Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday at SXSW: Norah Jones, Best Coast, and Mind Spiders (March 17)
A mellow set opened the night and a rambunctious set sent us to bed.
We're sad to say that the last day of the week long festival has already come and gone, leaving us with only sore feet, ringing ears, and enough free swag to last a lifetime. The Saturday lineup included heavy hitters and exquisite smaller acts.
The SXSW trend of sold-out crowds and winding lines continued for Dallas native Norah Jones on Saturday night at the substantially sized La Zona Rosa. Jones' first album in 2 ½ years, entitled Little Broken Hearts, comes out on May 1 and was produced by the famous and highly sought after producer/artist Danger Mouse. Jones announced that they would only be performing the new record for the evening, giving the crowd an exclusive never-before-heard set list. The album leans towards a rock background, instead of the jazzy approach Jones has employed in past years with a heavy reliance on the electric guitar and keyboard effects. It was nice to see Jones in such an intimate setting; with a soft smile and that adorable girl-next-door vulnerability, she eased a crowd of adoring fans.
We were lucky enough to see California based Best Coast twice in one week, in drastically different settings and with two dance parties. Lead singer Bethany Consentino seemed more at home with the Austin crowd than in Denton, as she shared short back-stories to her new tracks and chugged her “white whiskey” to crowd chants as if it were a college party. The lo-fi rockers played a new song off the upcoming record titled "Mean Girls," which was a fun and bouncy track that Consentino said was about Lindsay Lohan. Girls in the crowd sang along while the boys bobbed their heads, seemingly trying to relate to Best Coast's signature whiny break-up tracks.
There couldn’t have been a better crowd at the Valhalla bar during the Mind Spiders' set. Bikers and women in black filled the bar, setting a perfect scene for the Denton punk rockers. The band is comprised of members from a score of other Dallas-Fort Worth bands including Bad Sports, Video, and Marked Men – and it shows! Their crunchy, swift kicking rock kept the pace at an unforgiving level with raw energy and speaker-busting volume. While they usually have two drummers battling it out in the background, Gregory Rutherford had to skip out after his prior performance with Bad Sports due to an untimely sickness. The predominantly male crowd kept up with the sweaty pace, causing SXSW security to set up shop in the front row to avoid violent moshers from taking over.