SXSW Friday in Music

Kelsey McKinney

We spent last night at the second of three Myspace "secret shows." These shows are open to badge members as well as very devout rumor followers who keep close tabs on the secret show wristband giveaways. We were lucky to make it into the 800 person Coppertank Events Center

Theophilus London 

London had his own stage on the north end of the events center where he started off the secret show by dee-jaying some favorite Top-40 songs from Nikki Minaj to Adele. People in the crowd were happy and feeling elitist for their entry into such a small venue. The air-conditioning blew strong and people bobbed around while sipping Tito's vodka. London was the "host" of the secret show, which really only meant that he would appear for 30 minute time blocks between sets to keep momentum up. 

songs to listen to: "I Stand Alone" and "Wine and Chocolates"

Dillion Francis

Francis led off the official myspace show with an electronica set. He wore a skinny tie and started off the set with a lot of excitement. Apparently, Francis came to fame because Diplo liked one of his songs and as we all know Diplo pretty much controls everything. This pick, however, might have been poor. Francis could not maintain momentum. He would raise the tempo of songs, have great audience participation, and then drop the beat into something slow that no one knew how to dance to. Everyone was happier when London reappeared. 

songs to listen to: "Here to China"

Sleigh Bells

After a thirty minute sound-check and microphone set-up, everyone was thrilled to welcome Sleigh Bells to the stage. Alexis Krauss wore her uniform: black leather studded jacket and cut off army print shorts. Her bangs fell down over her eyes only in the moments when she wasn't headbanging or dancing, which was never. Krauss is Sleigh Bells. She crowd surfed and let audience members sing into her microphone. For the entire hour set, Krauss never stopped moving and the audience danced with her. As evidenced by the massive clearout of the venue after Sleigh Bells' set, Krauss was the true reason for the show. 

songs to listen to: "Comeback Kid"  and "Riot Rythm" 

Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus set up a massive white screen in front of his DJ stand that projected geometric shapes and trancy graphics between him and the audience. Beween the Sleigh Bells set and Flying Lotus's set, not only did a mass exodus occur, but  the crowd turned over from from a group of WASPy dancers to many dreadlocked head-nodders. Lotus, whose music exists somewhere between the realms of electronic dance and acoustic rap, brought the tone back down to the inconsistent momentum of Dillon. We bailed after a few songs.

songs to listen to: "Zodiac Shit" and probably nothing else.

Here are some other shows we saw yesterday: 

Divine Fits

The gates were expanded for this year’s Auditorium Shores shows to accommodate larger crowds for the Divine Fits/Jim James/Flaming Lips performance. Divine Fits finished out a week of shows at the venue and fans kicked up dust as they danced along. In my opinion, they should have played after Jim James instead of before. Their performance was much more enjoyable.

Song to listen to: Would That Not Be Nice

Jim James

Jim James might actually be the most ridiculous performer I’ve ever seen. He came out wearing a suit and I’m not sure he ever actually stopped pacing across the front of the stage. I’m not sure what I hated more: the horrendous singing or the horrendously overdone guitar solos on the Flying V he had stationed at the front of the stage on a stand. Never seeing Jim James perform ever again would be nice.

Song to listen to: They are all awful

The Flaming Lips

In my opinion, Wayne Coyne can do no wrong, but a lot of people at Friday’s Auditorium Shores performance disagree. The Flaming Lips debuted their entire unreleased album, The Terror, which was complete with a provocative, in your face show that included light up baby dolls and a topless woman in a larger than life hamster ball. Upon finishing the new show, Coyne humored old fans by playing several songs from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Coyne teased the possibility of Justin Timberlake joining the band on stage to perform Do You Realize??, but to our incredible dismay, it was Jim James and his ridiculous ego who came back onto the stage to help the Lips perform the closing song. Nonetheless, singing Do You Realize?? with Wayne Coyne and thousands of other people under a beautiful night sky in Austin, Texas is a beautiful experience. Somehow, people left disappointed. Haters gonna hate, I guess.

Song to listen to: Look, The Sun Is Rising