Thursday, March 10, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: Braids

As someone who grew up in the state of Maine I always feel a kinship for people and things from Canada. When I lived in Maine I didn't have a lot of thoughts or feelings about Canada or Canadians but after I moved 2600+ miles across the country I realized that living in Maine is like being an honorary Canadian. So, when I first heard Native Speaker by Braids I liked it but when I found out they were Canadian I loved it. Their sometimes sprawling, sometimes sparse production matched up with beautiful voices and delicate song-structures come together to form one of the most interesting records of 2011 thus far. I find it quite telling/promising that when you go to the SXSW music page you are greeted with a photo of Braids. That's partly because it's a cool-ass photo and partly because the band is effing awesome. Native Speaker is the band's debut (read: first that's not self-released) LP and in the U.S. it's on one of my favorite indie-labels, Kanine, if you haven't heard it yet, I suggest you pick it up now.

Braids - Plath Heart video via YouTube

As I glance through the listings it's looking like you'll have roughly NINE chances to catch Braids at SXSW 2011, which means they are the hardest working band I've featured thus far. At least hardest working at SXSW 2011.

They have two OFFICIAL showcases, requiring SXSW credentials. The first official showcase is happening at 11:00pm Wednesday night the 16th. The official listing is a bit confusing because it says Beauty Bar/Palm Door. The reason I find this confusing is, those are two different venues that are at least four blocks away from each other? Going by the address the showcase is happening at Palm Door not Beauty Bar.

Braids' other official SXSW showcase takes place Saturday the 19th at Club Deville. This show would be the one to attend if you are a photographer, that rock wall backdrop should add to the drama of the band's music as well as the look of the show itself.

Wednesday afternoon is your first chance to catch Braids at their first unofficial showcase, which goes down at Red 7. There are no times listed for the 4th annual Forcefield PR, Terrorbird Media party at Red 7 but the line-up is so bad-ass that you might want to spend all, or most, of your Wednesday day-light hours at this party anyway.

You can also see Braids performing later on Wednesday afternoon over at the East Side Drive-In for the Eventbrite Party. Their set time for this party is scheduled to be 4pm.

Forty minutes after this event,Braids are scheduled to perform at Cheer-Up Charlies for the Wild Honey Party. That's a 4:40p set time for those of you who suck at math. I mean these venues are, literally, across the street from each other but that should still be quite an interesting transition.

Braids hits the stage at Lovejoys by 12:45 pm Thursday for I Guess I'm Floating Fest. Lovejoys is right between the bus stop and Red River so if you're planning to spend all day hopping from party to party on Thursday, I'd suggest you start at this one.

You'll, also, have another chance to catch Braids Thursday afternoon. You're going to have to venture out of downtown and toward Urban Outfitters' location near the University of Texas on Guadalupe. The band is scheduled to play at 5pm at the annual Backlot Performances Party. Personally, I would never venture that far north for a free show, BUT if you're already in that part of town it would be a very wise decision. Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the downtown scene but still want to catch some free music it could be worth a short bus trip.

On Friday The Windish Agency's 6th annual day-party at Emo's is where you can catch Braids for free. This party is always great and features bands you'll be glad you saw. It's where I first saw the Dirty Projectors at their 4th annual event.

Friday night you can catch Braids for free on Austin's east-side over at the Longbranch Inn for the Austin Imposition party presented by Impose Magazine. The band is scheduled for a 9:30pm set-time at this event.

Braids - Lemonade video via YouTube

So there you have it, seven chances to catch Braids at SXSW 2011. To be honest, it looks like it might be harder to NOT see them perform. Keep in mind that these appearances may change, move and be generally altered so if you want to see them and miss them, that's your bad, not mine.