SXSW 2013 Thursday Recap

From Sound City to the Woodies, it was a full Thursday at SXSW....
SXSW 2013 Thursday Recap

SXSW 2013 Thursday Recap

The Economist just said that the music industry is growing again – or at least finished bottoming out. So with that ringing endorsement, there hadn’t been a better time to head down to Austin for its annual, massive, music industry festival, South-by-Southwest – Tuesday-Saturday, March 12th to 16th, which QRO did, with Ted Chase, Ivey Haber, and Alex Ramirez.



Thursday can be the secret weapon of South-by-Southwest, as it’s late enough that the festival has gotten going & everyone’s arrived, but early enough that you’re not worn out and no one’s left.  And it was a full day for QRO, from old favorites to old classics & more:


Iceland Airwaves/American Rag/Filter Magazine party @ Cedar Street Courtyard – Ted Chase

Ásgeir Trausti, 11:40 AM

Asgeir Trausti

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After a late start on Wednesday, Ted Chase got up early on Thursday and headed to Cedar Street Courtyard for the early Iceland Airwaves showcase.  Missed Sóley, but caught the low-key Ásgeir Trausti – and fajitas, though ate a bit too fast.



HGTV/Paste Magazine party @ The Stage on 6th – Ted Chase

Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down, 1:00 PM

Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down

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Thao NguyenEven though the Paste Magazine & HGTV party at The Stage on 6th was only just getting started, the place was packed for Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down.  They played mostly off of the new We the Common (QRO review), with a lot of alt-banjo, but her songs do a bit all sound the same and struggle to stand out.



BrooklynVegan party @ The Main – Ted Chase

Death, 1:30 PM


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Ted Chase didn’t hit up BrooklynVegan’s SXSW day parties as much as he did last year, but did make sure to make it to The Main (formerly Emo’s, which had been a concert venue staple in Austin but has since been closed – only for the space to be temporarily revived for SXSW, along with the also newly-named ‘Jr.’) for Death.  The Detroit seventies brotherly punk act’s revival has been something special – started by Robert Manis (QRO interview) of Moniker Records, but has kept on going to include a documentary playing at SXSW.

Or, as lead singer Bobby Hackney said, after playing a snippet of reggae bass (he & his brother are also in a reggae band), then stopping, “In 2008, we were playing reggae, and then something me & my brother did back in 1975 came and hit us in the face…”  They rocked, but not just hard & heavy.



FADER Magazine party @ FADER Fort – Ted Chase

Iamsu!, 2:15 PM


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After picking up other credentials earlier in the day, Ted Chase finally made it to the East Side for the always-reliable FADER Fort.  Still the biggest & best unofficial event of SXSW, the line-up was hip-hop heavy, but the drinks were still free and the tent was still big.  Stuck around after picking up credentials for the up-and-coming hip-hop act Iamsu!.


Swim Deep, 3:00 PM

Swim Deep

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Also stuck around (more for the drinks) for Swim Deep, who were utterly unremarkable, except for their fashion sense – they looked like emaciated thirteen-year-olds dressed up as what they think hippies or grunge rockers are supposed to look like.



Filter Magazine/American Rag/Paradigm party @ Cedar Street Courtyard – Ivey Haber

Shout Out Louds

Shout Out Louds

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Ivey Haber caught the first of QRO’s many times of catching favorite Shout Out Louds at Cedar Street Courtyard.  The sun was blaring down every member of the pale, Swedish band.  Singer/guitarist Adam Olenius (QRO interview) noted that keyboardist Bebban  Stenborg was in a “hot spot.”



Riot Act Media/Mint Records party @ Cheer Up Charlie’s

Nardwuar & The Evaporators with Andrew W.K., 3:30 PM

Nardwuar & The Evaporators with Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K.Click image for full gallery

Ted Chase had to leave FADER Fort for one performance that really stuck out amid the many, many performances of SXSW ’13 (QRO preview) – Nardwuar & The Evaporators with Andrew W.K.

