SXSW 2024 Thursday Recap

Your correspondent tucked into unoccupied corners and tried to listen on Thursday....
Kiwi Jr

South-by-Southwest is assuredly smaller yet this year, a year-after-year rollback that seemed to pre-date the pandemic. A lot of what’s pared away, however, is what was once a disposable and bloated grandiosity. The brand RSVP activations wane, but the indie bands still shoot their shot. Your correspondent tucked into unoccupied corners and tried to listen on Thursday.

Paste Magazine party @ High Noon



Serving up a modernity-skewering, New Wavey soup, Omni brought a wiry yet melodic three-man punch to the covered patio of East Austin’s High Noon for the Thursday chunk of the two-day Paste party. Channeling Talking Heads and Television in same jangly twister, the Sub Pop signees opined upon “the safest way to play God,” their bassist and drummer, trading vocal lines, coaxed the crowd to “unbox paradise!” and then, song concluded, cheekily pumped some pre-recorded hold music into the house PA.

Third Man Records / Creem Magazine party @ The 13th Floor

The Spits

Offering thunderous, three-chord pummel adjacent a traffic-barricaded Red River, Seattle-via-Michigan dirty punks The Spits kicked of each song in late afternoon their set with a promissory “1, 2, 3, 4!” No re-inventionists, the raw rockers wore their own merch (except the robot-costumed keyboardist) out on The 13th Floor patio. The band gated into their repurposed outdoor stage, while the frenzied crowd gathered and thrashed on the sidewalk and street. “Buy some merch!” the singer demanded, last chord fading. “Thank You! Goodnight!” It was 6:26pm.

Academy Fight Songs / Rough Trade Publishing / Mute Song showcase @ Hotel Vegas

Kiwi Jr

Kiwi Jr

Collared shirts unbuttoned and tattoos absent on the Hotel Vegas backyard stage, Toronto pavement pounders Kiwi Jr guided ear-infecting melodic synth lines around sly, graduate-level narratives of moral calamity. Referencing cinematic history (“The Sound of Music”) and assembling criminal narrative via sinister lists (“Unspeakable Things”), the slanted racketeers enchanted with colorfully resigned poetry and hooks abundant, percussion and guitars swelling and abating with lyric-enhancing flourish. “We lose lines in deleted scenes,” the singer lamented, another SXSW Instagram story somewhere likely fragmented and misfiled in the internet archive.

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