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Spoon, Broken Bells rock day one of SXSW


Spoon, Broken Bells, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and Band Of Skulls kicked off the first official day of the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas yesterday (March 17).

Spoon packed Stubb’s Bar-B-Que — one of the largest SXSW venues — for their midnight set. Britt Daniel and co performed several tracks from their most recent album, ‘Transference’, kicking off with ‘Written In Reverse’. The Austin-based band appeared in high spirits and delivered an energetic set, warming up an otherwise chilly evening.

Broken Bells — composed of Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) and The Shins’ frontman James Mercer — preceded Spoon at the NPR showcase. The duo were augmented to a seven-piece and performed the majority of tracks from their recent self-titled debut album. Danger Mouse switched between drums, guitar and keyboards throughout the set.

“What is it, Valentine’s Day?” Mercer quipped, surveying the crowd filled with people wearing green. “Oh, green is for St Patrick’s Day. Drink until you pee green.”

Earlier in the evening, Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings got the crowd dancing with their crowd-pleasing old-school funk. The irrepressible frontwoman got some of the loudest cheers of the evening, shimmying across the stage in a green sequined dress and putting her band through the paces, who are also known for their work with Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse. The band previewed a handful of new tracks from their forthcoming album, ‘I Learned The Hard Way’, which is due out in the US April 6.

As usual, the day was filled with shows, parties and receptions put on by everyone from the British Embassy to the mayor of Austin and featuring a host of bands including Band Of Skulls, Toro Y Moi, Hesta Prynn and The Acrylics. Band Of Skulls delivered a raucous performance at the British Embassy reception, offering up their unique brand of blues rock tracks from their debut album, ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’. “We’ve broken about four amps in the past two days,” said bassist/vocalist Emma Richardson. “I’m not gonna apologize for breaking things,” responded guitarist/singer Russell Marsden.

Earlier in the day, Toro Y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick) packed the house at the Mohawk in the heat of the afternoon, delivering his dreamy brand of synth pop armed with only a laptop and a microphone.

The day kicked off with a noontime set by Brooklyn band The Acrylics at the Austin Convention Center. Despite the early hour, the quintet expertly delivered their ethereal indie folk rock while swigging beer. The band performed tracks from their recent EP ‘All The Fire’, produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear. Good times indeed..