Aftermath is quite the fan of tromping across the whole of downtown Austin, moving from one day party to the next. The point of those events is to provide people with an unending stream of options so as to gain a fairly decent glimpse of what's happening in current music. With nighttime parties, the focus shifts from being a messy, unbridled collection of 30-minute performances run amuck to a smoother, sleeker, more traditional show designed to give bands (and requisite promotion companies) a greater opportunity to connect with the audience.
Such was the case on Friday night, as we took up residence at Rusty Spurs for the evening so that we could partake of the music of Bird Of Youth, A Shoreline Dream, Pirate Love, Codeine Velvet Club, Hurricane Bells and Minus The Bear. We appreciated how each act seemed unhurried by the idea of time constraints, which permitted them to broaden the horizons of their set. Even the promise of an extra ten to 15 minutes can make such a difference in a band's mentality.
We came away from the evening most impressed by the music of Pirate Love and Codeine Velvet Club. The former is a propulsive art-punk quintet from Oslo, Norway, complete with angular indie-rock riffs and a Kinks-ish proto-punk feel that was raw, abrasive, loud, and sweaty. The latter is the new group formed by Jon Lawler (of The Fratellis) and Glaswegian singer/songwriter Lou Hickey, one that basks in the glow of big rock hooks, '50s and '60s guy/girl pop harmonies, and the swing of big-band horn arrangements.
By and large, the bouncy, mathy, almost jam-band stylings of Minus The Bear drew the largest crowd of the night, one that brought the staff of Rusty Spurs and assorted SXSW staffers out in droves to maintain capacity limits. And while we weren't all that impressed with the country-tinged rock of Bird Of Youth or the milquetoast, wannabe Swell Season sounds of Hurricane Bells, we're sure that our younger brothers would quickly fall in love with the Muse-ish, psychedelic, prog-lite being crafted by the technically proficient quartet that is A Shoreline Dream.
With that, another day of SXSW 2010 drew to a close - though we didn't like everything that we saw (and we probably never will), that didn't stop us from having a good time with good music and good booze.
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