Aftermath assumes that the people who perpetuate the myth that SXSW is put on by and for record label so-and-sos who pay no mind to the music lovers who are just dying to keep it pure are those people who have either never been or feel slighted by the price of a badge. And the badge stuff is justified - it's a ridiculous amount of money to charge for nothing but an opportunity to get inside the door to a venue that will never get its "How should we treat these four different lines?" shit together. That's not the case at all; for the most part SXSW is now a festival for the free. Still, Wednesday night was the most confoundingly busy Aftermath has ever seen the start of the festival, and it gave me hope for the future of this beast - at the same time, though, hope gets pissed at lines. We had a plan to see at least five bands, but it turned to two (or closer to one and a half), four if you count waiting outside The Parish for close to two hours to see the Scotland Showcase while watching some dude play buckets with drumsticks in front of other dudes and their dudeish girlfriends. When we finally got inside the doors of the Parish, Frightened Rabbit had been playing for about ten minutes, but the final 50 or so were memorable for reasons almost unfathomable. Frightened Rabbit seems to be one of the most popular and beloved bands in the indie consciousness' broken-hearted ennui - something we don't think anyone could have predicted even two years ago.
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The reason why, we assume, is their achingly passionate vocal performances layered on top of some of the loudest drums that sound kind of like a mute button.They seem to speak for the twentysomething masses, particularly those masses who think their ex-girlfriend is a total bitch, but a total bitch that makes you want to tap a toe. Earlier, we were able to catch Basia Bulat at Emo's Jr.; and her real name is actually Basia, a name too beautiful to not have a voice that matches it. Aftermath can't thnk of someone with vocal ability powerful enough to drown on almost an entire block of music apathy (that block being the block seeing Spoon just up the road), and make them at least peek in and most likely think shit, where are the songs about cameras and Texas self-indulgence? Why isn't this girl at Stubb's? Basia Bulat's bout to get huge.