On day two of SXSW, you could see the mechanisms of the hype machine in full effect. The current crop of buzz bands (the xx, Surfer Blood, Bear In Heaven) packed their rooms wall-to-wall. However, bands who had their moment but still release excellent albums (Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Vivian Girls) had more modest crowds. Maybe it’s the economy of cool, maybe it’s that bands were expected to play 10 day shows in four days and thus spread audiences thin. But however you watched them, there was still plenty to watch.
Christopher R. Weingarten of @1000TimesYes continued his Twitter odyssey yesterday, tweeting about 26 bands in 14 hours for @RollingStone. Relive his epic quest in our TwitterCam (clips range from the woozy indie drone of the Besnard Lakes to the heavy riffage of Howl) and catch up on his 140-character reports here:
28) TALK NORMAL: Gritty, seething art-punk polyrhythms still gnarled and mesmerizing in beaming noon sun with breakfast taco in hand.
29) FRIGHTENED RABBIT: Earnest hooks and smirky stage rambles transcend the impersonal, kinda dorky Austin Convention Center Day Stage
30) JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD: Your friendly punk pals find a real soundsystem, walk scrungy line between Melvins and Ramones.
31) SURFER BLOOD: “It smells like sunscreen where I’m standing right now. I love it.” Also I think they dedicated a song to tacos? The band of the hour really leaning into those heavy parts.
32) HOWL: Blackened sludgers currently trumping everyone in power, volume, intimidation, pain, tightened muscles, sweat, ear damage. “Am I the only one drunk at 2pm?”
33) THE BESNARD LAKES: Montrealites playing indie rock like science: Effortless Low harmonies into effortless Neil Young guitar heroics
34) OH NO ONO: Danish dudes in shawls: part pop band, part noise band, a mystic quirkiness perfect for the rustic walls of the Mohawk
35) THE DUTCHESS AND THE DUKE: With Shayde from the Fresh And Onlys. So fun and cute and intimate that it feels like a soundcheck.
36) VIVIAN GIRLS: Still as infectious, rollicking as ever. Fans clap in joy. Smaller crowd than buzzier bands, though. #hypecyclesucks
37) QUASI: Sam Coomes seems really psyched to play a sunny, gravelly field on a rickety stage. Maybe he hasn’t done it in a while?
38) DELOREAN: Fluffy, intimate, bass-bursting glo-punk party in secluded field within throwing distance of a mile-long FADER Fort line
39) SHABAZZ PALACES: Ex-Digable Planet does impossibly funky, dubby avant-rap with shakers, kalimbas, ideas without boundaries. Truly a unique and wonderful mix that deserves to be one of sxsw 2010’s breakout stars. Get Googling!
40) SHARON VON ETTEN: Desolate, lovelorn folkie haunts the chapel: St. David’s Church. “Thank you for coming to church on a Thursday”
41) DANIEL MARTIN MOORE/BEN SOLLEE: Appalachian folk, sentimental indie, percussive cello, the hippest drummer who actually HAMBONES!
42) PIERCED ARROWS: Scummy-looking dudes screaming “paranoia” is pretty much rock ‘n’ roll, right?
43) U-N-I: Los Angeles rappers are tirelessly cheerful and energetic despite a small crowd. Stuffed tiger, the party animal, in tow.
44) HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Could have been on Sub Pop in the ’90s. Sub Pop signed ‘em last month. Two Vivian Girls singing along in front row!
45) THE MOONDOGGIES: Bearded and unkempt and full of ripping, batter-fried solos. SXSW’s most cerebral bar band?
46) THE LOW ANTHEM: Treating the @rollingstone party to a sound as fragile and warped as a Dylan 45 playing in an aquarium’s jukebox.
47) GUITAR SHORTY: Septagenarian Texas blues-rocker furiously soloing to a diverse, occasionally bearded crowd.
48) MILES BENJAMIN ANTHONY ROBINSON: Indie troubador staring at hands and/or barely opening his eyes. Sad? Or just intense?
49) DUM DUM GIRLS: They already sound like a Phil Spector record, but it’s amazing they sound like a Phil Spector record even on stage.
50) GZA: A chest-caving set of Wu-Tang favorites to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd all throwing up their W’s.
51) BEAR IN HEAVEN: Like a house show: heat, claustrophobia, charming Mohawk interior. Not like a house show: dude sings in tune.
52) THE XX: An unwavering icy cool that makes everyone react differently: Rapt attention, swaying gently, applauding riotously.
53) BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Half indie affect, half new wave abandon. “We’re Broken Social Scene and we believe in you. Good night.”
More SXSW 2010: