SXSW: Music Day 2: The Strokes, Janelle Monae, TV on the Radio...

Daniel Boczarski and Josh Antonuccio
The Strokes / All photos by Daniel Boczarski.

The Strokes and Janelle Monáe thrill at day two of SXSW, while Bob Geldof keynotes the morning conference with a combative and passionate talk about the decline of rock and roll.

Photos: Daniel Boczarski and Words: Josh Antonuccio

Things got started off on a sad note here, with news that Cee-Lo Green would need to cancel his performance for the Atlantic/Elktra Showcase. However, later in the day the exciting news broke that the one and only Janelle Monáe would be replacing him.

Her 2010 The Archandroid, was considered by many (including myself) to be one of the best albums of last year and her live performances have already started becoming the stuff of legend. Just watch her performance of "Tightrope" on Letterman from last year, and you'll see what I mean. Channeling the likes of James Brown, Prince, Broadway, George Clinton, and vaudeville, she and her band brought down the house and completely floored the crowd with a show that was staggering in it's showmanship, energy, and raw power. Easily one of the best performances of the festival so far and it ranks in one of the top shows I've ever seen. Truly extraordinary.

Elsewhere, big shows took place concurrently across town, with WuTang Clan and Fishbone at Austin Music Hall, TV on the Radio headlining the AOL Stage at Stubb's, and Emmylou Harris headlining at Antone's.

Earlier in the evening, the Strokes played a fantastic show at AudShores Stage to an over-capactiy crowd. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since their debut Is This It, yet they played like seasoned rock veterans, littering their set with standards and songs from their newest album Angles. As fireworks erupted overhead, they closed with the crowd-pleasing "Last Night".

Throughout the afternoon, sponsored showcases ran in full force with really great lineups at Brooklyn Vegan and Paste, where the Submarines, J Mascis, and John Vanderslice all performed. Earlier in the day, Seryn wowed the crowd with an exuberant set. Matt and Kim closed out the MTV Garage showcase later in the day to a huge and adoring crowd.

Bob Geldof keynoted the conference in the morning with a combative and passionate talk about the decline of rock and roll, declaring that "it might have just been a 50-year bubble". He pleaded for American musicians to "wake up and start a revolution again", laying out a poetic and professorial argument for the place and power of rock and roll to change the world. It resonated with many in the crowd, although his revisionist history left the end of "authentic rock" and "good music" in the early '80s completely ignoring the rise of hip-hop, grunge, and American indie and their role in speaking to and inspiring a new generation. Definitely a thought-provoking address, yet I hope he went out last night to see some of these shows, because afterwards I think he would agree that good music is far from dead.


White White Sisters perform during the Japan Preview Day Show at the Grackle during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Kerli performs at the Express Rocks! Music Lounge during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Tinie Tempah performs at the FADER FORT by FIAT during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


The Sounds perform during Baeblemusic Takes on Texas at Phoenix during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Crystal Bowersox performs at the PureVolume House during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


The Strokes perform at Auditorium Shores Stage during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Noah and the Whale perform during the AOL Music Showcase at Stubb's during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Portugal. The Man perform during the AOL Music Showcase at Stubb's during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Charles Bradley and Manahan Street Band perform during the AOL Music Showcase at Stubb's during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


TV on the Radio perform during the AOL Music Showcase at Stubb's during SXSW 2011.

more pictures


Boys Noize performs at Elysium during SXSW 2011.

more pictures

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.