Adding to the “I’m missing everything” feeling provided by the fact that during SXSW every bar with 10 square feet of space turns itself into a temporary music venue is the ever-growing number of day parties, which are hosted by PR companies, blogs, hair products, and anyone else who wants to promote themselves along with the music they love. We gave a schedule to former Austin resident Andy Beta and let him go to town, and his first dispatch–from Gorilla Vs. Bear’s imaginatively named Gorilla Vs. Booze party–follows.
Returning to the east side of Austin each year always shocks me. At an alarming pace, black and Hispanic neighborhoods get elbowed further away from the highway, seedy turns to trendy. While I still see the bar where I had my car window smashed in some ten years ago (during a William Parker-Matthew Shipp performance, no less), other side streets are already filling up with boutiques and Web design studios.
Not sure what the Peacock Lounge’s clientele used to be like, but today the space within these white-trimmed turquoise walls is the site of Gorilla Vs. Bear’s Gorilla Vs. Booze party. The line wraps around the block, meaning I miss both White Williams and White Denim, as well as seeming Ghostland Observatory tribute band Ghosthustler. The room is packed as Highland Park’s Bodies of Water set up to the strains of “Lip Gloss.” Bodies of Water have an anthemic opener, with the most impassioned, multi-part harmonies since The Mae Shi (who I’d seen earlier in the afternoon). Their simple boy-girl harmonies sit atop some rather proggy pop, their set consisting of four looong songs replete with organ intros, two drummers, and even a guitar solo or two.
In between bands, the ice cream man shows up. Or rather, a man handing out free Bomb Pops and stickers for IceCreamMan.com in a Yaris painted with Dreamsicles shows up. It’s as delicious as the set by Holy Fuck, who must be Rachael Ray’s new fave band too. Shouts get run through two tables’ worth of guitar pedals and shitty pawn shop sampling keyboards as the drums and bass push through a scabby, rambunctious bit of…o h Christ, am I really going to call it rave-punk? There’s also dubbed-out melodica, keyboard lines worthy of Orbital, some speedy Krautrock, a din that only sounds confusing in words–in the flesh it’s simply spastic, ecstatic dance music through and through. (Well, at least beyond the three rows of photographers squeezed in too tightly upfront to do the cool kids dance.)