SXSW–Day 1 Highlights

Fratellis leader John has a fun side project

It was a good day with no knockouts out of about 13 bands I saw.  Fanfarlo might have been, but I dug them recently in LA so checked out unseen talent.  Ezra Furman and the Harpoons have some good new songs and a more aggressive approach.  The latest project for Art Brut’s Eddie Argos is Everybody Was In the French Resistance…Now. Who else but Eddie could come up with that kind of name?  I had to leave early for another gig but what I saw of  their set was a blast.  My evening highlight was the Codeine Velvet Club, a  side project featuring Fratellis leader John Lawler.  The music is happy, he’s got a female singer who’s almost an equal partner, and they had a brass section to boot.  SXSW usually does an amazing job of organizing, but there are a couple of smaller venues that shouldn’t feature evening showcases  by band of the current stature of Surfer Blood.  I left that gig due to a poor location, but the good news is that I revisited New Zealand’s very young Bang Bang Eche, who sound just like their name.  I’d seen them last March in LA.  Their energy is amazing and front man Zach Doney is a star.  It’s a band that will be perfectly positioned once they come up with “the” song.  Interesting buzz bands Morning Benders and The Strange Boys both played workman-like sets without frills.


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