You probably know who Andrew W.K. is – the longhaired worldwide evangelist of partying, who’s done everything from motivational speaking to appearing on Aqua Swim Hunger Force (unfortunately his Foreign Service-sponsored cultural diplomacy mission to the Mid-East was canned by no-funs at the State Department…), in addition to his music, mostly notably “Party Hard”.

NardwuarBut you probably don’t know Nardwuar – unless you’re Canadian.  The fellow from the Great White North is kind of a geekier, older, Canadian Andrew W.K., in that not only do his shows get equally crazy, but also so does Nardwuar!  He’s also known for his crazy interviews of celebrities & common folk, which has led to him getting thrown out of even polite Canadian awards shows.

So of course the team-up at Cheer Up Charlie’s was crazy.  Nardwuar opened with not just himself crowd-surfing (after getting fans to create his crowd-cradle) – but indeed playing keyboard (also crowd-raised) while doing it!  Then W.K. came out to help him off the stage, and after a search for a cord, took over keys duties (including for “Party Hard”).  Nardwuar did the likes of costume changes, conga lines, referencing not only the former name of Cheer Up Charlie’s (Ms. Bea’s) but also the former Todd P SXSW parties there (“And where’s Todd P’s showcase now?  In Mexico!…” – Nrmal Festival in Monterey, right before SXSW), and brought W.K. into the audience (after trying to fit Nardwuar’s Canadian helmet on W.K.’s big head) to bring the whole crowd to their knees – the whole crowd, even the ones at the far back; Nardwuar would run up to people to get them to kneel.  Then everyone jumped up, numerous times.

NardwuarIt also should be noted that this wasn’t ‘just’ a spectacle.  A number of Nardwuar’s songs, such as “Mario Cuomo Works At Domo” (about the former NY governor – and father to the current NY governor – working at the Canadian gas station of the rhyming name) and “I Don’t Need My Friends To Tell Me Who My Friends Are” were as memorable as the antics.

Nardwuar & Andrew W.K.



Pandora Music party @ Antone’s – Ivey Haber

Billy Bragg, 4:00 PM

Billy Bragg

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Lots of older folks joined Ivey Haber to catch English folk-rock icon Billy Bragg, who had a big turnout.


Dawes, 5:00 PM


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There was another great turnout for Dawes.  The best song they played was “If I Wanted Someone”, with lots of singing along.



FADER Magazine party @ FADER Fort

Cayucas, 4:30 PM


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Ted Chase headed back to FADER Fort for Cayucas, whose tropicalia, in the vein of Tuesday’s Wild Cub (QRO photos) or SXSW 2011 & 2013’s Generationals (QRO 2011 photos) was nice enough.


Small Black, 5:15 PM

Small Black

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Jeff CurtinAfter running into Adam Schatz, previously of Previously On Lost (QRO live review) the day before, Ted Chase caught Small Black – with also previously of Previously Jeff Curtin (QRO interview with both) on drums.  After Curtin’s fuzzy pop work on Wild Nothing’s Nocturne (QRO review), was surprised to find that Small Black was a dance outfit, though in the Brooklyn ‘unabashed intelligent white guy’ way – not the fashionable one of so many FADER acts.



mtvU Woodies @ 1st & Red River Parking Lot – Ivey Haber

Pusha T

Pusha T

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Ivey Haber managed to make it into the parking lot on 1st & Red River for mtvU’s annual Woodie Awards (QRO photos from Woodies at SXSW ’12).  Pusha T made toast to the douchebags, and people went crazy.


HAIM, 6;45 PM


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One to definitely catch at SXSW ’13, sister outfit HAIM is up-and-coming on the back of their great single, “Don’t Save Me”.  Este Haim said that she was trying to bring back the ‘halter top’, after she took off her jacket to thrash on the bass.


