You can tell that the festival is in full swing by the overall demeanor of the morning crowd as they gather to begin another day of rock n’ roll excess. Collective hangover and friendly audience are not two terms that usually go together well. Having the first set of the day at SXSW is often one of the most difficult gigs to pull off.
Her name is Nneka. ”Double N, E K A.” as she says from the stage. A truly gifted performer, she single handedly cured the headaches of the masses gathered at the Cedar Street Courtyard on this particular morning. Her songs are about infidelity, poverty and anger. You feel every word she sings. You can’t take your eyes off of her. An absolutely amazing way to start the day.
Accompanied by a spectacular band of the most professional of musicians, she’s played at least five shows here. Each one is more packed than the last one as the buzz spreads.
After catching the enthusiastic Japandroids set that bordered on manic, we found ourselves at the not-so-secret showcase by British theatrical rockers Muse. The band has their set down to a science…. but it sounds eerily perfect and there are more lasers on stage than the first two episodes of Star Wars combined. All in all quite worthwhile, if only to see one of the world’s biggest bands play a BBQ joint in central Texas.
From conventional to curious, we ended up catching Omodaka at the Elysium. With no idea what to expect, there was no real shock when a woman/ man/ robot came out onstage in traditional garb and started making music on an old Nintendo 8 bit Game Boy. But everything after that was relatively nuts. The moment the giant televised head started singing showtunes was the real WTF moment of the week. So far.
Daniel Berkal leads the trendspotting team at The Palmerston Group, and will be mailing reports from Austin, Texas exclusively to andPOP throughout SXSW 2010.