SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 3: Metric

Canada’s Metric kicked off the evening at Stubbs BBQ with an 8:00 set before a big crowd that reveled in the band’s power-pop prowess. The group was filling the Friday pre-semi-secret headliner slot that Silversun Pickups had occupied last year when opening for Metallica, and Metric rose to the occasion with an entertaining set that never lagged while the crowd awaited the headlining set from Muse.

Vocalist Emily Haines exuded charm and charisma while dancing around and belting out high-energy tunes like “Sick Muse” and hit single “Help I’m Alive,” which rocked the assembled with its melodic hooks and hard rocking groove. Another tune featured Haines’ teasing the chorus of The Beastie Boys’ “You’ve Got to Fight for Your Right to Party” over a big beat that had lots of sonic space. “We’re just a couple of kids from Toronto and a couple of hometown kids from Texas,” said Haines in the middle of the set. “We’re all just trying keep the dream alive, we’re all here for music… Every day I repeat this to myself and I hope that it’s true.” Haines proceeded to a sing a bit of fellow Canadian Neil Young’s “Hey hey, my my, rock ‘n’ roll will never die… rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay,” striking a chord with everyone in the crowd who felt saved by rock ‘n’ roll, which seemed like most of those in attendance. “Stadium Love” closed out the rousing set with a big arena rock sound, and it sounded like Metric are well on their way to achieving such status.



SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 3: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, again

I was so impressed with the band’s headlining set at Antone’s the previous night that I had to catch them again for this 6:00 day party set at Rusty Spurs on 7th Street. The band didn’t get to play quite as long, but they threw down another well received hour-long set before a packed house in the little bar. The new “Oasis” received the big jam treatment here, with bassist Catherine Popper once again powering the band’s jammy evolution. The mesmerizing Potter was sincerely appreciative of the positive crowd reaction throughout the set.

“There’s a lot of other places you could be right now and I hope you’re as glad as we are that you’re here and that’s what this next song is about,” said Potter in introducing a heartfelt new tune about how “all the treasures of my life are here in my hands.” The set continued to surge with Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” which built into a huge crescendo with Potter really belting it out at the end. “Medicine” soared as well, and featuring a four-way percussion jam before the band revved up for one more huge jam to close out another triumphant set. This band is quite simply en fuego and is most definitely one of the top rising acts to watch in 2010 and beyond.

grace potter 2


SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 3: Sass Jordan

After missing her the previous day, I caught up with Sass Jordan for a 5:00 set at the Canadian Blast party at Paradise on 6th Street. This was a cool little shindig with free enchiladas served up with rice and beans, and $3 drafts of Magic Hat. Jordan only had two acoustic guitarists with her as opposed to a whole band, but the rock goddess who hit it big in the early ’90s did not disappoint.

Jordan sang and moved as if she had a full band behind her, making the hard rocking “High Road Easy” a definite treat. “What I Need” from Jordan’s new album rocked as well, followed by breakthrough hit “Make You a Believer,” which rocked into a brief but tasty jam on Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” before segueing back into “Believer.” It was the type of cool musical curve ball move you might expect from Jordan and one can only hope she’s back out on tour with a full band soon.


SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 3: The Watson Twins

The Los Angeles-by-way-of Louisville twins’ Friday day party set at The Belmont focused almost entirely on their new album Talking To You, Talking To Me, which is a bit of a departure from their debut album Fire Songs. There’s less rock and a jazzier, torchier flavor. The dark-haired twins still sound fantastic together, although they harmonize less. This was apparently a conscious decision, as they note on their MySpace page how they chose to back each other instead of harmonize as much as they have in the past.

The new tunes weren’t really grabbing me for the most part in this sunny, mid-day setting, although I suspected this might be the case since I’ve had a hard time getting into the new album. Tunes like “Modern Man,” “Savin’ You” and “Devil in You” sounded pleasant enough, but didn’t really resonate on a particularly memorable level. “Midnight” opened up into a big jam led by the keyboardist however, where the Twins briefly left the stage while the band rocked out. Still, the performance felt nothing like the September 2008 set at The Fillmore in San Francisco that had blown me away. I felt that an evening headliner slot might fit the Twins better, so I still had them on my schedule for their 9:00 showcase on Saturday night.

The Watson Twins, SXSW 2010
Photo by Steve Hopson


SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 3: Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles

I hightailed it over to The Belmont on West 6th Street for a day party featuring the Watson Twins. But the party was running behind, so I was fortunate enough to hear another band that caught my ear from the moment I heard them across the street.

Sarah Borges was on stage rocking out a melodic and bluesy sound to a good crowd at the Belmont’s outdoor stage, an excellent intimate venue for such a party. Based in Boston, Borges looks a bit like comedian Sarah Silverman, but she’s got a dynamite voice. Borges does humor too though, noting that she was glad to know her bassist because he “looks like he’s holding.” Borges and the band veered from harder rocking tunes to bluesier Americana, and did both very well. She exuded a dynamic presence throughout the set that made it hard to take your eyes off her. The band closed their set with a great cover of Texan Doug Sahm’s “Walking the Streets Tonight,” with Borges projecting a charisma and talent making her one to watch going forward.

Sarah Borges, SXSW 2010
Photo by Steve Hopson


Related Posts