It’s 1am and I’m standing in front of four grown men wearing red tracksuits and huge tinted sunglasses playing mini-guitars singing about Molly Ringwald. The four men in question are Datarock, and their set at Emo’s Annex was played with such soaring bravado it conjured a coupling of Daft Punk and Flight Of The Conchords. Between playing a mean saxophone and shaking his tambourine, one of the band members waded through the crowd, encouraging a full-on dance party. Datarock killed it on “Fa-Fa-Fa,” hoisting the microphone into the crowd so the front row could sing along.
Datarock was preceded by Little Boots – an English chick who looked like Lady Gaga crossed with Sienna Miller and sounded something like Gaga by way of Duffy. In a tight black strapless dress with a silver sequined triangle appliqué, and five-inch heels, Little Boots shouted “I’m gonna take you out tonight” to a techno beat and had everybody shaking it.
Earlier in the evening I caught an Emo’s triple-feature – Wild Light, Cut Off Your Hands, and Passion Pit.
The New Hampshire four-piece Wild Light said they were starting their set with a song called “Party,” but it wasn’t until mid-way through their set that the crowd was behind them enough to feel the party vibe. Playing a collection of relatively upbeat rock songs, the boys found their groove playing their first single “California On My Mind,” jumping up and down and clapping with the crowd.
Wild Light’s energy couldn’t touch that of New Zealanders Cut Off Your Hands who came out swinging – the lead singer banging the tambourine and jumping onto the drum set. It’s no wonder these boys are so skinny. Just as the hipster kids in the front rows started dancing, the singer dived into the crowd singing “Happy As Can Be.” Though, when landed on, the hipster kids weren’t quite that happy.
Finally, Passion Pit was met with much anticipation – bringing five keyboards onto the stage and allowing the singer’s crazy vocal squealing to pair with tight elecro rhythms. Careful not to smear the extra-thick purple hand stamp branded on my wrist by Emo’s, I snuck out the back artists’ exit (by accident) and out to search for more music.
SXSW 2009 Thursday