Okkervil River

Porcelain Raft, SXSW 2011, Hooray For Earth, Surfer Blood, Telekinesis, Owen Pallett, Menomena, Okkervil River

Shure Presents the Under the Radar SXSW 2011 Party Recap – Okkervil River and More, March 18th, 2011

Mar 28, 2011 Photography by Wendy Redfern Web Exclusive
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We were pretty sure that people would show up to our Thursday SXSW party because of our exclusive set by Atlas Sound, and while we were confident that we had an equally strong lineup for our Friday party (which was presented by Shure), we still weren’t certain how many fans would show up. But our immediate concern at the start of the party was whether our first artist would make it in time (if at all). Porcelain Raft (aka Italian born, London-based, Mauro Remiddi) had underestimated how far his hotel was from our venue (The Flamingo Cantina), was running late, and had a dead cell-phone and thus no way to let us know that he was indeed on his way. Thankfully the charming Remiddi arrived with a thousand apologies 10 minutes before he was scheduled to perform and because he’s a one-man band, was pretty much ready to go on time. The crowd, by the way, was as healthy in numbers as the day before, with a to-capacity venue and a line down the block most of the day.

Porcelain Raft’s cool beats and chill vibe eased us all into the party mood at noon. Like Bradford Cox at our party the day before, Remiddi sampled, looped, and layered his music. Once he launched into “Talk to Me” the crowd accepted his invitation to dance. He also played a brand new song.

NYC-based Hooray for Earth was backed by the lovely ladies of Zambri and had a nice big sound for such a small venue. They may not have played my two favorite songs from last years Momo EP (“Surrounded By My Friends” and “Comfortable/Comparable”) but based on their impressive set I expect great things from their forthcoming debut album (True Loves) and lots of success for them this year. Plus the ladies from Zambri (sisters Jessica and Cristi Jo Zambri) eagerly discussed with me our mutual love of The Divine Comedy (whose song “Tonight We Fly” they’ve covered).

Owen Pallett was yet another one-man-band to grace our party stage who sampled, looped, and layered himself. Pallett of course does this with a violin. The Canadian performed in his socks, with his boots lying on the side of the stage. “Why are you guys here, for the free beer?” Pallett joked. ‘No, for you silly,’ was the general vibe of the audience response. He performed old chestnut “The Ballad of Win and Regine,” his ode to sometime collaborators Arcade Fire, originally released back when he was still calling himself Final Fantasy. “I’ll do anything you want…I’ll play everything,” promised Pallett, taking requests as The Dodos’ Meric Long had also done at our party the day before. “This cover is from 2004, when I wasn’t so inclined to do covers or like Joanna Newsom,” Pallett said before covering Newsom’s “Peach Plum Pear.” “You guys are really lucky, I don’t play that song anymore,” he added after finishing it. “I just started working with a drummer…oh my god, it’s awesome…these are my last solo shows, I think, I hope,” Pallett promised. He also played “Lewis Takes His Shirt Off.”

Next up were Surfer Blood, who are still riding the buzz wave caused by 2010’s debut album, Astro Coast. The Florida natives were led by shorts-clad frontman John Paul Pitts. Backstage one of the band members told me he’d been subscribing to Under the Radar for five years. Very cool!

“It’s very disconcerting to be sweating sun-block,” joked Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner near the start of his set, which included songs from his recently released sophomore album, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, which is surely one of the most consistent and great albums released thus far in 2011. The charismatic singer/drummer had his drums set up at the front of the stage and laid down a no-nonsense, non-stop fun set that culminated with “Coasts of Carolina” and a nice shout out from Lerner (“Thanks to Under the Radar, they’re fucking great!”).

Menomena kept the drums up front too and Danny Seim played them barefoot. “This is the first time Menomena has been in a half round and it’s pretty cool,” said singer/saxophonist Justin Harris, remarking to the Flamingo Cantina’s set up in which the crowd watches from both the front of the stage and one side of it. Longtime member Brent Knopf had recently left the band, but it didn’t seem to mess with their dynamic too much.

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff wasn’t happy at first, after being informed that the band’s set-time was being cut by five minutes because it took longer than expected to set up their equipment and because the sound/stage crew were strict about finishing the party on time due to nighttime events at the venue. But he quickly got over it and the band delivered a rousing set filled with many of the Okkervil songs you’d most want to hear them play, including recent single “Awake and Be Fine” and “Our Life Is Not a Movie Or Maybe.” “You guys are awesome, it’s great to have such a great audience in our hour of need right here, when we didn’t know what’s going on,” said Sheff, referencing his issues about the set-time, but also displaying that he had no interest in taking it out on the crowd. Instead, he got the packed audience clapping and singing along, working the crowd like the true showman that he is.

And then…that was it. After months of planning, emails upon emails, and lots of worry, our two SXSW parties were finally over and were both a resounding success. Many thanks to all our sponsors, especially Shure, for helping us put together another great SXSW party on Friday, not to mention all the bands and the wonderful audience. We hope to see some of you at SXSW parties next year! They might, dare I say, be even bigger and better (if such a thing is possible).

(www.sxsw.com)

 

 




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iPhone
August 8th 2011
9:24am

I am thinking of purchasing a home security system. I wondering if anyone knew how they install it.