Two days had gone by since we last visited the SXSW Overflow Fest at Super Happy Fun Land, and the number of people in attendance seemed to have quadrupled. Tuesday night, the bands had much better luck than those who performed on Sunday and, for some of them, it was neither their first trip to Houston nor SHFL. The Extraordinaires, a progressive, narrative band from Philly, played an energetic set and still had the liveliness afterward to show us their merch. The band's lead singer, Jay Purdy, a Seth Rogan-looking rock star, told us the band has booked three shows at South by; one today at noon, another tonight at 7 p.m. and a third on Thursday. When we talked to them, the band was debating whether to get a hotel in Houston and wake up early or hit the road right then and there. As East of the Wall took the stage, the members stumbled to find their instruments - guess why. The band mentioned its new single "Googly Eyes" at least 20 times and, although we assume they had more than their fair share of free beers, they still managed to put on quite a performance. One minute, they sounded like Slipknot; the next, their musical interludes were more akin to Explosions in the Sky.
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They reminded us of System of a Down's later albums, not so much because of a similarity in sound, but more because they seem like an able, young bunch unsure of which direction to go. They have a lot of talent and use it to aggressively shred strings and beat drums. We wouldn't be surprised if the singer gets polyps sometime soon, either. And yes, that's a compliment. While his voice may have just been raw, which would be understandable given the band's musical style, East of the Wall should stick to screamo or tune down some of its softer songs. The poor boy was straining to hit some of the notes, and he never came too close. What seemed like a lot of fans in the seats turned out primarily to be other performers. As each band finished its set, various members of the crowd would get up, walk outside, grab some gear and hit the stage. Bands watching bands!
While we're sure the support was appreciated, we can't help but wonder how these bands are making their money. Maybe there's some sort of unspoken agreement between independent artists, in which they promise to buy each others' albums and tour together. Please tell us there's more to the underground music scene than that. Please? Resurrect, a Jurrasic 5 variety of hip-hop meets rock, blended together with ska and grungy '90s guitar solos, kept us and the audience moving. This is what music is about, we thought to ourselves as we tapped our feet. Just looking at the band members, it was obvious they were an eclectic bunch. Resurrect called itself a funk-rock hip-hop group. Their fellow Philadelphians in the Extraordinaires showed them some brotherly love and proceeded to dance, cheer and groove to the funky beats right in front of the stage. We've heard a lot of youngsters around town whining about being stuck in H-Town this week, but we didn't see any of those faces at the Overflow. So here's an idea, kiddos: rather than sitting around complaining, be proactive and get to SHFL. A lot of these bands are playing South by. And independent artists, please take note: tell us your band's name when you're onstage. If you don't, we're not going to ask after. This is your final warning. Not really, but it would really help us if you said it onstage at least once. Thanks. A little after midnight, we got in our car to make the drive home. We listened to Wilco's "Heavy Metal Drummer" as we drove down Scott St. toward I-45 with giant smiles on our faces. We had a good time, and really want to know why more of you aren't showing up for this event.