Day two was a marathon day, started in the early afternoon with a short set by The Hood Internet at an outdoors venue. That was followed with a MySpace Latino party with (among several others) Ceci Bastida and Monte Negro. I got there just in time to check out Monte Negro’s last 3 songs, and those guys have plenty of style. I think that both their image and their music are primed to go mainstream very soon. Keep an eye on them!
Next was the Salvador Santana band. Their music reminded me of early Ozomatli, with very energetic and tropical beats. Then came the highlight of the event: Ceci Bastida finally grabbed the microphone and she got a great response from the relatively small crowd of 40 or 50 people.
After her set, we had the chance to talk and she gave us a heads-up about her LP: “the album is almost ready, we’re working on it at the moment with (producer) David Garza.” Ceci is very excited about being in SXSW and she’s one of the most sought-after performers. She also played the NACO showcase later on and she will play the Batanga party on Saturday.
I left the MySpace party to go to the Brooklyn Vegan party, to check out Phosphorescent and Holy Fuck, and I was not impressed with either one of them. After that, I headed to the Levi’s party, but turns out you have to register online before you’re even considered worthy to get it. First disappointment of the day–I really wanted to see Yo La Tengo.
Next stop: Emo’s for a very indie party with Tapes N Tapes, Los Campesinos and the Stills. Only managed to catch a short set from Los Campesinos, I wanted to stay for Tapes, but they were coming on stage at midnight. I had somewhere else to be then.
…and that somewhere else was the NACO showcase, which was supposed to have Bam Bam, Elis Paprika, Ceci Bastida, Chikita Violenta, and La Mala Rodriguez. The cover was $15! The most expensive cover I’ve had to pay so far. So I get in, with high expectations for Elis Paprika, but to my disappointment and misfortune, she wasn’t there after all. I asked a crew member if she knew what had happened and she said that they had visa problems and they were not going to make it to any of her SXSW events.
Bam Bam took the stage and they quickly made me forget the expensive cover with their upbeat music. You could tell these kids were there to show you that there’s a lot more to the Mexican indie scene than what’s mentioned on MTV. They were followed by Descartes a Kant, and I tried to listen to their songs once again, but I ended up having a conversation with Bam Bam instead. Then Lucy and the Popsonics came onstage to blow everyone away and showed that to rock out, all you need is a drum machine named Lucy, a guitar and a bass. These two are fantastic, I really enjoyed their set. Best I’ve seen all day.
Ceci Bastida was about to go onstage and since I had already seen her earlier, I left the venue to check out Heartsrevolution and the Toxic Avenger. I did manage to get in, caught about 20 minutes of Hearts’ and stayed for 10 minutes of the Toxic Avenger. The place was crowded and very hot, so I went back to Flamingo’s cantina for Chikita Violenta and La Mala. It took me 5 minutes to get back in it because there was already a line of people waiting.
Once inside, it was Chikita Violenta’s turn. Their music is different; very influenced by Pavement and Radiohead, La Chiki gives their sound its own personality and presence. I really liked their set; I have their album and I must say that it sounds a lot better live. I talked to them before their set and they said that “playing at SXSW is something we were not expecting, the invitation came and we said yes right away. It is our first time playing outside of Mexico and I’m glad that there are people that came to see us, despite all the options out there.”
La Mala took her sweet time to get to the stage, but once she got there, it was all about her. All you could see in the crowd was people jumping to her songs and really feeling her music. She played a tight set–she barely let one song end when she started on the next. It felt rushed, but the crowd didn’t mind, they were having a great time on the last show of the night and La Mala delivered.