SXSW 2011 Tuesday

After a couple relaxing hours of gardening, I decided it was time to venture into the craziness that is South by Southwest. First on today’s agenda was to attend the Ice Cream Man party at Club DeVille. Rode my bike over to experience free ice creams and great sounds provided by Screaming Females. There is only one female out of the trio, Marissa Paternoster, but she does scream. It’s more like a really intense high-pitched growl. She’s got mad shredding skills and is probably only a little taller than 5 feet. They kind of sound like a Joan Jett fronted indie band. But it’s good, I promise!

I left after their set to investigate the scene on Sixth Street. It was pretty lame, so I rode over to the Art Authority over by campus. Confusion overcame me as I walked through the door. Turned out that a female/male duo was playing heavy noise to a crowd of about ten. The band is called UNMOOR and they were a part of the first ever Slow Pump drone fest sponsored by Switched On, a local electronic instruments store. Basically it sounded like the sky was falling down and thunder was crashing everywhere.

I took a brief detour through west campus and chatted with a presumably insane bum about conspiracy theories. My final destination was Cheer Up Charlie’s, a queer friendly bar on the eastside. RYAT was playing the outside side stage while someone else played the parking lot. The band is comprised of Christina McGleehan and Tim Conley, a couple from Philly. I was impressed at the quality of music they create.  McGleehan’s vocals are beautiful paired with dueling electronic melodies.

The last place I went to is a venue right by my house called Club 1808. It’s so close that I walked there. The show was the fifth in a series called ESCAPES booked by Party Party Partners (a bunch of Austin kids involved in the underground music scene). I saw a couple mediocre bands followed by a pretty good band that went by the name Quiet Hooves. For lack of better words it sounded like demented polka or a melting psychedelic record. Or both…at once.

Anyway the main attraction was Janka Nabay, a band made of several Brooklyn musicians backing a Bubu legend. Ahmed Janka Nabay proudly performs his style of traditional Sierra Leonean music. Dressed up in a hat with a feather, Nabay was hilarious and exciting. He hyped up the crowd by showing off his excellent dance moves and stated that no one was allowed to stand still during the set. The complexity of the rhythms was very entertaining and even a little bit foreign to those with the most discerning ears.

Not a bad day considering that the music portion of SXSW doesn’t officially start until Wednesday. Get ready for more of my daily festival highlights!

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