SXSW Thursday Dispatch: Bajofondo, Molotov, Third Root, and more

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SXSW – Thursday Dispatch
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Bajofondo's Javier Casalla (left) and Martín Ferrés at Auditorium Shores. (Photo by Jaime Monzón) The theme of the day was eclecticism, with my goal being to jump between indie buzz bands, Latin rock, and throwback soul. Here’s how it played out: Pitchfork Day Party – 1100 Warehouse, Noon-6pm Pitchfork took over the huge 1100 Warehouse’s two stages to feature an impressive roster of some of the site’s most hyped bands. Here’s a quick breakdown of my class favorites from among the showcase’s 12 acts: Best all around: Parquet Courts Class clown: Mac DeMarco Most likely to succeed: Youth Lagoon Most likely to be playing through a wicked hangover: Waxahachee Most likely to sponsor a line of American Apparel V-necks: Toro y Moi Most likely to own the Ninja Turtles trilogy on VHS: Mikal Cronin Most likely to soundtrack the next Miami Vice reboot: Delorean/Merchandise (tie) Most likely to get beaten up in a biker bar: Foxygen Bajofondo – Auditorium Shores, 6pm It’s not easy to get a crowd going with straight instrumental music, especially a massive one nursing $9 domestics to get through a particularly toasty afternoon. It also might have taken them (well, maybe just me) a minute to figure out what to make of Argentina/Uruguay’s Latin Grammy-winning Bajofondo, from their unusual instrumentation to their constant variance of styles. But the Auditorium Shores crowd eventually did come around, the trigger being a particularly wicked — and probably SXSW’s only — violin (Javier Casalla) vs. bandoneón (the accordion-like tango instrument played by Martín Ferres) duel. From there the band racketed up their impressive instrumental interplay, the eight-piece seeming to relish the chance to tear into material from their new album, Presente. The abbreviated set left them little time to kick into their second act, during which pianist Luciano Supervielle rapped in French during "Miles de pasajeros," from his 2005 Supervielle solo album (bassist Gabriel Casacuberta handed off his upright to a roadie so he could rap in Spanish for the song). No telling what Bajofondo could have done with another 30 minutes, but I’ll be planning to catch them the next time they roll through town to find out. Molotov – Auditorium Shores, 7pm Full disclosure: the entirety of my knowledge of Molotov came from texts my editor Enrique sent me throughout the show. So while I now know that the Mexico City band is one of that country’s most popular and controversial acts, selling a million copies of their largely banned debut (1997's ¿Dónde jugarán las niñas?), I still had generally no idea what I was in for when the four-piece took to the stage. Certainly I didn’t expect a re-worked version of “Rock My Amadeus” ("Amateur") to open. The crowd ate it up though, so I rolled with them. I worked to place the sound, which I gauged at something like a Latin Rage Against the Machine with a bit more metal fixation (maybe because most of the band members looked like Slayer roadies). It was tough to say without knowing what the hell they were saying. Well, actually, that’s not completely true. While my Spanish skills are somewhere between embarrassingly small and non-existent, I at least knew my curse words. Luckily, that seemed to be about half of Molotov’s lyrics, and the crowd was right with them, chanting “Chinga tu madre” and “Puto” with mischievous delight. I still might not have known exactly what the hell was going on, but by the end, I was jumping, moshing, and screaming along with everyone else. Third Root – Vevo, 10:15pm

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Third Root at SXSW 2013 (photo by J.D. Swerzenski)

It was a small but dedicated crowd that helped greet Third Root’s debut SXSW show at the Vevo TV Control Room. With the full band in tow behind them — Jai Roots on percussion, Chicken George at the turntables, and guest saxophonist Funky Coltrane — emcees Easy Lee and MexStep hit their groove early and stayed there. The incense burned from the stage as they coasted through tracks from both Stand for Something and their latest Mind Elevation. They proudly brought plenty of SA savor, shouting out the Alamo City throughout the set and even bringing up Chisme’s Ariel to drive things home with an incendiary version of “Three Shots.”

The Daptone Super Soul Revue - Moody Theater, 8pm-1am Daptone Records pulled out all the stops for their Moody Theater Revue, flying in their full roster from up-and-comers the Como Mamas and The Menahan Street Band to bigger label names the Sugarmen 3. Charles Bradley was the breakout personality of the evening, with the 65-year old tearing into material from his new release Victim of Love and classics from his decade-deep catalog. His window-rattling howl was in fine form, as were his fresh-to death-getups (I counted three costume changes throughout the night). Of course, the night really belonged to Daptone queen bee Sharon Jones, who shimmied, shook, and generally lit up the stage in a mesmerizing hour-long set (she too apparently has a new record on the way). The true highlight might have been the temper tantrum the Budos Band’s baritone sax player Jared Tankel threw after learning they had to shorten their set to make way for the show encore. After being told they had time for just one more, he threw his beer against the back wall, wined something about being kicked off the stage, and proceeded to single-handedly hijack the show with a nearly three minute unaccompanied solo, before bringing the band back to bring their last track past the 10-min mark. It was a nice bit of drama in an otherwise carefully curated showcase. — J.D. Swerzenski

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