Following the calamity of late last night, the day began slowly. The only real change was Stereogum’s day party at The Mohawk was fully canceled, with the evening’s showcases there remaining in doubt. We traveled to one of our favorite annual haunts, Under the Radar magazine’s yearly day party. In day 2 of the 3-day event, this bill boasted no less than six stellar indie bands on the rise.
First on the day just a smidge past noon was Painted Palms. Decidedly an indie band, but at heart Painted Palms comes from rock-ier origins. During soundcheck their bassist played nearly the entirety of Cliff Burton’s famous bass solo from Metallica’s first album “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”. Their lead singer/guitarist even took several chances to play lead guitar in fashion that could only be described as a hard rock style. Thumpers came next, playing a chilled-out series of grooves. Not quite enough to blow up a whole dance party, but still fun nonetheless.
With the crowd piling in, and each moment allowing for progressively less space, Avi Buffalo took the stage. The band’s lead singer croons with a higher falsetto (think Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos) while the band jams on in indie style. For one number, and surprisingly unusual for SXSW, the singer also played one song entirely solo with nothing but guitar accompaniment. Small Black followed suite, and went for a more straight-up dance freak-out, getting the capacity crowd moving (as much as can be expected for the early afternoon following a late night out).
From a style perspective The Mary Onettes might not sound like anything more than a conventional indie pop band, but in their cast it doesn’t matter. The songs are good, and they’re fun to listen to. They filled the penultimate slot right before We Were Promised Jetpacks.
Awesome to state, We Were Promised Jetpacks were stupendous. The Scottish five piece are a rock act that are all about the crescendo. The band takes elegant indie rock and evolves it over elongated passages into mounting, enveloping finales. A fitting headliner to be sure. The group’s lead singer Adam Thompson quipped before their final song, “I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t fuck off.”