After attempting to get some sleep after the opening nightís debauchery and failing miserably, day two of South By Southwest beckoned with one thought: NCAA TOURNAMENT ACTION. The day began with a crappy lunch in one of the few locales we could track down that was showing games. No matter, Alabama, Wake Forest and the rest of my scrubby picks (save Florida and Charlotte) scraped through and I was in a good mood as we headed out for the FADER/Leviís Lounge and the first gigs of the day.
Johnny Knoxville was in the house, watching his cousin, Roger Alan Wade, sing acoustic-based country ditties about poontang and other standard country fare. Knoxville was the star attraction, as peeps posed for photos and Knoxville hit the stage for the 5:01 Leviís/iPod giveaway. Midnight Movies were next up, wowing the crowd with their New Order-influenced synth pop. A few technical difficulties hounded the Los Angelinos, but this is an act to watch out for and I would highly recommend tracking down any recorded material. San Franciscans Paradise Boys followed, throwing shapes and rocking the hipster vibe with their new-wave punk stylings. The FADER/Leviís Lounge then became international, as Canadians Stars played to a packed, later evening house. My hometown kids The Pleased were hitting the stage, but I ran out the door to catch one of my favorite up and coming acts, The Killers, from Las Vegas, leaving friends Paula Moore and Tim Bergevin to keep the party rocking.
Problem is, though, The Killers didnít show up. Or something. The venue announced to the queued crowd that the quartet would not be performing until ìFriday or Saturday.î Luckily, we ran into Matt Smith and then later Rob Goldklang, Corbin Pierce, and Julie Muncy and re-routed to the Head Automatica gig at Stubbís. Considering the band is made up of Darryl Palumbo of Glassjaw and Dan The Automator, I didnít really know what it was gonna sound like. It didnít end up sounding like anything I could have expected. much poppier and ë80s leaning than I would have expected, the besuited Automatica was one of my favorite discoveries of the day. The 9PM slot was one of the most hotly-contested time slots, with six bands battling head to head: Sons & Daughters, stellastarr*, The Sounds, Aqualung, Seachange and Scissor Sisters. Sadly, I chose the latter, letting the buzz overtake me, instead of going out to see one of the bands Iíd rather have viewed. The Sisters were very camp, very disco and not very good. Oh well. That happens sometimes at SXSW.
After a tasty quick Mexican dinner with Smith, Gaby Skolnek, Kessler, Kari Crowley, Reid Shackelford, and Aaron Axelsen, we left to go see some show. I donít really what remember what happened for the next two hours, but next thing I know, I was seeing the incendiary ending of the jam-packed Franz Ferdinand gig. Austin does weird things to you, thatís for sure.
The night ended with an amazing, but sadly abbreviated gig from Reading, Englandís The Cooper Temple Clause. The six-piece hit the stage late and could only play a 30-minute set, but ìBeen Training Dogs,î and a double-shot from their latest release (Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose) ìBlind Pilotsî and set closer ìPromises, Promisesî put the gig in my top 3 of SXSW 2004 to date. It looked that way for Jordan Kurland, Billy Burrs, Warren Christensen, Ms. Muncy and Adrian ìThe Mini Mogulî Moreira. But, there are still the shenanigans of Friday and Saturday to be reckoned withÖ