One thing I've learned from doing coverage for The Coast at South By Southwest is it's really tough to shoot video while you're dancing. Day 4 at South By Southwest 2011 proved to be a day for flailing around like a rag doll (I'm not the world's best dancer) and my anti-persperant worked overtime in 30 degree heat and sunshine.
If the Strokes spectacle the night before had made me a tad bit cynical, Friday's shows wiped away all ill-feelings with some of the most fun sets I've seen in a long while.
First show of the day is in the form of Halifax's own Rich Aucoin. Things are just picking up on 6th Street during the 4 p.m. slot, with many of the free shows happening away from the downtown core. It doesn't stop Rich from putting on a clinic in audience participation, drawing a good crowd into Spill, where many of the week's best Canadian shows have happened.
Despite a few technical difficulties, Rich and his backing band kept energy at a high, breakneck pace, complete with singalong videos, ticker tape, and a parachute freak around songs from his wonderful albums Personal Publication and Public Publication. Yes, you read that right - he had a parachute that you played with during your days in Grade 3 gym glass. It is easily the most fun I've had at any show in Austin and it gets my day off to an inspiring start.
Check out this video of Rich rocking out the crowd. In a goddamn parachute.
At the show are other Haligonians Jen Clarke and Jason Burns. Jen is an up-and-coming electro-pop artist in her own right as well as the keyboardist for Windom Earle. She's in town doing SXSW not necessarily as a performer, but as a music fan.
Jason, besides being an all-around super guy, is the manager of Hey Rosetta! and Rich Aucoin. He's also a damn fine drummer, but the management gig has been good to him and he's not actively drumming for anyone. He's in Austin to get business done and do what we all are doing here: checking out great music.
After meeting up with a fellow Canadian friend, we head to the beautiful French Legation Museum across 1-35. We enter to sounds of UK dubstep upstart James Blake, which sounds way too dark for such a sunny day. But this is where we saw The xx last year in the same conditions and they blew us away. Too bad James wasn't really visible from the drink line.
Beers in hand, we get a prime spot for !!! (pronounced chk-chk-chk), a riotously catchy, funked up dance-rock band from Sacramento. The six-piece band's latest Strange Weather, Isn't It? has had music fans dancing all over the country and they are becoming known as the festival circuits best party-starters. By the end of the show we are all hot, sweaty, and satisfied.
What about these dance moves? That smoke is definitely not a fog machine:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Day Four coverage with video of The Dears, Buck 65, and Men Without Hats...