Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Black and White Years at Austin Chronicle Film Bash

Monday night was the first night of SXSW 2009. I was at The Austin Chronicle Film Bash at La Zona Rosa to finally check out The Black and White Years. Being that they are from Austin, I sort of took it for granted by not catching a show from them yet. After learning that they are the opening act for the big SXSW show with Devo, I figured I’d better check them out before they stopped being “local”.

The Black and White Years played two sets that night and were the only feature band. This was my first SXSW film anything as I am a music guy. I could care less about most film fest films with the exception of foreign films. I also expected free cigarettes (not that I smoke) because American Spirit was a sponsor. I was planning to give those to a couple of friends. Oh well, no big deal. Like I said, I was there for the music.

As I arrived at La Zona Rosa, The Black and White Years had just started their set with their song called A Wetter Sea. I wasn’t into it. They have better songs and I honestly thought they should have opened with a more up tempo track. It wasn’t until about 4 or five songs later when they played Dragons and then a really cool Tejas song that I started enjoying myself. It was then that I noticed that they are better live than on CD. Their live energy was great Monday, probably more so than usual due to it being their first SXSW 2009 show.

Not long after their first set, they came back with Life Debt. Their second set was better than their first, as the second set included their radio hit Power to Change and my personal favorite from them, Zeroes and Ones. After the second set, I started hearing from the crowd “Devo Jr” references and the words “new wave” being tossed around. That’s about right, just throw in the word “indie” in there and that’s The Black and White Years.

Austin Magazine called them one of the nine Austin bands to “watch for”. I think it is because of the buzz and press they are getting, because there are better bands of many genres here. However, they are ready certainly ready for national hipster stardom and will win over the Paste Magazine crowd.

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