I started going to SXSW a pretty decent time ago, so it always hurts a little when I’m not there to see the feeds fill up with images of the great bands playing in those killer venues and seeing my various friends who actually live in Austin bitching about the tourists. It makes me slightly sad I’m not of them. That said, I’m in a venue that’s as close to pitch dark as it gets – seriously, I think the lights from the bar’s fridge is brighter than those pointing at the stage – and I’m seeing three fun bands and it’s a Thursday, so the hell with it. SXSW starts at home kids, and don’t you forget it.
First up tonight are The Uplifting Bell Ends, proud owners of both a shaggy, psyched-up groove as well as patently the worst band name since Oink – which, 90s fact fans, Elastica used to use as a stage name when they were practising playing live but didn’t want anyone to actually show up.
It’s my second time seeing them and they’re an awful lot smarter than that damn name, the singer gleefully giving no fucks at all, the band managing to pull off that lackadaisical vibe despite some patently strong musical skills.
Mixed in with the Asiatic, shuffling groove thing of a set (pulled from their – count ’em – two albums they put out last year) is a truckload of boogie. shoulders are shaken and times are had. Fun stuff.
But that name.. that bloody name! I’m pretty old, so secretly I rather enjoy being wound up by dumb shit like that. I suspect they’ll be pleased.
See a full photo set of The Uplifting Bell Ends here – although they may well be the worst photos I’ve ever taken since I could basically see about as far as my nose in the darkness and I point-blank refuse to use a flash
I swear to God, I’m really not stalking Morning TV, it’s by total damn accident that I’ve seen them not only twice in one month, but at two consecutive gigs. But you know what? Do not care. Not one solitary damn do I give. I could listen to that set pretty much all day, every day, and be happy. The Pixies-on-mogadon chords mix with the C86 melodies and it’s a bloody pleasure to listen to. So much of the lovely.
See a full photo set of Morning TV here
I basically came down tonight to see Split Visions, because – hey, look, the system works! – they dropped me a line and asked me to. I knew they were a bit garage-y and stuff but holy heck I didn’t know they were all going to swap instruments and vocal duties and careen wildly between the Nuggets and Husker Du in the sort of way that makes a sizeable chunk of the crowd start dancing like it’s Dean Martin on stage.
In the nicest possible way, their set’s like a really shit bottle of wine – you start off thinking you know how it’ll turn out but after a while you’re too busy having a good time to give a crap, and it just fuels all the fun in the world. The full-strength and energetic back half of their set could light up even the darkest of souls, even mine.
See a full photo set of Split Visions here