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SXSW Saturday Afternoon Wrap 03/19/11: Theophilus London, Scars on 45, The Republic Tigers, Joy Formidable, Oberhofer, Little Dragon, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

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Theophilus London @ Mohawk

Theophilus London packed the downstairs room of the Mohawk as part of the Mog/Lexus Party. Theo did an A+ job at engaging not only a kinetic swath of fans but a room, perhaps not so familiar with his music. “Flying Overseas”, “Why Even Try”, “Strange Love”, all the best examples of his unique Electro Hip Hop, hyped the crowd. His brief 30 minute set flew by, with multiple instances of girls-in-attendance brought on stage, numerous hilarious back-and-forths with the audience, and a few indie celeb-in-the-crowd shouts (TVOTR’s Dave Sitek, for one).

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Theophilus London – Oops! (Tweet Cover)

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Scars on 45 @ Brush Street Park

On our way to catch The Republic Tigers and Joy Formidable at the Chop Shop/Atlantic day showcase we caught the tail end of Scars on 45′s set. On point as they were with their set at Hotel Cafe in LA a month or so earlier, the band played with a hunger and energy that caught me off guard. We were into it. And it seemed that energy set the tone for the following two acts.

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Scars on 45 – Loudest Alarm

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The Republic Tigers @ Brush Street Park

Having caught The Republic Tigers last with Travis at the Wiltern in LA, we were impressed with their presence. A much more comfortable and confident band than remembered. Previewing material from their forthcoming “No Land’s Man” EP, we believed their songs and style of up-tempo and listener-friendly indie rock and roll. A few songs had a unmistakable Chop Shop tint to them, primed for mainstream TV.

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The Republic Tigers – Buildings and Mountains

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Joy Formidable @ Brush Street Park

Joy Formidable were one of the most talked about bands of SXSW. Again it proves what a great live show, star quality and some serious work can do for a band. The UK based, female fronted trio, plays with a profound intensity and passion. Their sound has an aggressive character to it, as one would expect from any rock trio, but when complimented with Ritzy Bryan’s vocals and a slick performance quality both confident and intense, the band is a force to be reckoned with. Pending hit songs, these guys have, dare we say, Muse-type potential. (Oh we just did.)

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Joy Formidable – I Don’t Want to See You Like This

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Oberhofer @ Virgin Mobile Live House

Virgin Mobile Live Host Abbey Braden was rightfully psyched to watch Oberhofer rock a bass and glock during their exclusive acoustic VML House session during SXSW. Their sound is fresh and evolving with a clear direction. Hear the session here.

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Oberhofer – Away From You

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Little Dragon @ Cedar Street Courtyard

Yukimi’s dances moves are adorable. Well, they’re less like moves and more like poses. Stop motion. Hold the frame. Hit all the angles. Make the next pose. Yukimi’s moves were adorable. The band’s performance was really not. The band seemed tired, bored, disinterested. The venue (Cedar Street Courtyard) was wrong. It’s outdoor stage doesn’t work for a band so dependent on atmosphere. Yukimi’s voice got lost. Much of the cool ambient synth work that make the band’s songs got lost too. Machine Dreams highlights like “Blinking Pigs” and “Feather” both never really worked. The crowd, too, seemed, at times, disinterested. The band did run through a new song or two. Showing off a sound that seemed to be more spread out, more engaged in space. Almost a more deep electro kind of sound. The songs centered on repetition of a few simple rhythmic figures with Yukimi’s vocal acting more as a frame to the rhythm than as the carrier of a tune. The new songs seemed to work better for the band in the outdoor setting. The band also seemed more interested. Little Dragon’s Cedar Street performance was not the worst thing we saw at SXSW but it certainly was a disappointment. We still you guys though! And the next gig in Boston or LA, we’ll still be there! We got you!

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Little Dragon – Twice (Freddie Joachim Remix)

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Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger @ Elysium

Ghost of a Saber Tooth tiger unfortunately lived up to expectations. I hoped that we would experience glimpses of Sean’s 2006 solo record, Friendly Fire, but instead we got a heavy dosage of maybe the Lennon family’s worst enemy… love. Kemp Muhl just doesn’t hold ground with a Lennon. Really, how many do?

Granted Sean said that the extra stage musician had one day to learn the entire set… it became increasingly clear that that may have been true for the entire band. Just Sean and his guitar would have sufficed. But then again, we wouldn’t be stretching the truth to say that we’d hoped to catch maybe a glimpse of Yoko Ono (also performing on that night’s bill) on stage with her son. In any event, the crowd was treated to large doses of Lennon wit. Sean got jokes. That’s genuine wit, folks, in the blood.

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The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – Jardin du Luxembourg

Catch all of b3sci’s SXSW 2011 coverage HERE

Photography contributed by Genevieve Sheehan

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