SXSW Nite 3 – Cloud Cult Twice, and more Indie

Friday was full of Cloud Cult and back to white-people music from Thursday’s hip-hop-a-rama. Kim and I started out early going to the Soundcheck magazine party at Emo’s Annex (a party tent they throw-up in the parking lot across from Emo’s) and then moved onto The Red Eyed Fly for most of the evening.

Soundcheck Party

Soundcheck Magazine's 2nd Birthday Party Show

You can tell by the style of art in the poster that this show was, you know, cute-kid rock. You know what I mean. I have no problem with this, I like it plenty. Cloud Cult is still one of my favorite bands after seeing them at SXSW 2007.

Before we get to the music, let’s check out some of the Emo’s Annex scenery.

Dewar’s co-sponsored the party, so there were many little Dewar’s buttons laying around:

Dewar's Austin Buttons

To that end, there was a special on $2 Dewar’s and Reed’s Ginger. I tried one, and it was terrible. I love scotch and I like ginger beer, but the two together tasted of ass like other things-I-like-apart-but-not-together disasters like a peach cobbler mole enchilada.

Dewar's and Reed's Ginger - not good

But, let’s get the bands.

Le Loup

Earlier in the week over some coffee with Sean Carlson (what a nice guy!), we’d been joking about how many different types of “indie” there are now. You can pretty much come up with any cutesy white-guy adjective, slap it in front of “indie,” and get a genre. For example, as Sean and I joked, “banjo indie.”

Well, who knew it was so real:

Banjo Indie

To be fair, Le Loup only used the banjo once.

The lead singer of Le Loup was mega-enthusastic, hopin’ all around the stage. I must say, I welcome the “showmanship” angle to acts. Otherwise, why not just listen to your iPod?



Tragically, I don’t really remember the next act, the Evangelicals except that one of them wore a glittered up cape. Luckily, Kim had seen them the previous night at Mohawk. She says:

I liked them. The lead singer was so happy!

Fashion Interlude

Both Kim and I are collectors of weird fashion moments. The Soundcheck party offered plenty.

Case in point:

This on goes to @thinguy

Cloud Cult

Cloud Cult

As mentioned above, I enjoy Cloud Cult. While I don’t “have all their albums,” I’m a big fan of Happy Hippopotamus. This is all thanks to Kim.

Last year we saw them at SXSW and while I didn’t take an immediate shine to them, Kim did, and bought their albums. After a weird 3AM drive to New Braunfels with Happy Hippopotamus as the sound-track (a story for another time), I got to like them more. Now I listen to that album at least once a week, if not more.

The thing with Cloud Cult is that they’re – generally – mega-optimistic. They’re kind of like happy existentialists. As they say, “best learn to live while you’re alive.” You can almost see Camus motor-biking around that death-bend there.

Needless to say, their set was good. I even liked the songs from the new album they played, which is pretty rare. I’m the guy who likes to hear just “the old stuff.”

Last year, I didn’t remember them doing a painting on stage [Kim says they did, and had two painters, in fact], but that’s part of their schtick now. They have a painter who also does some back-up singing and horn blowing. He brought out a big white-washed canvas at the start, and ended up painting a bird:

Cloud Cult's Painting

Cloud Cult sells these off at the end of the show. I wonder how that works out for them.


The last act at Emo’s Annex was Why?. They were like cute white-guy rap. I expected the typical thing here: something like an Ewok coming out and sing “Got Your Money” in space blue-grass style.

They weren’t too bad, and, indeed, the crowd was getting into. I’m sure it’d be fun listening.

Interlude at the Driskell


The Soundcheck party over, we hustled up to my favorite 6th street spot, the Driskell bar. We were hungry, and though I usually get the burger at the Driskell bar, I wanted something else. Instead of one of the tasty burgers, we got fancy-pants nachos and a ceaser salad. The salad was great as it tasted of real anchovie paste, while the nachos were as a disappointing as fancy-pants nachos always are: too much lipstick, not enough pig.

Disappointing (and expensive) nachos aside, the drinks were great. I got the Driskell version of my new favorite drink, the Michelada. Most people still don’t make this drink quite right, but it was good enough. So far, Elsie’s and Jaime’s (both types!) have had the best ones, you know, excluding the ones I make at home ;>

Also, while we were sitting there, some folks came around and gave out free drinks of 10 Cane Rum and Coke – score!

Driskell Michelada

The Parish – Portastic & Wye Oak


After our dinner interlude, we headed to The Parish to see Mac McCaughan (under the name Portastic). Kim tells me Mac is some sort of indie super-God, coming from Superchunk. Indeed, there must be something going on there as we saw Superchunk last year and David Cross was rockin’ out in the first row along with all sorts of people who were sort of like “oh my, God, I can’t believe I’m seeing Superchunk!”

There were plenty of similar folks at the Portastic show.

Afterwards, Wye Oak came up, who I enjoyed:


I kept asking Kim the name of the band (Wye Oak), and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Was it “white oak”? “Wide oak”? Or even “why oak”? This created an ongoing joke for SXSW about bands with weird names, “huh?” Kim said in her Michael-impersionation tone, “you mean a band can just name themselves anything they want? Huh?”

Red Eyed Fly

According to Kim, Cloud Cult’s label was running the show at Red Eyed Fly Friday night, so we decided to leave The Parish check out what else the label had to offer.

Land of Talk

Tragically, I have no memory of Land of Talk. Kim says, “I thought they were really good.” Over a late breakfast later, she emphasized “they were good.”

Say Hi

Say Hi

Next up was more, though slightly less so, cute-guy rock with Say Hi. They were, essentially, a straight up indie-rock band, which was exciting.

I liked their song, “Northwestern Girls,” ’cause, really, when have you ever heard a band sing praised to the ladies from that part of the country?

Cloud Cult (Again)


While Kim was reluctant to see Cloud Cult twice – there being so many other options – we ended up staying to see them again. Kim was worried that they’d play the same set. Lucky for us, while Cloud Cult played some of the same “new stuff,” they played different songs as well.

This time, dude painted a ram. Too much Shiner?



The last act was Lucero which was like – I don’t know – straight up guy in white-shirt drinking whiskey on state rock. You know, like an evil Bruce Springsteen.

As Kim said, Lucero was the only band to bring together the frat-boys and the Austin street grunge-people. And, man, did they like it. The crowd was wild for this stuff.

We headed home about half-way through.

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