SXSW 2009: Friday recap


Seriously, this post could start and stop with one word: Metallica

In what was one of the worst kept secrets of SXSW, Metallica played at the 2,100 seat, general admission open air venue Stubb’s in part to help promote the new Guitar Hero: Metallica game coming out at the end of the month. David called me at 6:30 and said the security guys told him that people with SXSW wristbands (like myself) didn’t stand any chance of getting in but I was determined and was able to get after waiting less than an hour in line.

Silversun Pickups played first and debuted a number of new songs but it was the hits from Carnavas that the crowd recognized and applauded the loudest for (“Lazy Eye,” “Well Thought Out Twinkles”). It was just a few years ago (2006?) that we watched SSPU play on a restaurant patio in front of 30 or so people. I’m glad they’re getting the recognition they deserve.

Brian from SSPU knew they were in an interesting position, opening for Metallica, and though it wasn’t officially confirmed that Metallica would in fact be playing until the minute they took the stage, everybody knew it and Brian even said “I hear something HEAVY is going to happen here tonight.”

At 10pm on the button, Metallica hit the stage, opening with “Creeping Death.” I had a really great spot, about 6 people back, from Kirk Hammett. Metallica played for about an hour and 20 minutes and played a lot of old stuff – only 2 new songs slipped into the set. They played everything from “Whiplash” to “One” to “Harvester of Sorrow” (see the video I filmed in my previous post) to “Master of Puppets.”

I didn’t pay $55 for nosebleed seats last time they were in Columbus but I wouldn’t have missed this free, “intimate” show for anything.

Started the day at the Aussie BBQ and, to no big surprise, it was amazing yet again this year. I asked one of the organizers (Mary) if the goal was to help get the Aussie bands that play the BBQ distribution deals in the U.S. and she said that was up to the bands to make the contacts. The Aussie BBQ’s main purpose is to expose bands to a U.S. audience. The four acts I caught were The Boat People, Red Riders, The Fumes, and Gabriella Cilmi. All four were really, really good and made me wish I had some way to help them get distribution in the U.S. – I think people would really like Red Riders whose vocalist reminded me a bit of Robert Smith although the music didn’t sound like The Cure.

Gabriella Cilmi is in a league all her own and I think the Aussie BBQ organizers scored a coup getting her to perform. I’m pretty sure she’s already got a U.S. record deal and is poised to go onto really big things. Because Amy Winehouse was really the first to gain popularity with this type of music, that would be the easiest/simplist reference point. Judge for yourself by watching the video of Gabriella performing her first U.S. single “Sweet About Me” and stick around for the bonus footage of her covering Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”!

Caught Wild Light at the Filter party (only one song, but it was the one I was hoping to hear – “California on My Mind”) and Glasvegas at the SPIN party (didn’t think they were worth the hype).

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