Friday, January 11 @ 40 Watt Club
While the excitement around downtown stayed consistent throughout the day with plenty of big shows going on early, a house party north of the SXSW hubbub drew a crowd for Austin Lucas.
Is there a Joe Walsh look-alike contest at SXSW this year? Probably not. In any case, there were a ton of dudes on stage this afternoon at Hotel Vegas that could have passed for the James Gang guitarist (we won’t mention The Eagles – we’ve “had a rough night and [we] hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man”). There must be something in the mutton chops and moustaches, because these bands drew an impressive crowd earlier today.
Lest SXSW be confused as a pack of bands all vying for media attention, the trade show in Austin’s Convention Center (the home base for all things SXSW) offered festival-goers the opportunity to check out the latest gadgets and products on the market.
Although he might be cursed with being “that guy who used to be in Drive-By Truckers,” Jason Isbell’s solo output has been deserving of praise for quite some time. At his first of a few shows at SXSW this year, Isbell made good use of his time by playing a handful of songs acoustically and without any pretense. Amanda Shires, Isbell’s fiddle-slaying new wife, helped to turn rock-centric songs into intimate sing-alongs that made the large crowd feel rather small.
At this point, Rob Zombie’s film career has lasted as long as the band that launched him into popular consciousness. While White Zombie might be long gone, fans of Rob’s work can take solace in knowing that his newest film, Lords of Salem, is just over a month away from being released. Zombie joined film and music geeks alike for a conversation about the film’s production, ultimately telling aspiring artists not to worry about pleasing everyone and that “going unconventional” is sometimes a bold but necessary move.
Give a listen to Lantern’s latest release, Dream Mine, and you might wonder what planet the band is from. From the ambient-dance sounds of "Untitled" to "Out of Our Heads," which drips of garage rock goo, it’s clear that the band’s musical palate runs the gamut. Flagpole recently caught up with Lantern guitarist Zachary Fairbrother to discuss the relationship between gritty cities and rock and roll, the risks of defining punk, and what it’s like to be a lo-fi rocker with a background in music composition.
Flagpole: You mention on your Bandcamp page that Dream Mine is a “loose concept album” that is a “a tribute to '80s dystopic cyber punk.” Can you say something of the concepts running throughout the album?
Zachary Fairbrother: I wouldn't say there is an obvious narrative throughout the EP, because there isn't. The concept more came about while I was putting the tracks together for the release. When we were finished assembling it we were like, "Wow, this really sounds scary." It comes off very cold and bleak. The idea of it being a tribute to '80s dystopic-cyber punk came from the track, “Untitled,” which I composed as a project separate from Lantern all together. It was the theme for an imaginary cyber punk movie. I really love the look of those movies, the gritty noir, the '80s technology. The '80s definitely seemed to have a fear of technology unlike today. We, however, might want to ask ourselves some of these questions again, but that's another discussion.
Also, there are lots of industrial themes running through the EP as well, such as “Fool's Gold,” “Train Song,” “You Can't Deny Me (Revisited).” I sort imagined it as a future primitive. To compare it to a movie, it might be like Escape from New York or The Warriors. We are playing rock and roll—it's an old genre, but we want to present it in a new a fresh way, or it might be thought of how punks in the future [will] try to play punk from the past.
FP: Although you’re originally from Canada, you’re now based out of Philadelphia. Despite being the City of Brotherly Love, your new home has a reputation of being a pretty rough place. How does the environment of Philly influence your music?