SxSW Day 4: Gold Fields, Pornwave and a Brilliant Trumpet Solo

17 March 2013 | 11:38 am | at SxSW

"Where are the sorority girls? I WANT TO SHIT ON YOUR FACE!" Now that's what you want ringing in your ears as you go to catch the last shuttle bus out of town.

A late start to the day means fewer afternoon showcases choices. So it's a quick visit to the Pure Volume party at Easy Tiger where The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart play to a much larger audience than they did at their first SXSW visit four years ago. The indie noiseniks have managed to expand their appeal while staying true to their sound  - not easy as to do as they've watched their indie peers move across to a more college-appealing sound for wider success.

On the way in to town today, a bit of chatter about Australia's Gold Fields was heard. The chatter turned to a roar approaching today's Dickies showcase at Lustre Pearl. There the band played to a full house and fans in the audience did not shut up about them (still heard some kids talking about them midway through the next band's set). You got the sense that some US success may await these guys in the near future.

Montreal's Young Galaxy had to follow Gold Fields. In the '80s Canada gave the world the band Rough Trade. The were lauded by critics and loved by lesbians.Lead singer Carol Pope possessed an exceptionally emotional pop voice. The band was ordinary. Young Galaxy may be the new Rough Trade.

The next couple of hours are a blur of being lost and full houses. Divine Fits and Mac DeMarco are missed in that blur.

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However during the blur more stories are overheard. It sees Green Day missed their promised red carpet appearance at the premiere of the band's Broadway Idiot and Cautro! docos. Elsewhere Prince fans won tickets to his planned Saturday night gig via a scavenger hunt for Galaxy phone owners. Really? Who the fuck has time for a scavenger hunt when there is bouncing to be done...

The trek to Hotel Vegas for New Orleans sissy bounce proponent Vockah Redu is the perfect Friday evening stroll. Heading East under the highway, you head away from the corporate-rolled rock parties of the city centre and along the less glamourous parts of 6th Street. You witness market stalls, normally vacant blocks filled with food trucks and families in their front yards either chatting with out-of-town visitors or selling them much-desired cold water. The bars and cantinas along here look how you imagine Texan bars and cantinas should look - slightly rundown but jumping nonetheless. But you suspect that the street isn't usually dotted with busking drummers - what's with all the drummers?

Inside Vegas, Redu announces that this is his fourth SxSW. He now commands a full house hanging off his every chant and butt wiggle - a far cry from SxSW two years ago when a gay club full of twinks and drags couldn't wait for his set to end so the DJ could get back to playing remixes of '80s hits. Tonight Redu enters the stage masked before stripping down to a sensible bounce outfit - nothing but skintight pants, of course - he then tries to take his audience through as much of his material as he can in 20 minutes. Tempos switch every few seconds - from rapid to really rapid and less rapid - as Redu goads, dances and sings in between dramatic rounds of wall-clutching bounce displays. Definitely SxSW's most exhausting set to watch in 2013.

Sometimes a name is enough to get your attention. So it is back down the city end of 6th and upstairs at the Soho Lounge for LA's Bestial Mouths. The smattering of dyed black hair and serious looks amongst the crowd gathered was a surefire indication of the band's post-goth industrial stylings that prove there are sun-dodgers in California. What they do possess though is an amazing drummer who keeps the band from falling into industrobeat cliches. And while their singer possibly relies a little too heavily on the reverb for that Siouxsie Sioux-effect, you can't fault her trumpet solo. Yes, really.

Something no one ever expects at SxSW is for the day's highlight gig to take place in a backstreet bear bar (if you don't know what a bear is go read Bob Mould's biography). But the Iron Bear is home to the only SxSW showcase gig being played by internet-hyped UK outfit That Adamski Kid. The trio fuse together the energies of metal and rave with an angular post-punk sensibility and an informed notion of art rock performance. Fixtures are climbed, drinks are thrown, rhythms are pounded, headgear was donned, audience members are screamed at and danced with while the set flies by in what seems like seconds. The energy is raw but the songs are perfectly formed. You get the feeling you may be witnessing the beginning of a new golden pop era... but that just might be wishful thinking.

Back in the non-bear world, Greece's Plastic Flowers are experiencing technical difficulties at the back of the Velveeta Room. It means their set starts late and the band appear visibly rumbled by the panic to get onstage. It also means that only three songs can be heard before having to return to the bears. And, at least the dream pop threesome pull those three songs off in a rather lush manner given the circumstances.

With Kendrick Lamaar's set at the Austin Music Hall decreed a sell-out, it's decided that the night will end at back at the Iron Bear for local queer identity Christeene's headlining gig. Christeene is a Texan guy who not only produces lo-fi pornwave but messes with gender and sexuality stereotypes. He appears bewigged and bikini'd but... ahem, doesn't bother to tuck. And whereas other lesser drag divas are accompanied by shiny gym queen dancers, Christeene is joined by a fan-dancing hippy bear. Christeene cranks out the hits Fix My Dick and Bustin Brown. Inbetween songs she taunts SxSW guests who have wandered unsuspectingly into this den of bentness as well as taking aim at SxSW "celebrities" who come to town with attitude. There's some spray left for the kids on spring break who are in attendance as well: "Where are the sorority girls? I WANT TO SHIT ON YOUR FACE!" Now that's what you want ringing in your ears as you go to catch the last shuttle bus out of town.

Andrew Mast

What's more, Nick Lynagh finally got a chance to see the massive Aussie buzz band Atlas Genius. Here's what he reckoned.

The Belmont is the place to be in Austin on Day 3, especially if you want to see one of Australia's buzz bands, Atlas Genius. This is our third attempt trying to catch the young Aussies at SxSW with our previous attempts marred by packed out venues and long lines, but alas we prevail.

Atlas Genius are making a seriously big noise in the US. To put it in context, Surfer Blood have just cleared the stage for them, and still to come on tonight's bill is Alt-J and The Flaming Lips. In fact, Wayne Coyne's even spotted at the bar, just before their performance. A fan maybe, or just thirsty?

From what we've heard online, we new the band could nail an infectious indie pop tune, but would they have the chops to back it up live?

Opening with Back Seat, a groove driven indie-dance tune that brings Phoenix to mind, it is clear all the US touring is paying off.  Lead singer and guitarist Keith Jeffery's voice sounds strong, and there is a good energy both on and off the stage. Their sound brings to mind a mix of fellow Aussies Gold Fields, but with a touch of Death Cab For Cutie.

The set list goes on to include singles If So and Symptoms both receiving a positive reaction from the audience, and ends with their break out hit Trojans. A slight technical issue would be the only blemish on the set with Keith Jeffrey's joking in his final remarks “I'd like to thank the crew tonight”.

So it is now confirmed. Atlas Genius does exist. They are Australian. The buzz is real. And they are definitely making their mark on SxSW 2013.

Man, we sure hope they come home soon.