SXSW Recap: Thursday Play Day
It’s halfway over. It doesn’t feel like it, though. Will this ever end? Will my ears ever stop ringing? How many finely dressed dudes can I pass on the street in a four minute time window? Is there really an end to sixth street? The answer to most of these questions is no. The music will never end, cause we all go to the big concert in the sky at some point. Sixth street literally never ends, either. The sun was high and so were the spirits Thursday in ATX.
In a weird sort of way, Pokey LaFarge was a nice breath of fresh air on the country music front. The band, fronted by Pokey LaFarge himself, goes back to the American roots sounds found on riverboats during the American Civil war and thereafter. Outfitted in a vest and tie, LaFarge acted every bit the part of the whiskey bootlegger. The guitar pickin’ bouncy beats are accented by LaFarge’s Southern accent crooning and punching lightly. It’s the definition of a “little diddy.”
The Red Bull Sound Select stage is killin’ this year. I mean, Master P was up there today. Plus, all the drinks are made with Red Bull. Boozin’ and Bullzin’ is the only way to go if you are starting early and ending late (as most SX participants do). The Cool Kids played a set Thursday afternoon that was the first Texas show the guys have done in close to a year. With a small crowd to start, The Cool Kids had ‘em all bouncing with their hands in the air. Frat bros and hip-hop heads alike were waving their wristbands around for the Red Bull set. Another good thing about the Red Bull camp? Their sound is killer. Jump in that line early my people, once you get in you aren’t allowed to leave and come back.
One of the bands low on my personal radar that is making headlines, Vintage Trouble, have a mean funk game. These dapper gentlemen are kind of a cross between Otis Redding and Alabama Shakes. Expect nothing less than suit and tie from frontman Ty Taylor is bringing back the 70’s with the vocals, y’all. The best part of the Vintage Trouble show tonight? Thanks to the fine folks at Sony, it was visible in the street. There was a huge projection of the guys playing on the side of the venue, right under where the band was actually playing. Not only could you see their beautiful faces but you could hear their beautiful music live. Ah, the glory of a rooptop bar and the careful placement of a projector. No long line to wait in, nobody bumpin’ ya while you groove and if you smart and packed a flask, it’s all good.
In another serendipitous moment, I took a breather in Shangri-La and found Not A Planet playing on a pop up stage in the back of the venue. The LED set up was impressive for an east side outdoor venue. The Not A Planet were fun rock ‘n’ rollers that had a good sound without being extremely memorable. The guys sound was good, they knew what they were doing, but it felt as though I’d heard it before. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down with SXSW. For this one, it was hovering somewhere slightly above mediocre.
Insider tip: GO EAT AT KEBABALICIOUS. It’s enough food to keep you carbed up with just the right amount of spice (get hot, it’s not that hot), and made-in-Austin Pita bread. It’s cheap too. Find the trailer at 7th and Neches.