sxsw: day one
I'm pretty sure I'm getting sick, so I ended up taking it easy for SXSW Music day one. My favorite radio station, KEXP in Seattle, is broadcasting live every afternoon at the Austin City Limits studios. Today's lineup included Ghostland Observatory, which is the hot band of the moment in Austin these days.
Now. Having caught part of Ghostland's set at the Austin City Limits Festival last summer, my sister and I were not impressed. (Put it this way: the words "freak show" and "pre-op" were used. Frequently.) But everyone keeps talking about them, so I thought I'd give them a second chance.
Today's set didn't disappoint. Ghostland's brand of electronic rock is not normally the kind of thing I would go for, but they're doing something totally unique, and it sounds amazing. It basically sounds like a full rock band playing in a style that varies from indie rock to almost metal to more traditional electronica. The mishmash of styles should be incoherent, but somehow it works. I was surprised to learn during the interview that Ghostland isn't signed to a label yet. That will almost certainly change in the very near future.
Tonight I also saw Charlie Louvin at the Parish, which is one of my favorite Austin live music venues. Sixth Street was already totally crazy at 7:30, and Louvin's show was packed, probably mostly by alt.country fans like me who didn't realize that a Louvin Brother was still alive.
It was amazing. Louvin sings classic, tear-in-your-beer, old school country music, and the crowd loved it. (It was the most unique mix of people I've ever seen at a show: everyone from elderly fans to the Swedish alt.country band that I always see at SXSW was there.) Louvin and his band played a good mix of old and new songs, including the Louvin Brothers' classic hit, "Cash on the Barrelhead." That alone made it worth getting out tonight. I also saw a film which I'll try to write about in the morning before the tournament starts. Here's hoping I'll be feeling better in the morning.