With two days down in Speak Into My Good Eye’s first ever trek to SXSW, the third began rather inauspiciously as The Warner Sound showcase featuring The Flaming Lips, Alt-J, and more became a madhouse in spite of how early you got there. So with a sigh and a heavy heart, Plan B was enacted with a short walk over to the wonderful acoustics of the Austin Music Hall; and what a second option it was.
Arriving mid-way through the evening’s roster of sets, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan natives The Sheepdogs brought some down home warmth to the filling mini-arena. The band’s southern roots-rock sound jived well with their location as hoots and hollers accompanied every honky tonk guitar approach and Ewan Currie’s flawless, deep vocal.
Then it was time for the crazy funk dance party that came when Fitz and the Tantrums hit the stage with plenty of new song in tow. Lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs brought their typical swagger and grace to the proceedings while openly espousing their Austin love all night.
“This is our third SXSW, and it’s a special place to us because it was here in Austin that we first got signed,” said Scaggs mid-set.
Fitz and the Tantrums featured a wealth of More Than Just A Dream which keeps in line with the band’s break through debut, but also made time for a crowd pleasing rendition of “Moneygrabber”.
Tasked with following those swinging stylings was Dallas Green and his City And Colour project. Keeping up the theme of excellent Canadian music, the former Alexisonfire front-man held a steady stage presence at center with a powerful, sharp delivery that had the formerly funking crowd rapt in a standstill. As Green is set to head out on a huge arena tour with Biffy Clyro, he set an early precedence for how he plans to grab attention with his melodic guitar work and dynamic, incisive lyrics.
Bolstered by a four man backing band and a big budget stage set-up, the headlining duo of Tegan and Sara made their way out for the last of their SXSW schedule. The sister act showed no sign of slowing or fatigue despite openly letting everyone know how exhausted they were with a grueling six gigs in three days schedule. With a heavy focus on Heartthrob, the band moved expertly through the pop material contained on their latest while plucking some choice favorites from a longer set-list. Highlights included “Alligator” which didn’t suffer from previously described issues, and show finisher “Closer” which is turning into a monstrous synth-rock anthem with every new live spin.
With Day 3 in the books, it was time to head back up to home base along 45th and Guadalupe for some rest and much deserved leg-icing.