By this the 4th day of South by Southwest fatigue was clearly settling in. Tons of people still roamed from show to show but overall things felt a little more relaxed than previous days. On the other hand many of the bigger name shows had taken place (shy of The Pretenders and a few others) so more shows than before had long lines for entry. Superchunk, for example was scheduled for this day’s coverage but a long line and time constraints prompted a change of plans.Cedar Street Courtyard â€šÃ„Ã¬ Snow Patrol (Surprise Guest)
Snow Patrol showed up as the surprise guest headliner at the last day of Filter’s Revenge of Cedar Street day party. Three of the members (Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Mark McClelland) played an all-acoustic set of hits and worthy sing-alongs. Lead singer Lightbody jokingly stated before the first song “Can I get a little more hangover in my monitor?” setting a friendly vibe that endured through the rest of the set. The crowd was treated to these pleasant renditions of “Wow,” “Chocolate,” “Run” and new song “Tears of Courage.” The latter of which highlighted by Lightbody belting repeatedly the words “would you lie here with me and forget the world?” During the close of the set the band also brought out special guest Martha Wainwright for another new song entitled “You Will You Will You Will.”
The Parish â€šÃ„Ã¬ Sia
Zero 7 When It Falls vocalist Sia Furler shined early in the evening at The Parish. Armed with a bubbly personality, a charming smile and a heavenly voice. Backed by a full band, the chanteuse had a long queue outside the venue and would merrily sway back and forth giggling after each cheer the audience gave her at the end of each song. “Destiny” and “Distractions,” both Zero 7 songs allowed Sia to show off the full range of her vocal talents, holding notes to the point of astonishment unlike the measured delivery of Tina Dico earlier in the week. In addition to “Numb” (a song about her “ex-junkie husband”), the setlist also included Colour the Small One tracks “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Sunday” and much ballyhooed Six Feet Under finale theme “Breathe Me.” Sia makes performing like a diva look easy. With an effortless vocal performance and a overall cheery nature it’s hard not to be smitten with her.
Austin Music Hall â€šÃ„Ã¬ Straylight Run
After a long pedal-pike trip there was just enough time to catch the end of the of Straylight Run’s show at the Austin Music Hall. Brother and sister John and Michelle Nolan (sharing vocal duties and playing guitar and keyboard respectively) finished out their set with the brooding “Hands in the Sky (Big Shot),” a song that lurches forward initially with delay-riddled keyboard notes and electronic effect coloring only to shift into a stomping guitar chord with Nolan yelling angrily “Big shot screaming, ‘Put your hands in the sky’ / He says, ‘Give it up boy, give it up or your gonna die.”
Bourbon Rocks â€šÃ„Ã¬ King Straggler
Country rock outfit King Straggler played a solid but short set at Bourbon Rocks that was enough to get some of the crowd gleefully dancing by the end. Principal members Rodney Eastman, Brentley Gore and John Hawkes (the actor who plays Sol Star on HBO’s Deadwood) all shared in the vocal duties at various times in the set similar to the more country side of The Eagles. Hawk in particular singing “it’s hard to be a rebel when everyone’s hip” as well a pleasing cover of Neil Young’s classic “Harvest” to finish their set.
Emo’s Main Room â€šÃ„Ã¬ The Datsuns
New Zealand’s The Datsuns flash and confidence on the main stage at Emo’s made for an exhilarating high-energy 70s-style garage rock performance. Lead singer Dolph stomped out basslines while singing with a throat-y yell against assaulting power chords and scorching guitar solos. The band made the most of their relentless energy during songs such as “Harmonic Generator” and “Sittin’ Pretty” keeping the crowd invigorated and entertained.
La Zona Rosa â€šÃ„Ã¬ Towers of London
Perhaps the most underwhelming band thus far, Towers of London put on what could best be described as a half-ass effort. The band while sounding like a decent imitation of late 80s Guns n’ Roses hard rock, looked sloppy and uninterested. The lead singer heckled the crowd to leave after they were finished playing that could best be described as the kind of arrogance you might see if Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist from the Hives had no charisma. The solos and riffs may have sounded OK but with the overwhelming majority of hip music fans feeling nothing but disinterest for this type of music, Towers of London does a disservice to the actual need for this abrasive type of rock and roll.
La Zona Rosa â€šÃ„Ã¬ Lady Sovereign
Not altogether surprisingly, Lady Sovereing’s MC skills are light years beyond her DJ skills witnessed a couple days before. The young Jay-Z protâˆšÂ©gâˆšÂ© looked remarkably comfortable onstage stalking back and forth while yipping out rhymes with a nice tint of a British accent for unique flavor. Wide-eyed (almost appearing constantly shocked) Sovereign cracked jokes and never for an instant lost focus or composure. While her DJ spun blippy, eclectic and high tempo beats she decried over-tanned elitists (“Tango”) and girls with no fashion sense (“Hoodie”) with quick rhymes and attitude. Although still young, the level of poise Lady Sovereign already displays in front of a large crowd speaks volumes about her talent.
Fox and Hound â€šÃ„Ã¬ She Wants Revenge
After catching the majority of Lady Sovereign’s set She Wants Revenge could be heard clearly from blocks away as the Fox and Hound was approached. Lead singer Justin Warfield’s Ian Curtis-style sneer and the tremulous bass echoed through the streets as they played their single “Tear You Apart.” Unfortunately due to the late start of Lady Sovereign’s set once in the venue and up by the stage the show was finished.
La Zona Rosa – Ghostface
To end out the night Ghostface (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) played a long set that never seemed to quite pick up speed. At first the crowd was eager and enthusiastic for Ghostface’s arrival, but the rapper didn’t seem to have much direction as far as song order was concerned. Ghost would ask the fans to shout what they wanted to hear but then declined many of their suggestions. Ghostface’s verse from the Wu-Tang classic C.R.E.A.M. drew a great response as did the compelling “All That I Got Is You” but in general Ghostface’s backup MCs constantly stepped on any chance getting a true feel for how well/not well he was doing. Cadence, pacing, flow and diction all became impossible to accurately gauge due to the combined effect of the backups and excessively loud microphones. Ghost finished off his set by bring half the women in the crowd to the stage to dance with him for a reggae-style groove.