Our event officially began… late… and with a few cancellations. What we’ve learned is: getting bands to a noon o’ clock show during SXSW is quite difficult. And who can blame them, really?
Portlanders Blood Beach are dirty ol’ goofballs, and their set at House Of Commons, with theremins and songs like “Soft Serve,” are proof. When they started their set was about when things started getting really real, and really psychy.
Moon Duo followed Blood Beach, living up to their reputation as the most down-to-earth and chill hot shot psychedelic shredders. They absolutely packed the house, and many came exclusively for this duo’s well-known hypnotic vibes.
Around this time, scheduling became a crazy hectic nightmare. Evidently, many of the bands had shows immediately after their show performance at House Of Commons, and because we were an hour behind on the inside stage, we had to do some shifting and rearranging. All of the bands, particularly Moon Duo, Woodsman, Eyes Wings And Many Other Things, and Florene were extremely understanding, and we thank them for that!
One look at Woodsman and you certainly can understand how fitting the band’s name is. Their set entranced a more-than-ready post-Moon Duo crowd. Below, they perform one of their singles, “Insects.”
Seattlites The Night Beats worked some kind of voodoo magic over the crowd and turned the living room into a dance-a-thon. There’s been a lot of buzz building around these psych garage-rockers, and their live show, equal parts straightforward rock n’ roll and warbling experimentation.
See more of their antics in the Extras section.
A post-Night Beats crowd is a sweaty and happy crowd…
Meanwhile, outside… people, people, everywhere!
After some scheduling nightmares and flexibility on the part of Florene and Casiokids, Prince Rama changed their set from indoors to outdoors. The crowd swelled to huge proportions at this time, and Prince Rama definitely blew many a mind, with endless echoes after their set asking who they were and where they had come from. In fact, it was actually slightly problematic because we were on such a time crunch but everyone kept swarming them!
When Florene came on, the crowd was more than ready for Casiokids and Starfucker, but they honestly seemed a little bit confused as to what to do with their music. Evidently, the crowd knows what to do with indie dance rock but less to do with actual electronic intense beats.
Casiokids’ manager admitted to me that they were a bit trepidatious when first arriving at the house party and things were running late, but ended up being glad they played. And for good reason; it was probably the best show of the evening, easily, and everyone in the crowd was STOKED!
Hilariously, post-SXSW, I had traveled through New Mexico and ran into a group of CouchSurfers who — obviously not knowing it was REDEFINE’s party — named this particular Casiokids set as their favorite set of the entirety of SXSW. Below are two videos, which are thanks to Higson Productions (who would be the project of one of the people I met!)
Starfucker was our original headliner for the event, but, a couple hours before they were going to play, we heard by way of Twitter that their lead singer, Ryan Biornstad, got arrested! What were we to do? Was he going to get out?! We had no clue! The remaining Starfucker members were definitely in the house and partying up with us, but they had just as little of a clue. It was very much in their mind that they would try and get Ryan out of jail and then come back to play a set, but who knew for certain?
Eventually, their sound engineer had to make an announcement to the crowd which involved a lot of, “F the police,” action — with the crowd participating wholeheartedly. That actually turned out to be quite funny because Austin cops are amazing and could have shut our party down a million times but never did. Instead, they simply told us to keep cars out of the street; they didn’t complain about the noise until much, much later.
Future Blondes setting up on the indoor stage. Their noise compositions are certainly nothing like those of the rest of the acts, but they created a sonic universe that stood in sharp contrast to the happy-go-lucky dance jams of the outdoors stage.
With Starfucker officially out of the race, we had to call in some friend recruits. Some gentle nudging and a couple phone calls later, we had three bands to play in place of Starfucker: Jeffrey Jerusalem, Religious Girls, and Brainstorm.
Jeffrey Jerusalem had played a set for us earlier that afternoon, which you can see here. Jeff himself certainly drumed and programmed with the same amount of oomph as earlier in the day, but now the crowd was ready for the producer’s house jams.
Religious Girls were the one band of the night that played without being scheduled to play. They had contacted us right before the event to see if we might be able to squeeze them on, but things being as they were, we couldn’t. Luckily, we had their phone number on hand and they whizzed over right away. Their set was the most surprising one of the night, not just because it was never supposed to happen, but because the crowd was INCREDIBLY pumped — with “Most Pumped” award going to a row of shirtless dudes, in particular.
Around the time Religious Girls’ set ended, the cops started to actually get a bit wary about the noise. The House Of Commons folk told us that the cops said if they needed to come back again, that we would receive an expensive ticket. We had one more band to squeeze on the bill, though: BRAINSTORM!
Brainstorm had also played earlier during the day, during the afternoon lull-in-party-documentation. Luckily, they were able to bring the night to a close with their hyper-technical Afro-influenced pop music. One crazy drunken man called their set one of the best sets he’s seen in… a really long time.