SXSW Saturday highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Saturday's real highlight is getting a thread of its own, but it would be foolhardy not to mention the scattered solid shows I saw during the rest of the day. Here were three great sets I saw before Kanye and his crew dropped a bomb on me.

(1) Girls: Just like Women, who I saw on Friday, there are no females in this band, nor do the members seem androgynous in any way. (What's with that trend? And what options remain for hopping on this bandwagon? Ladies? Bitches? Shorties?) Also like Women, Girls aren't doing anything original, but they do it well. In this case, it's Big Star-flavored power pop with touches of Elvis Costello and Lemonheads. The two scraggly-haired guitar dudes look straight out of some 1993 MTV special, and the music is as catchy as any of the alt-rock hits that were coming out back in those days. Seriously, this band is like a time capsule, but I was definitely digging it. The one downside: Their graying bass player, who looks quite out of place between those mighty blonde manes, plays way too many notes. (Note: I couldn't stop singing Animal Collective's "My Girls" to myself in between songs. "...for muh girls! Woo!")

(2) Eat Skull: I saw Eat Skull at last year's Siltbreeze showcase, and I listened to their LP Sick to Death, but my appreciation for the band's vicious-but-melodic punk tunes never blossomed into full-blown enjoyment until Saturday. Despite the record's lo-fi sound, Eat Skull's music is so melodically infused that I'm not sure you can catch just how angry it is until you see Rob Enbom sneer his way through a set. The funny thing is as soon as he puts down the guitar, the dude exudes the most friendly demeanor. It's some serious Jekyll/Hyde action.

(3) RTFO Bandwagon: I'm writing at length on this band for this week's paper, but suffice it to say their shambolic shuffles and the majestic balladry of "Like a Dan Shearer Over Troubled Water" made me very happy this band plays in my hometown.