SXSW 2009: Standouts and Stumpers

Note: wherever possible I’ve linked to the artists’ SXSW pages, including free MP3s.

When you see at least 10 bands a day, the music begins to meld together into one big blob of beats and wails.  So the quality of the performance can end up being the distinguishing factor – for better or worse.

The biggest stumper: School of the Seven Bells.  Presumably it was their Secret Machines connection that earned their spot on the roster, because it sure wasn’t their performance.  This may or may not be (appropriately) “Half Asleep” — all six songs they played sounded the same.

I know, they are beautiful women, so they don’t need to do much other than stand there, right?  Not so…witness the drummer for the Ettes:

I know, but the Ettes are playing pure rawk! and not Cocteau Twins meets Chemical Brothers electronica.  Electronica acts don’t need to push it like rockers, right?  Not so…witness Starfucker:

Or the Bird and the Bee:

Hell, even kids and dogs were putting on a better show:

On a side note, the Bird and the Bee was my favorite randomly caught show.  They weren’t listed on the original South by San Jose day party list, and while cutting over from Home Slice to grab a coffee, I saw the lovely blues and whites of their dresses and heard their sweet girly-pop and fortunately caught the last half of their set (including what I’d like to see go down in the girl-pop hall of fame: “Be My Fucking Boyfriend”).

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