Day 4, part 2: South By Southwest 2011

Dangerbird showcase, best dancer from Mount Uniacke, Safety Dance

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After recharging on on some delectable Indian food at G Raj Mahal (say it fast...), we head to the Dangerbird Records showcase to check out The Dears once more after telling my friend how much they kicked ass a few nights before.

There we catch Los Angeles-hipsters The One A.M. Radio plying their delicately cool vibes. Their sound is pretty, like a quieter Stars or a dreamier version of Junior Boys. While it might be nice to listen to, say, on your iPod while on an airplane or maybe over dinner at a swanky restaurant, it's not very rock 'n roll. But with the super moon out in the sky, it's kind of romantic. Now, if someone would just get rid of this tent...

That set things up for Montreal six-piece The Dears, who not only equal their amazing performance on Wednesday night, they might of topped it with not only a gorgeous wall of melodic sound, but a shirtless, crowdsurfing Murray Lightburn who doesn't miss a single, glorious note along the way. If The Dears records sounded this badass, they could have possibly been the Montreal band that accepted the Best Record of the Year Grammy. Seriously, Arcade Fire totally ripped off the suburbs concept album from No Cities Left.

The night even includes a dose of foreshadowing, with an encore dedicated to Death From Above 1979 drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger, who was about to get into a riot the following night. What? You weren't there for the riot?

Here's Lightburn and company doing Montreal proud:

Next up, I stop into Canada House at Club Paradise for a few songs of Buck 65 aka Rich Terfry, who is dancing up a storm, challenging Rich Aucoin for the day's best dancer. Who knew they made them this good in Mount Uniacke? Buck plays several slices off his latest, 20 Odd Years, including what could be one of the best singles of the year, "Zombie Delight."

Check out the best dancer from Mount Uniacke doing his latest gem with a friend:

A quick dash through 50,000 people or so to Club Deville (easily my fave venue of the week) leads me to a blazing set from Kingston's hottest buzz band, PS I Love You. At first glance, these dudes don't look like rock stars. One is big dude with an orange beard and a headband with a skinny guy who looks like he's could be friends with Seth Rogan.

Then they start playing. Man, these guys wail. For a two-piece, their sound is expansive and lead singer/guitarist Paul Saulnier not only shreds some of the best guitar solos I hear all week, not only destroying on his axe (and really, wailing and shredding are apt descriptions for this guy's talent) but also playing bass pedals with his feet like a piano, whilst singing and playing. At the same time.

As for Benjamin Nelson, well, he could care less about being there. Yet it's his fast-paced, disco-speed, four-four beats that rise these songs above a poor Sonic Youth rip-off and make thoroughly modern. I can't wait to check out PS's Meet Me At Muster Station.


P.S. I Love you multitask at Club Deville

PS I Love You finish its set and quickly disperse. I have a quick chat with Mikey of the M for Montreal promo group who shares with me that he had been detained by Austin police the other night for chasing after a person who stole his badge and got away in a cab. Luckily, no charges were laid against him, quite possibly a first for Texas police. Maybe he got away by strictly speaking French.

When I return to the front of the stage, it has turned into a party straight from electro-pop night at Reflections. Why? Men Without Hats is about to blow our minds.

If you don't know who Men Without Hats is, watch the video below and get ready to do the dance. The motherf'n SAFETY DANCE:

The set starts off kinda embarrassing, with a Euro-cheese version of the Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash." Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk appears to not have realized the 90s have ended, with a bad leather jacket and Stetson cowboy hat.

I decide to stick my Snobby Music Critic Card in my pocket and start having fun when the hits begin to melt the 1 a.m., Jager-bombed crowd. First up is "Living In China," a sweet early Depeche Mode-style song that is all keyboard goodness.

Then the four-piece with as many synths as players unleash the most underrated song of the 80s, "The Safety Dance." Insanity ensues, the audience singing every single word, smiles from ear-to-ear. Earlier in the week, I told FFWD's Dave Jaffer my week would be complete if I got to hear this song. Mission accomplished.

Lastly, they finish up with my favorite L'Hommes Sans Pas Chapeaux (is that right my francophone friends?) gem, "Pop Goes The World," which Doroschuk claims is about mescalin. Hey, friggin rock 'n roll! Yet another great Montreal act blowing shit up in Austin, Texas.

Honestly, over a quick 45 minute set, Men Without Hats shows why they were ahead of their time. Need proof? Count how many bands today have a keyboard. How big is Lady Gaga, a gay icon who practically plagiarized the Hats with "Just Dance"?

Judging by the amount of ass-shaking at Club Deville, all in attendance are my new BFFs. Because if they don't dance, and if they don't dance, well, they ain't no friends of mine.

A quick trip to a food truck for a waffle taco (read: folded Belgian waffle + chicken finger + Swiss cheese + a slice of bacon + syrup + hot sauce = food orgasm) and it's off to bed, my feet killing me, my thighs chaffed sandpaper, and my brain swimming with Red Bull and god knows what else.

Once again: Austin, how I love you.


We are "in it" on 6th Street

Weather: Sunny
Temperature: 30 degrees Celsius
Steps walked in Day Four: 16,830 or 8.4 miles
Grand total steps walked: 47,105 or 23.9 miles or 38.46 kilometres

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