomorrow.
Two showcases in one day — it’s going to be a busy one!