March 19, 2011

Rock Over Boston Austin: SXSW Night 5

[Photos from SXSW in Austin, TX 3/18/2011 by Michael Piantigini.]
As is typical of SXSW, today was a day of frustration at long lines, parking problems, and bad timing that was more than made up for by a few spectacular performances.

Home Slice Pizza's Music By The Slice is always a great party with a great lineup with easy access to great pizza. This year, though, some permitting conflicts led to them having to put the shows on with no amplification whatsoever. Apex Manor played a great set there on Thursday, and Versus opened Friday. For longtime fans, it was a great chance to see them in a unique setup.

Our foray back into downtown was the source of the frustration I mention above, so before long we headed back down South Congress to get to the Yard Dog for the Bloodshot Records party. This is one of the most fun day parties, usually headlined by the irrepressible Waco Brothers, who stagger the line between The Clash and Johnny Cash (both of whom they covered). They blew it out of the water, as usual, while the band worked on killing a whiskey bottle between songs.

The Merge Records showcase was my target of the night, though I only managed to see the last half of it, just in time to catch American Music Club wrap up. Versus then reminded us of why they don't usually play acoustic sets - loud works for them. Wye Oak were playing their third set of the day, but showed no signs of wear.

Wild Flag were the most anticipated band of the night. They're an indie-rock Asia, of sorts: a supergroup fronted by Sleater Kinney's/TV's Carrie Brownstein and Helium's Mary Timony. Wow, does it ever seem like this group was mean to be together. They rocked. Who knew that Mary Timony could be such a guitar hero?

-Michael Piantigini

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