News: 3/22/2011  

SXSW : Heavy Hawaii, Writer, TV Girl, Lesands

San Diego was dominating the daytime roster at an eastside club called Cheer Up Charlie’s on Sautrday. It was a hot and dusty Austin afternoon and the streets were packed with people milling in and out of the dozen or so unofficial showcases happening around a few crowded blocks of the eastside neighborhood. Beer trucks crawled through the streets fighting crowds and wheeling in pallets of beer on hand trucks by midday trying desperately to restock supplies wiped out by growing crowds. On alternating stages at Cheer Up Charlie’s we had back to back to back San Diego cameos from Heavy Hawaii, Writer and TV Girl before headliners Diamond Rings and Austra took the stage later on.

Heavy Hawaii was first up with their lo-fi surf pop stylings. Their songs came across well in this fuller sounding live setup, and they had heads bopping in no time. Frontman Matt Barajas (formerly of SD’s Fantastic Magic) carried the tunes like “Teen Angel” with typical charisma and colorful hat/shirt combos.

Brothers Andy and Jayme Ralph took the stage next as the duo Writer. Their lo-fi rock sound always gets it’s fullest expression at live shows and Andy didn’t hold back with a crushing rendition of Miss Mermaid from their new EP of the same name (released March 10th). They ended their set with a down key acapella version of Barefoot Art, with only a tambourine to keep time.

TV Girl followed with a short set including tracks from their debut EP “If You Want It” and “I Don’t Care”. Some dude who looked like the effeminate, blonde, ponytail-sporting brother of Andy Samberg in a tanktop got down wildly to every beat of the set with apt encouragement from frontman Trung and other bandmates. They also dropped in a new song called “Sarah” for good measure, which they dedicated to a dude in the crowd who identified himself as Sarah for the occasion. 

Later that evening I caught San Diego dance-pop trio, Lesands, opening a stacked showcase for Bikini, Sun Airway, and Mount Kimbie. When Lesands opened the night with a pulsing version of Pretenders few people knew who they were, and unfortunately when they finished playing that night, the crowd loved them, but few people still knew who they were. One of the quirks of these unofficial parties is that bands who are playing official showcases, like Lesands, aren’t supposed to play nighttime unofficial showcases. So as a result bands at these shows were advised not to introduce themselves. Throughout the show, as Lesands was putting on one of the best shows of their young career, people kept yelling out “What’s your name!?” The movement in the crowd and the eager applause for this young band was proof enough though that they won’t need to be introducing themselves for long.

All photos and words by Andy Martin, view more here.

Tags: Writer, Austin, Texas, SXSW, Andy Martin, Lesands, TV Girl, Heavy Hawaii

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