As crowds swelled in the streets of Austin, various day parties and countless sponsored events kept the rock’n’roll steady on day two of SXSW (Thursday March 15). The Walkmen, Tally Hall, RJD2, Architecture in Helsinki, among others, are just a few who brought it … er blew it? Find out who made the awesome cut for SPIN.com!
Bourbon Rocks (508 E. 6th St.) got their rocks off early with Austin’s own indie folkies, Okkervil River, early afternoon on Thursday. Sponsored by Found Magazine and Quack! Media, indie pop phenomenon Tally Hall ran through their usual bag of hits such as “Good Day” and “Banana Man,” but it was their nearly 10-minute rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” that brought down the house, complete with red, white, and blue beach balls, shiny fazoo, and 300 one-dollar bills thrown into the crowd. Next, the barroom folk rock of Ann Arbor, MI’s Great Lakes Myth Society kept the mixed audience in step with old favorites and new songs from their forthcoming long-player, Compass Rose Bouquet, out June 12. From the riotous foot stomping of “Big Jim Hawkins” and scenic earnestness of “Across the Bridge” to the rich colors of “Queen of the Barley Fool,” Great Lakes Myth Society’s sweat-drenched rock’n’roll was unbeatable. NYC’s the Walkmen closed things out with their brawny kind of indie rock, delivering a guitar-blasted set that included “Louisiana” and new song, “I Lost You.” 93% awesome. MACKENZIE WILSON
Domino Records lured sleepy journalists out of bed and out to Yard Dog (1510 S. Congress Ave.) Thursday morning with an invitation for migas and a preview of the Arctic Monkeys’ sophomore disc, Favourite Worst Nightmare. With hyperactive drum riffs and spiky basslines, the British rockers pack their new long-player with plenty of songs that sound good on the dance floor. But on the song “Nightmare,” one of the more somber tracks on the album, hints at signs of maturity. Nostalgic lyrics are buried amid a deceptively cheery melody in album standout “Florescent Adolescent.” “The best you ever had was just a memory,” declares frontman Alex Turner. 90% awesome GINNY YANG
In a party co-sponsored by Under the Radar magazine, Athens, GA college radio and PR firm Team Clermont achieved great success in bringing some of their hometown quirk and diversity to the Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th St.). Donning their signature war paint, sixteen-member Dark Meat collective began the day with a miniature parade, ushering eager fans through the door in what might now be known as the “18 second shoe rush,” hoping to pick up a sweet pair of new kicks from Saucony. A general air of madness dominated the party until the lighthearted Euro-pop sets of the day, beginning with the loveliness of Loney, Dear and ending with Architecture in Helsinki twinkling into the sunset. 82% awesome SAMI PROMISLOFF
Swedish drum and guitar duo Johnossi (comprised of vocalist and guitarist John and drummer Ossi) played to a sun-mellowed selection of in-the-knowsters at Thursday’s +1 house party (Frank Sinatra’s house, 2407 Riverside Farms Rd.), bringing their bluesy brand of Scandinavian garage rock off Austin’s downtown-beaten path. Held in the backyard of one Mr. Sinatra, the Dukes of Hazzard-meets-Country Bear Jamboree (for hipsters) affair came replete with a goat, chickens and a homemade stage outfitted with service station paraphernalia. “The next song we’re gonna play is a giant hit in Sweden,” John sweetly informed the laid-back ’40s-suppin’ crowd by way of introducing “Man Must Dance.” Though no man in the audience obeyed the song’s stipulation, you could just tell they wanted to. 70% awesome MELISSA GOLDSTEIN
For heads who swarmed the XL Recordings party at Emo’s Annex (603 Red River St.), anticipating RJD2’s notorious turntable charades, expectations were suffocated when alt rap’s foremost lab maestro dropped the vinyl, thumbed his Rickenbacker and assumed front man duties. What’s the name of this band that RJ brought to heroically flip the script before returning to Deadringer form? “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess you can call them the Columbus, OH All-Stars.” 88% awesome CHRIS FARAONE