Commonwealth SXSW Showcase, Austin, Texas

24.03.11

As we may have mentioned, we went to Austin, Texas last week to throw a party at the Lanai Lounge, a rooftop terrace overlooking Congress and 5th. Thrown in conjunction with inspirational firms Acephale Records, The Pop Manifesto and Transparent, it was a fun, funny night.

First on was Babe Rainbow, who played a set of syrupy, deep hip hop before Porcelain Raft. After the performance we chatted briefly, and he said something interesting about never letting the dust settle on his tracks, which was interesting because of how instinctual his music was – a combination of vast textural washes and instinctual, instant melody carried off with quiet charisma.

Next up was Mount Kimbie, who, post-sound problems, settled into the set. Ruth has spoken elsewhere about their journey deeper into their sound, and this was further proof – their intricate, precise sound is not turning looser live, but accelerating, focussing down, becoming the band they are. Pure X, who are releasing records through Acephale, played with this amazing weightlessness – during their set, the sun dropped out of the sky the way it does closer to the equator and the breeze picked up through the blue-LED-lit air. Someone had tweeted during Pure X’s set “This is some film moment shit,” which sums it up pretty well.

Honey-voiced soulsinger Jamie Woon played an amazing set, smooth at first, looser later, that showed out the strength of his tunes, if some of the more acute, cold layers of his production were lost with the whole band set-up. After Physical Therapy of “your favourite remix” fame played a smashing set, Laurel Halo came on. An ultra last-minute addition to the lineup, she played keyboards and very little recognizably from the ‘King Felix’ EP or anything else recorded, instead going after a light, smart, free sound of total musicality.

Laurel may have been ultra last-minute, but she wasn’t the final person to jump on the bill, as we found out when, to our surprise, our party paused to let Adam Duritz (from the Counting Crows) play an astoundingly ugly 10 minute set of southern rock-rap. It was a pretty weird moment, saved by the valiant efforts of Pictureplane and Hollagramz, who DJed a set of rave music from another, better world than this. Holding up the bottom end of the night was Jackmaster and Deadboy (under their names Murkalangelo and DJ T€ARJ£RK£R) and the wonderfully talented DJ Brenmar. This was some film moment shit, the whole night was, really.

All photography by Patrice Jackson.

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