For most of the day during Friday of SXSW, we took a brief break from seeing shows and saw friends instead. But by 8:30 at night, it was back on. We tried to go see Metric at Stubb’s, but the line was incredibly long, so we gave up. (Turns out Muse was playing after Metric, which explains the long line.) Instead, we went to a back-up plan show.
The Ugly Beats. One of my favorite Austin bands. They always put on a killer performance of 60s-style garage rock, and they’re tight, loud, and energetic. Here’s a video.
The next band had a suspicious amount of flower child stuff going on, and their description in the schedule involved the words “folk” and “acoustic”, so we took off to the club where we wanted to see another band in an hour. But the band before them was tedious, so we decided to check out the nearby Buffalo Billiards.
Margaret Cho. That ended up working out great. We were only forced to sit through one song by a POS radio-friendly “alternative” band, and then Margaret Cho came on! She did a half hour of stand-up with two acoustic guitar songs that were delightfully filthy. Plus, we got to see her dead-on impression of Cyndi Lauper. That was a great way to fill half an hour, and then we went back to the previous bar.
The Downbeat 5. This show was packed and we almost didn’t get in. But a few people left right before it started, so we were able to slip in under the capacity line, and it was well worth it. I’ve liked this band for a long time, and saw them at SXSW before…..I think in 2005 at Beerland. They were still great, and the lead singer still has this amazingly strong, growly voice that’s absolutely perfect for the dirty garage rock they do. They a throwback act like The Ugly Beats, but they have a way different vibe.
They did a cover of The Righteous Brothers’ B-side “Justine” that was really great. Little did we know, this was merely going to be the first time we heard a cover of that song that night.
Thee Vicars. We went back to the club we saw The Ugly Beats at, which was having a night of all 60s retro bands. We wanted to see Thee Vicars, a British band with an eerily perfect garage rock sound. They put on a hell of a show. A lot of bands we’ve seen so far have energy, but Thee Vicars had all that and more to spare.
They also played a cover of The Righteous Brothers’ “Justine“. Clearly this song is the “whodathunkit?” song of the moment.
Today my plan is to return to heavy ingestion of day shows before a full slate of night shows. Then tomorrow we fly back to New York!