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SXSW: Superchunk wins again, Male Bonding wreaks havoc

dumdum.jpgSuper cool Dum Dum Girls play the French Legation Museum at SXSW. (Photo by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

By David Malitz

The French Legation Museum's Other Music Lawn Party became an overflow scene thanks to the presence of British makeout music faves the xx. Before they played it was the Dum Dum Girls, who have just about the perfect combo of look and sound. Four ladies in all black, dark sunglasses, bright red lipstick playing reverb-heavy (of course) indie-pop nuggets. They were just hitting their stride after 20 minutes and that was when the set ended.

(If Superchunk is playing and you can go see Superchunk, go see Superchunk. After the jump.)

I felt like a good Samaritan bolting before the xx hit the stage - maybe one more poor soul of the hundreds in line would be able to get in. Bigger priority was getting to the Merge Records showcase for "special guest." It's no secret I'm a bit of a mark for Merge and it wasn't much of a secret who the showcase-opening special guest would be. I tried to convince people online it would be Jeff Mangum backed by Arcade Fire covering "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" but everyone knew it was Superchunk. One rule I have is: If Superchunk is playing and you can go see Superchunk, go see Superchunk. Over a dozen shows over 15 years I've never seen a bad one and this was no exception. More than 20 years in and still nobody matches them when it comes to pogo-punk delights. Newcomers Let's Wrestle had the unenviable task of following them but pulled it off nicely thanks to some distinctly British off-kilter indie pop.

The Sub Pop showcase was crucial for two reasons: 1) A vicious set from Male Bonding, the first to totally blow out my ear drums. Couldn't have asked for a better band to do it, either. Their two-minute blasts of stop-start, sharp as tacks post-punk burst from the speakers. The set featured a cameo appearance from all three Vivian Girls (recent tourmates) who jumped on stage to sing vocals on one song. 2) I found an outlet to re-charge my Blackberry. Can't overstate how important this was.

The Titus Andronicus/Free Energy show of awesomeness soon...

By Ally Schweitzer  |  March 19, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  SXSW  
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Next: Coda: Live music north, east, and SXSW, and reflecting on Alex Chilton

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