Tilly and the Wall have got spirit. Yes, yes they do. Exhibit A: As the evening’s headliner for the Team Love/Polyvinyl showcase at Habana Calle 6, the Omaha indie pop collective practically pogoed to the stage chanting their own Mickey Mouse Club style cheer: “Austin: Tilly’s back! We want you to shake your ass!”
Exhibit B: They are, essentially, a stationary homecoming float stocked with kids from the gifted and talented (and fashionable) high school. Tap dancing, green tu-tu wearing percussionist wonder Jamie Presnall alternated between vaudevillian grandeur and stomp-the-yard choreography to drive the beat, while co-vocalists Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid supplied harmonized vocals (and flamenco flourishes) for a set that included old favorites (such as the fists-in-the-air triggering “Night of the Living Dead”) and new: the hint-of-Miami-Sound-Machine dance tune “Beat Control.”
Seattle’s Say Hi didn’t have to introduce themselves when they played the Red Eyed Fly on Friday night — the demonstrably friendly crowd was clearly already on a first name basis.
With frontman Eric Elbogen keeping a steady pace of sustained jumping up and down activity, he was ably backed by drummer Westin Glass, who may have been positioned at the far end of the stage, but was gunning for front and center via enthusiastic lip sync-alongs and physical interpretations of song lyrics (think: taking an exaggerated bite out of a drum stick timed to the lyric “sinking in my teeth” on vampire-themed tune “Sweet Sweet Heartkiller”). And don’t discount the bonus grooming points: “This Austin weather really brings out the Albert Hammond, Jr. in your haircut,” Elbogen commended to his compatriot.
But while the duo scored an A for effort, the overall effect fell a little “seeing your buddy’s band” flat, with Elbogen’s live delivery of the character-driven emo warblings coming across more affable than remarkable. Carrying the undead inspiration throughout the upbeat set, the indie pop duo concluded with crowd favorite “These Fangs.”:
The preppy-before-it-was-trendy (or, at least, as trendy as it is now) NYC sextet White Rabbits blanketed the diminutive stage at Club de Ville for the Friday night Big Shot Touring showcase, offering the audience an eye-witness account of just how many moving parts go into the manufacturing of an indie-brand crescendo. The “this is gonna be good” moment came early, thanks to Steve Patterson’s piano-banging aplomb, accented by dueling drums on “While We Go Dancing.” The band fast forwarded through their already briskly-paced single “The Plot,” (see video below) but embellished a hipster-saloon vibe on propulsive set closer “Kid on My Shoulders.”