Clash @ SXSW 2012 – Day Five

With The Hounds Below, The Drums

In Austin, Texas for this year’s South By South West music conference, Paul Melbourne is documenting all the action for Clash. Read on for day one’s exploits…

After feeling horrendous yesterday and making sure I was in bed by 1am to get some good old sleep, I wake up feeling fine and dandy for the last day of the festival, where there’s plenty to see. It’s St Patrick’s day, or St Patti as they refer to him here. I thought us Brits went mad for it but it is crazy over here. Just going for breakfast in the morning, everyone is wearing green, green hats, green shorts, green necklaces, Austin has gone mad. It’s great though, bringing even more of a party vibe to the closing day of music.

The convention centre was the first venue of the day, this venue must be one of the most soul destroying places for a band to play, first up was Canada’a Plants & Animals playing to about 50 folk sitting on laptops and falling asleep, their dreary music didn’t help particularly and I caught a few winks on one of the bean bags! There is far too many bands with names like theirs this week, and they’re not too be confused with Maps & Atlases who we also caught in one four favourite venues in town, ND’s. They sound like Foals, but less mathy and a southern stoner version. Definitely worth watching out for.

Then it was time for The Hounds Below for the second time this week. The venue this time was more of a relaxed affair with everyone seated but it wasn’t long before everyone was on their feet, with new single ‘You and I’ providing a highlight. These guys are so tight you wouldn’t know they had just finalised the current line up and again they set the bar high for the rest of the day. After that it’s off on the bus across Austin to Emo’s. The Drums are doing a free show and I’m interested to catch them as they’ve got some great catchy tunes, however last time I saw them a couple of years back they were shockingly bad live. Back with a full line up they sound much better, recent single ‘Money’ managing to be a highlight even though it has about six words in it! Whilst they now have a bass player, he switches between bass and guitar and their single ‘Lets Go Surfing’ is bassless and is lacking that punch.

We’re then back on the bus where we manage to get suitably Irish’ed up and gain plenty of green bits from some friendly locals. We then head back to one of our favourite hang outs, Buffalo Billiards for some grub and to see old punks The Standells. For saying they must all be in their sixties, they look good and they’re clearly having a blast even though the venue isn’t that packed out.

Whilst we’re in America, the ‘British Music Embassy’ has provided some of the highlights of the week, big up to the sound guy there as the sound has been shit hot for everyone we have seen there. Clock Opera storm their way through their set again and are followed up by Django Django who are going to take Metronomy’s crown if they’re not careful. After seeing a few Brits it’s time for some Scottish Music back over at the Red 7 Patio. The Twilight Sad are first up with their moody atmospheric shoegaziness and even a power cut mid way through doesn’t stop them winning this crowd over. To finish the festival though its two of our favourites of the week, We Were Promised Jetpacks are just as good the third time round even treating us to a newly reworked version of ‘It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning’ as well as a new tune that sounds easily as good as anything they’ve put out so far.

Final band of the day and it’s also the third time we’ve seen them. Jason Stollsteimer and his gang The Hounds Below provide a fitting raucous show to finish things off even inciting the first bit of crowd surfing we’ve seen all week!

A perfect day to end the weeks festivities but its sad faces all round as that’s SXSW done for another year. At least our favourite shuttle driver ‘Bern-Dog’ is there to take us back to the hotel for some much much needed rest. Cheers South by, until next year…

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