First stop was Max’s Wine Dive for the Aloft Hotels Day Party to see The Soft Pack. They were THE band that I needed to see and we made it just in time for their set.
Catchy, post-punk surf rock. One of the best bands I saw at South by. This would not be the only time I saw them that day…
Next up was Anya Marina who has the voice of an angel. Beautiful, haunting, smokey. The crowd was much too loud after drinking a few too many free Shiners (bonus), so it was hard to hear much of her set in a basement with poor acoustics. But I did get a good video of her covering T.I.
Then it was a walk to the other side of I35 to the Fader Fort to try and catch Local Natives (didn’t make it in time). But we did get to see another band on my list, The Morning Benders. Very capable indie pop. Here they are showing some doo wop influences on the song “Excuses”.
Quick snack, then it was off to Stubbs for a pretty ridiculous lineup. First up were The Besnard Lakes. Very talented psychedelic shoegaze Canadians. Next up were The Soft Pack again. This set was much better and it was cool to see them win over the capacity crowd so quickly. They also announced during the set that they had just gone to number 1 in the UK.
Up next were the Drive By Truckers who I only had heard of in name. They sounded good. Southern rock with a hint of pearl snaps. They dedicated their last song to the late Alex Chilton.
Then the moment all 3000 Americans in there were waiting for…Band of Horses. Probably the best set I saw at South by this year. They were firing on all cylinders. There were even a few new songs thrown in there. All were very keyboard driven, and all were great. But they wasted no time getting to the hits starting out with “Is There a Ghost”.
This is another one of my personal faves…
By the time BOH melted all of our faces, it was time to call it an evening. Which was quite unfortunate seeing as Broken Social Scene was headlining. But I was not alone judging from the mass exodus from Stubbs before their set. Twas a shame (because they’re also great), but a brotha’s gotta sleep sometime.
Very successful day one. 8 bands. One Band of Horses. Ears. Ringing.
Stay tuned for day two…