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  • SXSW 2009 Recap: Day One

    Thu, 19 Mar 2009 11:55:14

    SXSW 2009 Recap: Day One  - Music industry spring break day one

    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Photos

    • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 30: Fans listen to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart perform on stage during the Laneway Music Festival at Silo Park on January 30, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
    • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - INDIO, CA - APRIL 15:  Musician Peggy Wang of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performs during Day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2011 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2011 in Indio, California.

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    The Thermals Videos

    • The Thermals - Hey You
    • Thermals, The - RETURNING TO THE FOLD

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    Pete and the Pirates @ WOXY
    My SXSW 2009 got off to a comfortably slow start. Rather than just jumping straight from the plane, to unloading at the hotel to a party, this year I was able to slowly shift gears from travel to festival over the course of about 14 hours.

    Pete and the Pirates | by Matt Jordan

    Pete and the Pirates were my inaugural band for this year’s SXSW. I was really hoping we would arrive at WOXY’s studio in time to catch them and I’d literally only been introduced to them the day prior. (they were on the same mix cd as Pigeon Detectives). Luckily we got there just as they were finishing up their first song, and I briefly ran down to the door of the studio room and snapped a quick photo through the window. It’s not much, but I needed an excuse to post on this really talented band. After a few of their songs that for which they owe a lot of their recognition (”Jennifer,” “Mr. Understanding”), they treated the WOXY guys to a few new ones that they’ll be recording later this year for an ‘09 release.

    The Thermals @ Red 7
    If the indie rock world was more like the celebrity gossip circuit, then all the headlines from SXSW would be proclaiming in big bold type that this is the year that the Thermals make their come back. Come back from what? Well, that's not the important part. After a fairly long period of silence and three years since their last full-length, the Thermals are ready to kick into overdrive in 2009 in support of their new album Now We Can See, out this April on Kill Rock Stars.

    The Thermals | by Matt Jordan

    First up on the band's checklist was to knock out a few great performances at SXSW. The first of their shows (the second being their Hot Freaks!/Insound appearance Friday) was fantastic. I arrived just a song into their set, but the crowd was already so dense that I couldn't get but a few feet into the room. Yet even from thirty feet away, I could still tell that the Thermals are likely the next band in the line started by Against Me! and Ted Leo. The Thermals' lead singer Hutch Harris was clearly enjoying himself, and there's no quicker way to give the audience a good time than by having one yourself.

    Yoni Wolf @ Red 7
    Early on in his set, Yoni Wolf informed the crowd that he wasn't planning any solo career separate from Why?. A few of his bandmates couldn't make it, so he just decided to play solo and still support Force Field/Terrorbird. For not having a backing band, he still put on a great show. There were clearly a lot of Why devotees in attendance, given that the crowd started clapping the snare drum part and singing along to "The Vowels, Pt. 2." Even though I enjoyed Yoni Wolf's performance, I think it just whet my appetite to see a full band Why? performance. Maybe that'll finally happen when they release their next album later this year.

    Fol Chen | by Matt Jordan

    Fol Chen @ Red 7
    I'm hard pressed to think of a band that's put on a more underappreciated show than Fol Chen's performance at the Force Field/Terrorbird party. It's not that they were particularly life-changing or anything over the top, it's just that I don't think that many people at the show were that familiar with them. They clearly put a lot of effort into coming up with a unique show —completed by extending out rocking sections in their songs, matching patterns on their clothes and the Michael Stipe-ish stripe that each of them wore over their eyes. They looked like a group of kindhearted bank robbers with a good fashion sense.

    Fol Chen | by Matt Jordan

    Fol Chen | by Matt Jordan

    Unfortunately, the crowd just wasn't really on their wavelength. With most people in attendance waiting around for the Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Vivian Girls, it'd be like buying tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld and winding up at a Mitch Hedberg show—it might be the best show of his life, but it's not why you're there. Actually, I take that back. There was one fan that was very into what they were doing. During one song, a young girl grabbed a maraca from the stage and shook it with the worst rhythm I've ever seen. It was so horrible that it was kind of cute. Plus, the magic marker X on her hand that said "I'm completely sober while doing this" made it even better.

    Fol Chen | by Matt Jordan

    If their preparations for the show weren't enough, Fol Chen topped off their underappreciated cake with a real treat: a cover of Mariah Carey's "Emotion" done with Prince-stylized vocals to rival the original. Fol Chen, it was much appreciated.

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    Tags: The Thermals, Why?, Fol Chen, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Vivian Girls

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