3/16/2012 9:43 AM
The neon lights flashed as fists began flying into the air. With mounting excitement, the crowd counted the odd numbers down in unison, chanting at Dan Deacon's signature prop, a sparkling green skull, like it was some kind of idol. When we reached number one, the tent exploded in a flood of high-energy, fast tempo electronic music, and everyone began to move.
This was the finale of the third night at Southby. Our day started off calmly enough with a rooftop Google and Youtube party with phenomenal music and a beautiful view of Austin. Here, the sound quality was probably the most professional we'd experienced so far. Los Angeles based Best Coast
performed first. In her bright red sailor girl get-up, complete with fishnets and tattoos, Bethany Consentino channeled Pop-Eye (that is, if Pop-Eye were young, attractive, and female), which was perfect for the band's slow surf rock sound. Her eye-catching appearance did not detract from her chilling vocals, backed by high-energy drums and guitar.
Next were Cults
, the new, upcoming indie band best known for their hit internet single "Go Outside," and a group we were particularly excited to see. All of the songs on their self-titled album have their own unique, slow-tempo sound which is reminiscent of 50s ballads. Swinging their long dark hair around in the wind, the three band members performed a strong, energetic set led by the childlike voice of singer Madeline Follin. Very prominent in the mix was a sparingly used but tasteful Yamaha drum pad and a fuzzed out Gibson Ripper bass.
When the day began to dwindle, we decided to begin the evening by watching Austin's signature spring sunset. Austin locals and tourists line around, under, and on top of the Congress bridge to watch thousands of bats awaken in sync, and, swirling like a dark tornado, fly off into the night. Read more about this fascinating Austin feature here
After seeing the bats, we rushed off to the Red Eyed Fly. We were looking forward to seeing Yellow Ostrich
, a Brooklyn-based indie band who uses loops to create haunting vocal harmonies. The minimalist drummer used nothing but a snare, floor tom, high hat, and crash symbol. The mics on the kit made it more than rival the standard (or dare I say stereotypical) drum kit. The end result is a sound different from any other indie band, with powerful lyrics and whimsical charm that makes a strong impression in a live show. His newer songs were more high energy than the ones we had heard before, so I'll be curious to listen to the latest record.
We stuck around the Red Eyed Fly to see Ramona Falls
. We had heard of them before through a mind-blowing video for I Say Fever
. The performance was exciting and entertaining to watch, with highly theatrical band members that suited the narrative style of their songs.
In between shows, we stopped at a food truck for some coffee and, despite the dirt, lied in the grass for a moment to listen to catchy indie rock band Girls
, which we could hear through the trees. Finally, we headed over to Dan Deacon
to put the last of our energy into an experimental avant-garde electronic dance party.
Now counting down for the next day... 15...13...11...
by Melissa McDaniel and Joseph Perry