Tegan & Sara, 7:45 PM

Tegan & Sara

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Another must-catch sister act of South-by-Southwest 2013 was the following Tegan & Sara, who (in addition to playing a ton in general at SXSW ’13) were not only playing the Woodies but also co-hosting it.  The Canadian twins have great banter & stories, so much so it was even worth them cutting their set short to do their co-hosting duties.


Twenty-One Pilots

Twenty-One Pilots

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, 10:00 PM

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

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Macklemore & Ryan LewisAnother one of the biggest acts playing a whole lot at South-by-Southwest 2013 was overnight hits Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  The rapper & DJ got big off their song about thrift shops, and told the Austin crowd how good the thrift stores in Austin were – Macklemore even claimed he’d gotten the outfit he was wearing at a thrift shop in Austin (though he seemed to say that at every SXSW show they did, no matter the outfit…)



Citibank showcase @ Stubb’s – Ted Chase

Meat Puppets, 7:30 PM

Meat Puppets

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One of the biggest, maybe the biggest event (at least official) at South-by-Southwest 2013 had to be the Sound City Players at Stubb’s.  Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters & Nirvana recruited all sorts of seventies hit-makers for his documentary about the late analog studio (which was also where Nirvana made Nevermind), and kept many of them for a series of ‘Sound City Players’ shows across the country.  The one at SXSW (where the documentary also screened the night before) was billed as the last, making for a could-have-been madhouse to enter, had SXSW not done a drawing and given out specific tickets & wristbands for the event.

It did start early, with opener Meat Puppets playing an hour earlier than expected, so Ted Chase only caught a bit of the now comfortably revived eighties cow-punkers.


Sound City Players, 8:30 PM

Sound City Players

Dave GrohlClick image for full gallery

Only a few outlets were allowed to shoot the Sound City Players, and QRO was lucky enough to be one of them.  Unfortunately, all the photographers only got to shoot from the ground-level soundboard, and Ted Chase wasn’t prepared with a super-zoom, so there was lots of standing on tippy-toes, camera above the head, zoomed as far as possible shots (hoping to get over all the fans with their camera phones, taking terrible photos).  At least could shoot – if only the first two songs, before any of the guest stars came out.

Chris NovoselicAnd boy, were there guest stars!  No, there was no Paul McCartney like the rumor going ‘round (the other big rumor was a secret show by Thom Yorke’s side-project, Atoms For Peace – QRO album review – but there’s always a Radiohead rumor at SXSW…), but Dave Grohl brought out (in addition to the rest of his Foo Fighters, including former Germs frontman & Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smears) Alain Johannes, Stevie Nicks, Chris Goss of Queens of the Stone Age & Kyuss, Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine & Black Sabbath, Lee Ving of Fear, Rick Springfield, Nirvana’s Chris Novoselic, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, John Fogerty, and more…

Taylor HawkinsThe evening was mixed between songs from the Sound City soundtrack and old classics (no Nevermind, though), and naturally the old classics went down better – but these classics were hard to beat.  Highlights included Nicks still pulling off the frontwoman thing very well, Chris Taylor and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins as dueting Taylors on Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” (with Grohl remarking before Hawkins took the mike, “All we need now is a drummer…” before racing to take up his old Nirvana-era job on skins), Nielsen doing “Surrender”, seeing the rarely-seen-since-Nirvana Novoselic on stage, and Fogerty closing out with “Fortunate Son”.

Yeah, it wasn’t exactly the newest of music for South-by-Southwest, but the old ones are the best ones…

Sound City



Merge Records showcase @ The Parish – Ted Chase

Telekinesis, 12:00 AM


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Michael Benjamin LernerAfter Sound City, Ted Chase headed to a more recent old favorite – Merge Records.  QRO has caught the Merge Records showcase at every SXSW we’ve done, from a cramped She & Him in 2010 (QRO photos) to new signee Bob Mould last year (QRO photos) to their co-showcase with Barsuk Records in 2009 (QRO recap) – at The Parish, the same place they were doing it in 2013.

