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Friday, Apr 10, 2009
Words and Pictures by Jayson Harsin

I like Mecanique Ondulatoire, the venue where I saw the ascendant fuzz rock royalty A Place to Bury Strangers, but by most standards – with just a 150-person capacity—it is too small for this band. (APTBS played Paris last November in the Nouveau Casino, a 400-person capacity venue.) Descending into its basement concert lair, the Mecanique Ondulatoire, with its arched form of huge sand-colored rectangular stones, looks like a medieval torture chamber. And with a sardine-packed sold out crowd inside, the venue is more a closed-off tunnel than a room.


 


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Thursday, Apr 9, 2009
by Christina Parrella
Words and Pictures by Christina Parrella

Craig Owens has always been a shy guy, but on his solo tour he’s become more available and open. When he came up with the idea of a solo run, without Chiodos and Cinematic Sunrise, the bands he fronts, he originally wanted to play in front of less than 100 people every night. In order to meet the high demands of ticket sales, he eventually embraced the idea of playing bigger shows. Although the setting was not as intimate as he’d like, the packed out Highline Ballroom show was hardly small, brimming at a 700-person capacity.


 


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Sunday, Apr 5, 2009
Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

The Presets and The Golden Filter represented opposite ends of the disco spectrum in terms of volume, tone, and intensity at this show. Disappointingly, I only caught the very tail end of Golden Filter’s set, but, from what sparse recordings I have been able to get my hands on, their disco is a nod towards the era of roller-queens and hazy, hedonistic, introspection. Which isn’t to say it was too light. Their beats were sugary but prodding, propelling their songs to desirable places.


By contrast The Presets devoted themselves to a dark, grimy, and almost painfully loud electronica. Its completely minor soaked chromatic melodies were macabre and aggressive (that would be the “Apocalypse” part of their recent release Apocalypso), but the crowd seemed to thrive on the redundancy of their structure. Thankfully Kim Moyes’ periodic live drumming added a captivating live dynamic whilst Julian Hamilton, in his levitating white blazer, proved a competent and consistent singer. In fact he was practically a young Rod Stewart on stage, running between his keyboards and center stage to strike theatrical profiles. Their best tracks were their first and last, proving that they’re apt at opening and closing shows—it was the meaty part of the set that was lost on them. “Kicking and Screaming” was a dramatic beginning as was the segue into “My People”. Ending with “This Boy’s In Love”, their best song, they then came full circle with a massive “My People” reprise. 


 


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Friday, Apr 3, 2009
by Randy Haecker
Words and Pictures by Randy Haecker.

Black Lips


Crowd at Stubb’s during Black Lips’ performance at Friday’s Spin magazine party


Kicks and Steve E. Nix of The Cute Lepers perform at Red 7


Travis Criscola and Kicks of The Cute Lepers


Ebony Bones


Echo & the Bunnymen perform during Friday afternoon’s Spin magazine party at Stubb’s


Flatstock, SXSW’s annual poster art show, is held in the Cesar Chavez Convention Center.  Pictured is artist Lindsey Kuhn.


Glasvegas performed during Friday afternoon’s Spin magazine party at Stubb’s.


Hot Leg, the new band featuring Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, performed at Stubb’s.


British dance sensation Little Boots performed at the Emo’s Annex.


Stage diving at the Red 7 punk showcase featuring The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Cute Lepers, and more.


Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls at Beauty Bar.


Flyer for Devil Dolls Booking punk rock showcase at Red 7.


Johnny Borrell of Razorlight performs at Stubb’s.


Shannon Brown of The Girls performed during the punk showcase at Red 7.


Welcome to SXSW.  Now get in line!


Teenage Bottlerocket brought the punk rock to Red 7


That Petrol Emotion performed their second show in 15 years at the Dog & Duck Pub.


Vivian Girls got gnarly at Aces Lounge.


Wild Beasts performed at the Yorkshire showcase at Lattitude 30.


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Friday, Mar 27, 2009
Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

After an awkwardly scripted, but hilariously oblivious, introduction by the night’s host Bryan Michael Cox, Peter Bjorn and John took the stage at their “Wonderlust” W Hotel gig. Their physical and musical presence was highly anticipated, not having performed in the US for a year and their fifth album, Living Thing, arriving March 31.


Playing mostly new songs from Living Thing, their sound adhered to the stripped-down minimalist indie pop of past albums—namely the excellent Writer’s Block. But now, in their sparse arrangements, synthetic sounds dominated. Peter Moren hammered away at a keyboard while John Eriksson eschewed a drum throne and kit, instead standing in front of a shelf of sampling pads, drums and cymbals while kicking a bass drum to his right.


Compared to their listless photo op upon entering the venue, the trio was animated and energetic, excited to be performing new music. In a bit of role reversal Björn Yttling played keyboard while Moren slashed away on bass for “I Want You!”


Peter Bjorn and John joined the Catchy-Kids-Chorus-Club with “Nothing To Worry About”. Gorgeous minor-soaked melodies scratched against Eastern flute samples and a heavy beat before Moren’s voice took over. It was the first point in the set at which everyone in the crowd was dancing and seemed to have a clue as to what the Swedes were up to.


On “It Don’t Move Me”, Yttling echoed the same piano sounds he created as producer on Lykke Li’s “I’m Good, I’m Gone”. Also the intro on title track “Living Thing” had hints of Moren’s Swedish rockabilly roots.


A few of the band’s songs were a departure from the irrepressibly catchy, but intriguing, melodies PB and J have accustomed themselves to. At some points they seemed to be veering towards the current post punk trend, one that dishevels their tight sound. Ending with “Object Of My Affection”, however, they played with precisely the type of above punk ethos their music—and facial hair—emanates.


Forty minutes later they finished with a single encore, “Young Folks”. I thought it was a bit 2007, and would have definitely preferred the “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” Moren flaunted at a Mercury Lounge show a year ago.


 


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