SXSW Recap Days 3 and 4: Porcelain Raft, Telekinesis, The Dodos, Revolver | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Dodos at SXSW

SXSW Recap Days 3 and 4: Porcelain Raft, Telekinesis, The Dodos, Revolver

Mar 21, 2011 Telekinesis Photography by Mike Hilleary Bookmark and Share

The morning of day three began a bit like day two: a bit begrudgingly. While both sides of the snooze/sleep debate had very compelling arguments, it was ultimately decided that checking out cool, new music trumped physical recovery. Joining my colleagues for the second day of Under the Radar‘s daytime showcases at the Flamingo Cantina, the day’s events started wonderfully with a performance by recent Pleased to Meet You artist Porcelain Raft, aka Mauro Remiddi. Using nothing more than a guitar and number of effects pedals and loops, Remiddi’s beautiful, spectral pop was the perfect wake up music. While my personal favorite song “Tip of Your Tongue” was sorely missed from the set, Remiddi made up for it by closing with a new song was just as gorgeous (Remiddi would later admit that the song was in serious contention for being featured on Porcelain Raft’s proper debut).

Taking some time to fulfill a bit of journalistic responsibility, I eventually returned to the Flamingo Catina to witness the awesomeness of Michael Benjamin Lerner and Telekinesis. With the band’s second album 12 Desperate Straight Lines already lodged itself in my permanent top ten list for 2011 I couldn’t have been more excited to check them out live for the first time. One of the most impressive aspects of the band’s blitz of pop gems was just watching Lerner behind the drum kit, banging the absolute hell out of his instrument of choice with amazing force and skill. I have a hard enough time patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time, so to see someone sing and maintain the kind of uptempo limb management of his hands and feet was downright impressive. An incredibly gracious personality, Lerner was another personal highlight of the festival.

Having to excuse myself for more work-related adventures, I found myself largely absent from the majority of the afternoon’s later scheduled shows. Looking to redeem the daytime’s lack of live show coverage, after dinner I ventured solo down to Cedar Creek Courtyard to check out a performance by The Dodos, a set I had unfortunately missed during Under the Radar‘s first showcase party. Arriving a little early before their scheduled time slot, I had unwittingly wandered into a rather stellar set of songs by New Orleans duo Generationals. Backed by a full band, including trumpet player, the group’s upbeat, doo-wop pop was a great happy accident to stumble into.

When it came time for The Dodos to play, I experienced a number of interesting moments. Some these were small in nature, like when I saw drummer Logan Kroeber strap a tambourine to his foot like some makeshift snowshoe. Other moments were unavoidably big, like realizing just how many people like to get high listen to The Dodos. Seeing joints get passed around with reckless abandon, listening to the band play songs off their new record No Color with a contact high was a bit of trip. Meric Long is an amazing guitarist. Between his oddball tunings and endurance level finger dexterity, the guy certainly something to see in a live setting.

So focused with my primary goal for the evening, by the time The Dodos had finished their set I had little idea as to how I was going to spend my next hour. My indecision ultimately produced a bit of aimless wandering and spur of the moment venue jumping that chewed time more than anything else. Reconvening with Under the Radar staff members on the patio of Easy Tiger, an interesting location situated right next to a substantial stream running through Austin, the night was once again ended on a high note with former Pleased to Meet You band Revolver, a talented French-based trio that had clearly come a long way from their lovely debut EP several years ago. Apparently the band’s last performance in what would finish almost two years of straight touring, Revolver came out with a more filled-out sound to their once simple acoustic compositions. While still featuring their signature three-part vocal harmonies, the band demonstrated an energy was most welcome, incorporating some audience participation when playing my personal favorite song of theirs, “Balulalow.”

In comparison to the first three, my next and final day at SXSW almost felt relaxing. Having accomplished watching and listening to the bands I had so badly wanted to in such a short amount of time, events moved along with a bit aimlessness, meeting up with co-workers and editors to meet face-to-face for the first time, checking out exhibition halls such as Flatstock at the Austin Convention Center and just generally meandering about the area. Spending the latter half the day helping with photo shoots of some very interesting artists also took up a healthy chunk of time. By the time night showcases rolled around, I was getting more enjoyment hanging out with my wonderful co-workers more than any artist I saw that night. Tackling so much craziness is always better in a group, and mine couldn’t have been more accomodating. I was unanimous that we all would have to do this again. Same time, same place next year? Absolutely.


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