Eric ElbogenAlso coming back from 2009 showcase?  Eric Elbogen (QRO interview) of Say Hi (QRO spotlight on), who’d played The Parish in 2009 for Barsuk (QRO photos), but was there this time as bassist for Telekinesis.  Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis (who played Merge Records’ 2011 showcase at The Parish – QRO photos is one of the few drummer/singers out there (even Grant Hart – QRO interview – is now on guitar), so he needs folks like Elbogen (or, before that, Johnny Whitney – QRO interview of Jaguar Love – QRO spotlight on).


Shout Out Louds, 1:00 AM

Shout Out Louds

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Ted Chase finally caught Shout Out Louds to end the evening (of course, had seen them in Brooklyn the night before SXSW – QRO live review).  They naturally played mostly off of their new Optica (QRO review), but still closed with Our Ill Wills single “Tonight I Have To Leave It” – including singer Adam Olenius (QRO interview) going into the crowd with his go-go.

Bebban StenborgTed also got to hang out with them a bit backstage after the show (before The Parish kicked everyone out at the closing time of 2:00 AM), met their own Ted (Malmos, bassist), asked keyboardist Bebban Stenborg why she’s always in the back (though she wasn’t been at SXSW), got temporary touring drummer’s name (Lars Skoglund – needed that one written out…), and even met Matt McCaughan – frontman for Superchunk (QRO live review) and founder of Merge Records!




Other notes:

-It turned out that a photographer could shoot Sound City Players when the guests came on, something Ted Chase didn’t know, so for shots of Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, & more, check out Jessica Alexander’s photos from the event for Verbicide.



Unfortunately missed:

-Sóley @ Cedar Street Courtyard, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM.  See above

-The Joy Formidable (QRO live review), Gold Fields, and Wild Belle (QRO spotlight on) @ Waterloo Records, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.

-DIIV (QRO album review), The Darcys (QRO photos), and Caveman (QRO album review) @ Flamingo Cantina, 3:15 PM – 6:00 PM.

-Cashmere Cat @ Barcelona, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

-Beach Fossils (QRO photos), Trails and Ways, and Kodaline @ Hype Hotel, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM

-The Flaming Lips (QRO spotlight on), alt-J (QRO photos), The Joy Formidable, Frightened Rabbit (QRO live review), Atlas Genius (QRO album review), and Surfer Blood (QRO live review) @ The Belmont, 8:35 PM – 2:00 AM.  A killer showcase, with The Flaming Lips doing all of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots in full (though without the band’s customary stage theatrics – QRO photos) – and thus impossible to get into.

-TOY (QRO photos) @ Cedar Street Courtyard, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

-Bleeding Rainbow (QRO photos) @ Hotel Vegas, 9:15 PM – 10:00 PM.

-Tegan & Sara, City and Colour (QRO album review), and Fitz & The Tantrums (QRO live review) @ Austin Music Hall, 9:55 PM – 2:00 AM.

-Emmylou Harris and Richard Thompson @ Antone’s, 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM

-Snoop Lion and Major Lazer (QRO photos) @ VICELAND, 10:30 PM – 2:00 AM.  Admit it – you wanted to see Snoop Dogg’s (QRO photos at prior SXSW) new reggae alter ego, ‘Snoop Lion’, despite the Chris Gaines whiff about it.  But did you want to see Lion at the open bar VICELAND?  Would have been best place to get weed of all of SXSW…

-The Presets (QRO spotlight on) @ Emo’s East, 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  The successor to the late downtown Emo’s, Emo’s East was just too far (south)east for SXSW, even for The Presets’ only SXSW show.

-Divine Fits (QRO album review) @ Lustre Pearl, 12:00 AM – 1:00 AM.  Somehow missed these locals all of SXSW, despite their many shows.

-Marnie Stern @ Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room, 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM.


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