The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

Diversions

South By Spring Break: Day 2 Recap

Day two of SXSW started with the tail end of a set from Athens, GA band Easter Island. Next was Mac DeMarco, one of my favorites. The band said they are playing “continuously” throughout the week — averaging about three times every day. If they can pull it off (which I have all faith that they can), they’ll no doubt be the winners of SXSW. After Mac DeMarco was a few minutes of Americana act Dawes (meh) and then another favorite: Matthew E. White. The four-piece version of his band was a highly slimmed-down version of the 30-piece incarnation, but White’s songs still shone.

From the Paste show, I made the long trek up 6th Street to check out Durham band Spider Bags. They played the shortest set I’ve ever seen them do, but it was high-energy and well worth the trek. I stuck around for a few minutes afterward for Natural Child, a Southern rock band that looked like it came straight from the late 70s.

Later in the evening, I caught Twin Peaks and Calvin Love at the Hype Hotel. Twin Peaks’ garage- and punk-tinged rock was good, but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at there being no relation with the TV show, but that’s neither here nor there. Calvin Love’s synth-based rock followed — each act’s respective rough edges complemented each other nicely despite the different sounds.

Next stop was the Saddle Creek showcase at The Parrish Downstairs for Pujol and Icky Blossoms. Pujol’s quick slightly-nerdy rock tunes (there was one about Batman) made an interesting contrast with Icky Blossoms’ incredibly tight dance pop. Icky Blossoms is easily one of the best bands I’ve seen so far.

I bounced around for a while, not staying too long in any one place — but this afforded me a few minutes of Seattle’s Pickwick at the IFC Crossroads House. A tip came in that there was finally no line for Viceland, so I swung over there for a few minutes before calling it a night. The Joy Formidable was indeed formidable, but in the best way. Singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan commanded the stage, running and jumping around as she shredded on guitar.

So far it’s still fun, and the next few days will prove to be even busier. Today’s festivities should include Mount Moriah, Josh Ritter, William Tyler and more. There’s no way it won’t be awesome.

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