SXSW day two ended in tragedy as a drunk driver plowed through barriers traveling down Red River St in front of The Mohawk where Tyler the Creator was scheduled to perform. Two were killed and 23 injured in the incident. We were about half a mile away at the Future Islands show when the event occurred, and as we left the show at 12:45 word started to trickle in through social media. With the festival set to continue the mood in Austin is both somber and confusing with events being rescheduled and cancelled. For us it was a very sad ending to one of the best days I’ve ever had at SXSW.
Day Two Highlights
We’ve covered The Districts a bit before and listened to their album on the way out to SXSW, but seeing them live was a different experience. The four fresh-faced guys with giant X’s on their hands were unassuming during their sound check and set up. They even had to get a new amp just before their set when their Fender Twin Reverb went haywire. When the set started singer/guitarist Rob Grote became possessed with rock n roll head banging his toboggan off releasing his curly locks that sprayed straight out and eyeing the back wall of the venue like a madman. It’s like he got a shot of adrenaline half way through their first song that lasted through the final seconds of their last song. They’ve got a raw energy that I haven’t seen in a long time. I hopped on their bandwagon.
Miniature Tigers took over the back porch of Side Bar and The Wild Honey Pie party playing new songs from their upcoming album Cruel Runnings. Songs like “We Used to be the Shit” and “Swimming Pool Blues” are so catchy you’re singing along on first listen. Now singer Charlie Brand is back, ditching the guitar for the most part keeping him focused on performing. Yesterday he danced with just about everyone in the front five rows, hips swaying, bodies grinding, getting sexy at 6 PM. He’s ditched the long hair for a slicked on the top short on the sides doo that keeps it tight and classy.
In September we were at a panel at Hopscotch Music Festival where Future Islands singer Sam Herring pretty much took over talking about touring life and many aspects of being in a professional band. Since then they’ve skyrocketed in popularity, buzzing more than ever before after a performance on David Letterman that made Herring meme famous for his dancing and turned Letterman himself into a fan. He even brought up the performance on several episodes after. This is Future Islands first time at SXSW and their making the most of it. They were playful with the crowd, ready to perform and saying “fuck it” to even a line check while they were on stage. Herring was at his best last night, slapping the floor, pulling his face off during “Tin Man” and slapping his chest with beads of sweat spraying everywhere with each pounding of the heart. They’re veteran performers, but it seems like people are just starting to really take notice. Watch out Passion Pit, these guys finally stole your good fans!
Bands we’ve seen over the last three days
The Hold Steady (acoustic)
Today the Moon Tomorrow the Sun
The Friendly Echo
The Felice Brothers