The Soundcheck staff ventured to Sixth Street last night, to check out bands before the music portion of SXSW starts officially tonight. I caught the ultra-80s electronic rave-up outfit Tiger City and the Stoogesy group The Hands at Emo's.
The Hands (pictured above) kicked it off the right way. 'We just spent 32 hours in a car to get here! Here's a warm-up song!' The first half of their set was intense, high-energy stuff, and a nearly deserted front room at Emos swelled within a few songs.
Later, I joined up with my compatriots and checked out the Iranian band Hypernova. You can read more about them here, but in short: the four-piece was slated to play SXSW last year, but were thwarted by visa problems. Their siuation attracted press coverage from MTV, NPR, etc and peaked the interest of anyone who didn't think you could rock in Iran.
Now, Hypernova is playing Austin for the first time after an extended stay in the U.S. for the past year. Lead singer Raam expressed his gratitude from stage ... and dropped a crazy number of F-bombs. (Rock 'n' roll!) The group itself is deeply indebted in Joy Division, a group that seems well suited for a group that's, well, truly underground back in their native country.