Thursday, March 11, 2010

A taste of SXSW, in Brooklyn

By Meredith Deliso

South by Southwest, the annual marathon indie music festival, has hundreds of bands, and even more music fans, flocking to Austin next week.

For those without passes, you can still get a taste of the sounds of the festival thanks to a Brooklyn Vegan SXSW pre-party on March 15 at the Knitting Factory. The night features bands en route to Austin, with a European bent.

“Despite what music blogs lead you to believe (and the mass of people that will be there), not everybody goes to Austin in March,” said the blog in a post announcing the local showcase, which is en route to SXSW itself, with several showcases planned during the festival.

Since the music doesn’t start until March 17 at SXSW, both festival goers and those who will be getting their SXSW recaps from said music blogs can enjoy the pre-party. First on the night, it’s Banjo or Freakout, the home-recording project of UK singer/songwriter Alessio Natalizia who’s formed a band so he can bring his dream-pop sounds live (sorry, pickers, it’s not really about banjos).

Another UK band takes to the stage next, The Wave Pictures, who have been rocking it for over a decade. If you like the Mountain Goats, they will be right up your alley, as they’ve collaborated with live and on record with the indie band.

On the eve of the release of their debut album on Merge for American release, Let’s Wrestle, the third UK band on the bill, heads to SXSW this year, but not before stopping off in Brooklyn first. The band is not new year, having played a slew of CMJ shows this past fall, where they earned fans for their energetic live shows.

Now that you’ve warmed up, get ready for Casiokids (pictured). Known as the “Hot Chip” of Norway, the kids are another exuberant act, blending “old analogue, trashy keyboards and pop melodies.” No album in the works yet, it seems, though they’ve kept listeners happy by releasing singles on Moshi Moshi Records. Unless you’re fluent in Norwegian, you’ll have to rely less on their lyrics and more on their beats. Dance music breaks all language barriers, anyway.

The last band on the bill, WhoMadeWho, comes via Denmark. The disco punk rockers sound like a synthier Queens of the Stone Age, and it’s no surprise that that band’s Josh Homme has covered WhoMadeWho live in his side-project, the Fififf Teeners. You’ll know the band’s hit the stage when two guys come out in skeleton suits. For real.

The night will cap things off with a DJ set from Bill Pearis.

So while this will only offer a .01 percent of the bonanza that is SXSW, you can get in on the fun here in Brooklyn. And hey, there’s always next year.

Things kick off at 8 pm, with tickets $8. Knitting Factory is located at 361 Metropolitan Avenue. For more information, call 347-529-6696.

You can also get a taste of the Australian sounds at the festival thanks to the Aussie BBQ, a satellite showcase of bands from down under that are making their way to SXSW.

That comes to the Bell House on March 25, and will feature Beaches, Children Collide, City Riots, Crayon Fields, Goons of Doom, Love of Diagrams, Oh Mercy, Paul Dempsey, Sherlock’s Daughter, and The Chevelles.

The show starts at 6 pm, with tickets $15. The Bell House is located at 149 7th St.


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