It being our final night in Austin, we wanted to go for broke with our evening plans. So we huddled outside The Parish and ran into David from Arts & Crafts, who took us around the service entrance to bypass the (for some reason) incredibly tight security all over the venue. We got there at 7:45, and the place was empty. But the lineup was super great, so we put down some bills, got some drinks, and enjoyed. Among the denizens: Still Life Still, Timber Timbre, and the Canadian clusterf*ck Broken Social Scene.
I have a severe soft spot for the sprightly mess known as Still Life Still and their sloppy punk sound. Their catchiness is matched only by their ballsiness (literally), singing a particularly vulgar (and REALLY infectious) tune about bodily fluids and privates (probably all the ones you are thinking about and more). I tried to get the girls in front of us to sing along.
Timber Timbre was excellent as ever, repeating their devil-infused blues (which they rocked at our showcase on the indoor stage, video forthcoming) to a larger room. Our friend the roaming troubadour Matt Davies (who drove down to Austin from Wisconsin just to busk around town) brought a gift for Taylor Kirk: a pretty authentic sound duck whistle. We spent a few minutes playing with it. For those unfamiliar, Kirk is a big fan of incorporating a bird whistle into songs, particularly one where he loops a few noises in the beginning. Davies approached Kirk early in the evening and swapped the duck whistle for a CD, and later we were all pretty happy to see him using the Duck whistle in the song. What goes around!
Zeus was fun but forgettable. See the fact that I forgot them until I saw this picture.
Jason Collett, with Zeus as his backing band, also did not fair well. Of the Broken Social Scene solo projects, his is arguably the most static and boring. Sorry AC, you crazy for this one, Jay.
Then Broken Social Scene was up to bat and Kevin Drew proved to be a little bit of a crazy person. He seemed to get drunker and more boisterous as the night wore on (the staple of the Canadian musician, see Wolf Parade). At one point he yelled at the audience for taking pictures, ranting about "the internet ruining music" which arguably contradicts BSS's use of an internet based widget to promote their new release, Forgiveness Rock Record, but who is counting? Hearing the hits was a fun affair, but we agreed that BSS records are a different beast, and difficult to tackle live. How do you EQ five guitars and make each one stand out in the sound? Hint: it is not easy. My favorite joke was the one where Kevin Drew said "we're gonna play for two and a half hours!" and then they actually did. Oh Kevin Drew. I like your music but I'm not inviting you to my next LAN party*, you might smash my keyboard all over my picture of TCP/IP protocols.** Nerds!
They played their two new songs, and I like both of them a lot. Check out this clip of BSS playing (only good quality one I could find that doesn't also highlight what a mess they were at times):
All in all, Arts & Crafts just reinforced their reputation as a label of really quality stuff from our northern neighbor. Their catalog, along with some other select labels, has given me serious hope that a "label" can still be a taste-maker as well as a investor. Plus they probably don't know how to hedge-fund, so good thing they still have taste! -joe puglisi
*Something that really used to happen in nerdcles (circles of nerds).
** I am not 100% sure what this actually is.