Hit the ground running this time, with two bands under our belts before we could even check into our rooms. (Thanks Radisson!)
In order we saw...
The Clutters (C): Memphis band, average energy, average originals, average grade, paled in comparison to the next band.
The Woggles (A): The legendary Georgia band always brings the goods. You can see the videos. Classic garage rock delivered with high energy and charisma. They set the bar high for the rest of the week!
Yuck (B): This London band exists somewhere between Dinosaur Jr and shoegaze. I'm calling it buzzgaze. Strong set with a weak last song that docked them half a letter grade.
James Blake (B-): I *get* James Blake. Seriously. This is music that's built for remixing. When it works, it can be cathartic and revelatory. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me as much as it did for rest of the crowd. On this night, IMHO, hype won out over performance.
Smith Westerns (A-): On the other hand, about a third of the buzz-chasing scenesters bailed out after the Blake set. Too bad. This Chicago four-piece delivered melodic indie rock to mostly lukewarm response.
Raphael Saadiq (B): Professional. Good energy. A bit stock. Saadiq's trying to rough up his music a little. Not sure it fits him as well and this performance wasn't quite as sharp as last year's Austin Music Hall set.
Duran Duran (B+): Although they might not be as pretty as they were in the 80's, Simon LeBon's still a very charismatic presence. When they ripped through "Hungry Like The Wolf", it was 1982 again.
All in all, a strong first day. Other than that, I'm tired already of hearing service and hotel workers use SXSW as an excuse for shitty service. Really? Like this doesn't happen every year?
Oh, and I'd give an A+ to the sweet potato bread pudding I had from a street vendor on Red River... :)