Japancakes: Thirty Three Degrees In-store, Thursday, Mar 16
Thirty Three Degrees In-store, Thursday, Mar 16 One of South by Southwest's open secrets is that between a myriad of in-store performances, barbecues, private parties, and showcases, music hounds can see music almost 24 hours a day. The day after playing their official slot at Emo's on the conference's first night, Japancakes joined Dressy Bessy for an in-store performance at venerable record haven Thirty Three Degrees. The former pharmacy turned small-but-mighty independent record store was an ideal setting for such an intimate performance: a small but adequate sound system, raised stage, free beer, and a gaggle of interested musicheads. Japancakes, an Athens, Georgia, septet of bass, slide guitar, drums, two electric guitars, keyboard, and cello opened with "Vocode-Inn," a two-chord willie that added layer upon layer of instrumental sounds. Like most of the group's original and melodic mini-symphonies, found on their recent Kindercore album If I Could See Dallas, the song was not quite as polished or interesting as a tune by contemporary instrumental masters Tortoise, but it did reach a pleasant flowing group crescendo. It got a good response from the half-packed house, a healthy mix of locals and conference attendees, with Pavement, Hyde Park preschool, and Hellacopters T-shirts in attendance. Their short set's closer was a more upbeat rocker, one that even got the rather subdued but nice woman at the free beer table nodding her head to the beat. Being a young band, and an instrumental one at that, the group seemed rather microphone shy, saying only "we're Japancakes" at the very end of their afternoon set. Overall, at worse their songs gravitated toward meandering group jams. At best they came on like Angelo Badalamenti conducting a slide guitar version of the Dirty Three on a sunny afternoon. Very cinematic. And that's a good description for the music of Japancakes: songs for a film yet to be shot.
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