SXSW 2010: White Denim, The Besnard Lakes, Washed Out @ The Mohawk-3-17-10
Disparate bills, like the one camping out at the Mohawk Wednesday afternoon, are par for the course for South By Southwest–and that’s precisely what makes this festival so exciting. A packed, sweaty crowd gleefully took in Washed Out. As the name implies, Washed Out normally makes lo-fi, sunburnt electronic music that’s as dreamy as it is danceable. But with the help of Small Black as a live backing band, Washed Out was taken completely out of the bedroom and pushed onto the dance floor, the usual haziness replaced by an infectious energy.
The Besnard Lakes’ wall-of-sound was daunting at first, but their crystalline three-part harmonies sweetened the din. Songs like “Albatross” (from their brand new release The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night) used melody and dynamics to soften the edges (and the My Bloody Valentine comparisons); lead singer Jace Lasek matched the guitars with his soaring, expressive voice.
Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell enthusiastically introduced soon-to-be hometown-heroes White Denim to the rapt crowd, and the power trio used every genre and skill at their disposal–punk, funk, jazz, and soul–to get the Mohawk moving. While their songs tended to meander, White Denim couldn’t be faulted for their jaw-dropping instrumental chops. It’s good to have them on the home team.