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Scene from SXSW: by KCRW’s Colin Walzak

imagePretty much camped out last night, (Thursday 3/14) at the Belmont sponsored by Warner Bros. and presented by Chris Douridas

Surfer Blood.
JP and Crew are in the running for the Ironmen award for most shows played so far but they’re only getting better. JP is starting to find his stage presence which was accentuated by coming out with “Kiss” style cat whisker face paint and jumping into the crowd. He walked around singing a catchy tune like some kind of Sammy Davis Jr sipping drinks out of crowd members cups. 

Atlas Genius
Keith is another front man starting to find is tiger stripes. Playing to the crowd on top of speakers and on the press railing he’s a power front man in training. Through some backline issues like loosing his kick drum half way through their banger ballad “Trojans” the young Ausssie kept plowing through. 

Frightened Rabbit
One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing having missed them recently at KCRW last week. What can I say other than the Scotland Indie Darlings know how to squeeze every ounce of emotion out of the crowd and those guitars. Even though they were the band left holding the bag from set times going over time, they still left an impression. Must be those thick accents.

Joy Formidable
Well, what can I say. I posted about them being the band I was most looking forward to seeing at SXSW because; “I wanted to leave a small venue dripping in sweat after being punched in the face by an arena rock band” Consider my face fully melted. These guys were everything I had hoped and so much more. I was front row fully head-banging and fist throwing I almost (accidentally) hit a cameraman. Show ended with a full on thrash-fest and the bass player slinging off his ax and laying on to the dude right next to me. Myself, the guy and the bassist each getting our hands on those strings contributing to the chaotic noise fest. I could have left afterwards, I was tired, sweaty, spent I even played the bass for the band. Why would I stay?

Alt-J
Pure sex with a tight snare. Seriously. These guys don’t look it and they definitely don’t act in on stage but you can’t deny that sound as it slithers and pounds it’s way into you ear. If you haven’t seen them live you must. YOU MUST. They’re so wildly different than anything else you’ll hear. It was a welcome relief after my full on metal assault earlier

 

Flaming Lips
Well, it was my first ever experience and I think I get it now. I mean, the whole aesthetic can translate into a massive outdoor venue or in a small intimate club. The following is die-hard, the stage presence is second to none (on this planet anyway) and Wayne is the ultimate maestro. [Photo © Katie Hayes Luke for NPR]