Wednesday night highlights from SXSW Music Festival included a post punk band from Berlin, a new all-star band featuring Jason Lytle, and a great-sounding set from Oklahoma City’s finest. Here’s what we saw and loved.
Cherry Glazerr - Elysium
Nobody I saw Wednesday was as much fun as L.A. trio Cherry Glazerr. Logistics, traffic, short soundchecks and lack of sleep can take the better edge off any festival performers, but Cherry Glazerr seemed to have it all in stride, playing a tight, hooky set at the Elysium at midnight, with a tongue in cheek attitude apparent from the start. Two boisterous songs into their set, baby-faced frontwoman Clementine Creevy addressed the packed room, “Hello assholes. Just kidding. We’re glad to be here.” - David Christensen
Horse Thief – Easy Tiger
One of the big downsides to a festival built on music discovery is the large number of under-invested concertgoers. At any given SXSW performance, there’s a fairly large number of looky-loos who are prone to talking and texting. Horse Thief didn’t have that problem on Wednesday night. Although the crowd was small, they were captivated by the band’s punchy songs, twin guitar attack, and twinkly keyboard arrangements. Without a doubt, this was the best sounding performance I’ve heard this week. That says a lot about the Oklahoma City rock band’s quality because festival soundchecks come fast and furious. - Jerad Walker
Gurr - Esther’s Follies
Post punk band Gurr took the stage around one a.m. Wednesday night. The Berlin rockers told the audience they weren’t accustomed to the warm, sunny weather in Austin – citing a sunburn from the previous day. Nonetheless, they performed an energetic set of upbeat songs reminiscent of 90’s girl bands. - Mike Baden
BNQT - Easy Tiger
BNQT [pronounced “banquet”] is a band you may not have heard of (yet), but the members are immediately recognizable. Along with the members of Midlake, BNQT consists of Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Alex Kapronos (Franz Ferdinand), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), and Fran Healy (Travis). Their first-ever show happened Wednesday night at SXSW at Easy Tiger for the 20th Anniversary of Bella Union, and it was an impressive showing. Lytle and Healy (along with Midlake) were the only members of the group able to make it to the festival, but they were quick to acknowledge their other members along the way. They began with their single, “Restart,” and then launched into a mix of originals and covers during their 8-song set. The songs led by Lytle or Healy tended to be recognizable as possibly Grandaddy or Travis songs, but Midlake as the backing band gave them a slightly different feeling. Melody and structure are clearly the foundation of this group, and their debut (Volume 1, out April 28th) should be as captivating as any of the members’ individual projects. - Matthew Casebeer
See our slideshow of photos from SXSW.