SXSW Day 2 – Sched Tomfoolery

My second day at SXSW 2010 begin bloated full of promise. Cackling madly on caffeine,  my thoughts were all “Oh the content I will gather, like a mighty push broom will I cut a path!”

Alack, it was my weakest haul yet. I suffered a vicious defeat from the usually trustworthy Sched* Unofficial SXSW website, which led me to three wrong shows:

1. Donnis, scheduled to start 6:20 PM at Light Bar, actually played at 3:20ish. This one really irks, because I could have seen The xx at the French Legation League with Phil. But everyone is already writing about The xx , you know? Few folk are talking about Donnis, whose debut album 10.Deep Presents: Diary Of An ATL Brave is an instant house party classic. I wanted that interview, bad, but the Sched* killed it.

2. Warpaint was scheduled to play The Parish at 1 AM (according to the ol’ Sched*), but It turned out to be Andy Clockwise. I told the door fellow about it, and he didn’t believe it until I showed him the mistake on the Sched* website. So, another hour of planning and walking wasted.

3. Surfer Blood was scheduled to play Lustre Pearl ’round midnight, but it turned out to be Dr. Dog, which was awesome, but I just saw them last weekend at the Harvest of Hope (and interviewed them there as well). It turned out Surfer Blood were actually scheduled for 12:15 the next night. Sigh.

However, not everything was in the negatory on Thursday.

I caught an acoustic set from Drink Up Buttercup at The Hideout, and it was the first time I ever heard “Pink Sunshine” live. It happened when frontman James Harvey (guitar, lead vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Ben Mazochetti (keys, bass, maracas, melodica, vocals) asked me what song they should play next. I was shocked, flabbergasted and blown away by this sudden honor, and panicking, I suggested “Pink Sunshine.”

As good as it was, however, it wasn’t complete. Multi-instrumentalist Farzad Houshiarnejad (who splits keys, melodica, maraca, vocal and bass duties with Ben) was crashed out on one of the movie theatre-like seats at The Hideout, stricken with Strep Throat. He could barely talk, and seeing Drink Up perform as a 3 piece (without Farzad’s soaring harmonies) was beyond strange (like seeing Crosby and Stills minus Nash).

Drummer Mike Cammarata was weirded out by the lack of Farzad as well, and he added that (while we walked down 4th Street en route to the Convention Center) it was the first time Drink Up had played without him. Still, the band did the best they could, and, let’s be honest, 75% of Drink Up Buttercup is a billion times better than most full bands.

Liars were live as always, but they suffered a time-burning bass amp issue that knocked, as frontman Angus Andrew cracked, “about five songs from the set.” Still, the new material from Sisterworld was incredibly exciting, especially with “Scissor'” and all those sonic shifts from muse to bruise. Elder track “Clear Island” crackled with craze. That song just fucking explodes, violently choking cochleas with decibels, like “yeah?! Yeah?!??! Your ears will ring for DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS.”

They finished things with “A Visit From Drum,” off of Drum’s Not Dead (oh cherished album) and then it was time for me to make a bad decision. Phil (DJ Wynn) was going to see The XX at the French Legation League, and I was totally down for it. But then I saw Donnis was playing at Light Bar at 6:20 PM, over on Congress. His debut full-length, 10.Deep Presents: Donnis – Diary Of An ATL Brave, is solid gold house party music; instant gratification to my ears since hearing it last year, so, yeah, I started slapping Chucks to red dust. “This is going to make for an awesome interview, I can ask him about the line ‘I’m the shit fertilizing in that greener grass,'” but we all know what happened. Sched* was wrong, and the worst part was, there was no lineup posted anywhere at Light Bar. I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out if Donnis was playing upstairs or downstairs. Nobody knew anything.

Finally I spoke to a woman packing a clipbaord with the information. The lineup said “Donnis – 3:20 PM.”

He had come and “Gone.”

-Matt Latola

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