By time La Rocca took the stage (aprox. 3:45pm), the line out front of the Trading Post was already quite considerable. It seems word has gotten out and this quaint little get-away has become quite the go-to spot. As people bantered about, drank Red Strip and out "cooled" one another, the Dublin-based quartet broke into the opening notes of "Sketches (20-Something Life)." Dressed in dark denim pants, a navy blazer and a shirt that hung just low enough to expose a patch of manly chest hair, frontman Bjorn Baillie belted out his vocals with about 80% of the emotion and gesturing that keyboardist Nick Haworth displayed when tickling the ivories. One might take that as a jab against Bjorn, but "one" however, would be incorrect. What one didn't realize, of course, is that Mr. Haworth rocks with nothing less than a 137% energy level and is completely engrossed in the music - pulsating, gyrating, head banging and toe-tapping like he's constantly being zapped with 120 volts of electricity.
If I didn't know better, I'd have a hard time deciding whether La Rocca was from East Jersey (somewhere close to where The Boss played his first gig), or Southern California (somewhere near the place that inspired every song The Thrills have ever written). I AM aware, however, that the band is from Dublin, so it sort of ruined the whole internal argument that I almost had with myself about 20 minutes ago.
Anyway... the band continued on with "If You Need The Morning," "Eyes While Open," and, of course, the title track from their debut EP, "Sing Song Sung," all of which were basically awesome. The sound system employed by the Trading Post this year is light years ahead of the systems employed for previous editions of SXSW fun. Tapes 'n Tapes are literally playing downstairs right now this very second and they sound incredible, though I'm listening to them through a solid wooden wall - so I'm going to try to catch the last two songs. Chip will tell you all about it in about 20 minutes. He's good like that. In the mean time, jot La Rocca down as "one to watch" and maybe even go purchase their CD from iTunes.