SXSW Entry #7: Los Outsiders

I'd like to thank the SXSW people for making sure that any Latin music show of interest on Saturday night was relegated to the post-midnight grid, with the most notable show (by Ratas del Vaticano) at a venue literally 15 blocks from the main part of downtown. Although I did get to catch a single Ratas song earlier in the week and yeah, that's one remarkably insane (and awesome) "punk stew" thing they've got going.

ANYWAY, all of this leaves me with nothing else to review from last night. So, here's a list of my favorite "Outsider" sets that I'd highly recommend you see if they come to your area.

5) Best Coast: This L.A. rocker's LP is #1 on my personal "Most Anticipated Debut" list (hmmm, maybe I do make too many lists). For now, Best Coast gave us virtually every song from her first three singles, along with a handful of new songs. Her musical style could be best described as "The Ronettes filtered through Hüsker Dü's New Day Rising" (or "The Pipettes meets No Age," for you younger hipsters) and sounded absolutely radiant through the club's modest speakers. Her vocal was also top notch, filtered and full of echo, without losing any of the vulnerability that makes songs like "When I'm With You" and "Something In the Way" so affecting. The set only lasted for 20 minutes, but its impact definitely stayed with me for much longer.

4) Flosstradamus: Sandwiched in-between Delorean and Matias Aguayo, these two Chicago DJ's were really more of an afterthought during the evening, a trek I'd have to go through in order to get to the Beatz prize of the festival. But what we got was an energetic, booty-shaking monster of a set, capped off by a cameo by Kid Sister. I'd recall more details, but my neck still hurts from all the dancing and inadvertent head-banging.

3) Band of Horses: One of the most high-profile acts at SXSW, Band of Horses has always come off as one of those bands who I should REALLY like, but have never really gotten into. But in concert these guys were pretty legit. Playing a pretty accessible setlist which included every one of their "hits" along with four pretty damn decent new tracks, the crowd of devotees obviously ate it up, but even the casual fan could appreciate their energetic stage show.

2) Flying Lotus: I was a bit wary of attending seeing this show, seeing as Flying Lotus (or FlyLo, as the kids are known to call him) was playing in one of Austin's most douchey, bottle-service encouraging bars (complete with reprints of Napoleonic-era paintings that no one can name!). Yet the moment FlyLo walked up to the decks, and blurry erotic green imagery began playing on-screen, the entire world seemed to stop. FlyLo spun seemingly irreconcilable sounds together into a collage of hip-hop etrécissement, where nothing begins or ends. Maybe I was tired from a long day of walking and reviewing, maybe I had heard so much music that my brain was making things up, maybe I inhaled too much of whatever was in the air at the show, but for a brief moment, it was as if time slowed down.

1) Local Natives: Another L.A. band, they've been described (sometimes pejoratively) as "Fleet Foxes meets Vampire Weekend meets Arcade Fire." While this tag is slightly misleading, and wholly unfair, they've certainly proved themselves worthy of all the hyperbole that's been directed their way. What surprised me about Local Natives live wasn't that their pitch-perfect three-part harmonies sounded just as magnificent live as they do on record, or that they were much more tight musically than virtually any other "new" band that I saw, but that they played with so much heart. It wasn't just that they have a passion for their music or playing live, what I noticed was that these guys believed in their songs, and ate up every moment that they had on stage. Their high-energy, never relaxed demeanor bled through their audience and seemed to convert new listeners almost interesting. And everything about "Sun Hands" live was just insanely perfect--I don't even have words to describe least not until I have to justify (inevitably) placing Gorilla Manor in my EOY top 10 albums list.

I have one more SXSW post to write before I officially hand the site's reins back to Carlos. So until I get that one up, here's a sign that pretty much encapsulates the SXSW 2010 experience: