Early afternoon in Austin today is hot and bright. Hungover music industry types stumble through the streets in search of a decent bloody mary like so many well-dressed zombies. It's really nice out. According to weather.com— and strictly using the outside temperature to gauge this—it's almost exactly twice as nice out in Austin as it is in Chicago.
In earlier years the first day of SXSW was only a couple steps up from Sunday, when all the worst bands are booked since almost everyone is on their way out of town. This year, though, Wednesday came into its own as a legit day with some serious action. Already I've had to make some tough decisions about which of two or three or four simultaneous kickass shows I'd make it to. Last night that meant missing the 4AD showcase for a quick stop at the Beggars Banquet showcase, where I caught the new Mclusky spinoff Future of the Left. For anyone who ever said there will never be another band like Mclusky, congrats. You were right. But Future of the Left is still some raw-ass, ugly rock 'n' roll, and even if it's not as good as Mclusky, it at least hits some of the right notes.
I bailed on the Beggars party after that for the Sub Pop showcase. The lesson I learned there: pay attention to Tiny Vipers and
LonelyLoney, Dear. Lonely Loney, Dear, who happen to be playing at Schubas on Sunday, will probably be Sub Pop's next breakout artist—their sweetly dark take on 60s pop is totally RIYL the Shins—but in a just world the Tiny Vipers' Jesy Fortino will gain a small but cultishly devoted following when her record comes out.
After Sub Pop, I hit up the 1900s show, which was attended by a small but enthusiastic crowd that seemed blown away by all the new material. I'm interested to see what attendance will be like at their shows later on in the week. Word of mouth is fast and crucial down here. And after the 1900s: Les Savy Fav. The space limitations of this blog make it impossible to describe the show in any of the detail that it so richly deserves, but if there's one image that can represent the whole show, it's balding, overweight, and really sweaty front man Tim Harrington half-stripped-out of a skintight bodysuit being faux-felated by some dude in the front row. Those who saw it had a hard time sleeping last night without help from the plentiful PBR tallboys floating around.