Day two at SXSW kicked off with a tumbleweed turnout for Lucky Stiffs at Redrum.
As the sun finally emerged, it appeared the crowds preferred the outdoor gigs at this point. Greg De Hoedt (vocals) put on an energetic performance nonetheless, entertaining the house as if it were packed—clearly gearing up for their set later in San Antonio.
The weather was getting to him too. Sweat-soaked, he asked, “Is it usually this hot here?” In unison the audience replied, “Hotter”, followed by a single voice that pointed out, “but we’re smart enough not to wear all black.” Is there another color?
Then it was onward to what would become the pinnacle of the day. Gallows, from London, arrived for their premier U.S. set at Latitude 30. We enter the venue as a carnival-ish band tooted on trombones and pounded away at a xylophone. The crowd is looking more like a software developer’s’ convention than a Gallows show. “This doesn’t bode well,” my Gallows-experienced companion turns and says to me.
Singer Frank Carter emerges, shirt already off, and the audience gets a hint as to what they are about to experience. Covered in tattoos, some of his own application, Frank is all of 120 pounds, five feet 6 inches, and sports a sprig of ginger hair.
Frank’s brother Steph (guitar) is already prepared for the Austin heat as well. He is in tightly cuffed, cut-off jean-shorts and a white tee with the sleeves rolled up as tightly as possible to his shoulders. A bit taller than Frank and every bit as skinny and pale, Steph’s attire only adds to his bean-pole-ness.
With all hell’s fury, Gallows launches into “Just Because You Sleep Next to Me Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe,” and continue to thrash through a good seven songs, wrapping things up with “Orchestra of Wolves,” which doubtlessly leaves a lasting memory.
Intended to be a warning of the destitute promiscuity of unchecked sexual urges, “Orchestra” uses some harsh and descriptive verbiage to get the point across:
“If I offer to buy you a drink trust me when I say it’s non-alcoholic/You’re no good to me if you can’t even speak/I don’t want you passing out when you’re sucking my dick/I want you to wake up and remember my name when you’re washing my cum off your fucking face.”
KB followed Gallows to a radio interview and spent much of the evening kicking it with this gang of hooligans. Expect to hear much, much more from them and on them.
Free beverages flowed like a river at the Alternative Press party, with amazing gift bags that included iPod docks and Guitar Hero II for Playstation. An acoustic set with Chuck Ragan from Hot Water Music soothed the sun-baked attendees gathered a downtown rooftop, and a much needed chillout was appreciated by all.
En route to see Big Business, we ran into the cherubic Ben Jorgensen from Armor for Sleep, proudly displaying his Sire badge as he made his way to his showcase set. He seems quite please to have signed with the historic label. And who wouldn’t b?!
Big Business cranked out a blistering outdoor set at Emo’s to round out the evening. Playing much of the new album the way it should be heard. FUCKING LOUD.
This LP capitalizes on the signature sound they have established for themselves, and adds layers of complexity on top of it all. An amazing, amazing band, whether live or recorded. They will be playing again at the Vice party on Friday, and you can be sure to see more on them in tomorrow’s installment.
photos: Jef Hoskins
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SXSW 2007-Renegade Report, Friday, Mar 16
SXSW 2007-Renegade Report, Saturday, Mar 17