Posts Tagged ‘The Middle East’

I simply cannot get enough of the Middle East this week. They have replaced Vampire Weekend as my wake-up song on my alarm. I came across this good post on Muzzle of Bees about them. This guy does a much better description of them than I could ever do. But yeah, check them out, they are great.

I decided to go to the Tegan & Sara show tonight. I think they’ll be good. They were pretty amazing the last time I saw them. They are also one of those bands that have enough personality to make their on-stage banter nearly as entertaining as the music. I kind of neglected their latest album, Sainthood, but I have given it a few listens this week. There are a lot of good songs on there but the one that sticks out to me is Northshore. It is punkest Tegan & Sara song I’ve heard and it’s really good and catchy. The song is actually consistent with my image of them. However, I think my view is slightly skewed because my first glimpse of Tegan performing live was with Against Me! at ACL 2008.

Speaking of punk and Tegan & Sara, this gives me an excellent opportunity to post the Alkaline Trio cover of “Wake Up Exhausted.”

Finally, Lin told me to check out Warpaint. I had heard of them before but never gave them a listen. Their music sounds very good although it’s a little depressing, somewhat similar to the xx. I don’t know if they would be good live but I can see myself listening to more of this.

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I have pretty much gone to SXSW every year since I started college back in 2000. However, this year was a little different from years past.  It seems I was more familiar with the bands playing this year. Also, I put way too much effort into planning. Planning always seems like a good idea but then once the plans fall apart, you really feel like an idiot for investing that much time into it. I flew into Austin on Wednesday night. I did end up seeing some band at Cheer Up Charlie’s that night but I have no idea who they were. I feel like things really got started on Thursday.

The Rural Alberta Advantage

Thursday started with the Schubas party at Yard Dog. I only stayed for two bands but I was pleased with both performances. First up was The Rural Alberta Advantage. I saw these guys last September at Schubas so I was already a fan.  I can’t think anything particularly salient about the performance this year. It was just an all around solid performance by a good band.

Japandroids

Next up was Japandroids. I had never seen this band before but I had heard tons about them because they get a lot of hype. They were also playing something like eight shows at SXSW. The show at Yard Dog was one of their earlier ones.  I had given their CD a few listens prior but I have to say that their live performance is what sold me on them. They just have so much raw energy live, it is quite infectious. They kind of reminded me of the The Thermals. Also, one thing that I noticed about their live performance, is that it seems like the drummer really leads the band with all his energy. You can tell that he is very passionate about his music. By the end of the set, his hands were covered in blood. Months ago, I purchased tickets to their April show at Lincoln Hall. After this performance, I was glad I did.

After the Yard Dog shows, it was off to Eastbound & Found. Nothing too memorable about the shows there. I saw Danielson. But yeah, I think that’s a band whose records I prefer to their live performances and I’ll just leave it at that.

The Middle East

I made sure to see the Middle East at the Paste party. I knew nothing about them until a few weeks prior. I think they might be from Australia. There is something like seven people in the band. They were on this sampler for the Paste party. I love their song “Blood.” It seems like this band gets a lot of comparisons to Arcade Fire.  I guess I can see the similarities since they have so many people and instruments going on. The vocals are gentle and somewhat reminiscent of Iron & Wine. There were some technical difficulties early so they didn’t get as much time as they were supposed to. Their performance was great. Of course, they played “Blood”, which I loved. I’ll be sure to see them if they ever come to Chicago.



The xx

Next was the xx at French Legation. I don’t know what happened exactly but I somehow ended up right next to the stage. I was at a weird angle though. I was basically watching the band from behind. I’ve really liked the recordings I’ve heard of these guys. However, live they were somewhat disappointing. They didn’t do anything wrong per se. I would just say that they get so much hype, it’s hard to live up to those expectations. They are a good band but nothing spectacular in person. I am willing to cut them some slack though. Some bands just aren’t good outside/during the day. I remember hating the Kills when I saw them at ACL 2008. Also, for some reason I can’t explain, they remind of the Raveonettes.


(photos by me)