With Jack White, Of Monsters and Men

In Austin, Texas for this year's South By South West music conference, Paul Melbourne is documenting all the action for Clash. Read on for day one's exploits...


So I'm sure none of you want to know how rough I was feeling yesterday, but I was feeling horrendous, and every time I thought I was back in the game, well I wasn't and the day was spent looking for cures to mend this broken man!! First up we went to Bikini's, an local Hooters type place, I went for a steak which was good and Linz expecting some kind of chicken ended up with a deep fried minced beef burger fried in chicken breadcrumbs, needless to say she wasn't too impressed either.

First band of the day we had been excited about all week but managed to miss their other shows, Jason Stollsteimer from The Von Bondies is back on the scene with The Hounds Below, and he means business. I was half falling asleep waiting for them to come on but they fixed me, big time! They have that big Arcade Fire sound about them whilst still retaining that dirty sleazy garage rock noise with some killer basslines Having just had one self released EP out they are coming over the pond to the UK in May and they're going to storm it, I'm excited about seeing them again in a few hours for their Carson Daly showcase and maybe even to close the festival tonight at 1am.

After being blown away by The Hounds Below it's off to chill out for a bit, down to Buffalo Billiards for some more grub, actual chicken this time! And they do the best 'fries' in town! Needing something nice and easy on the ear it's over to Trinity Hall to catch Ben Caplan and his band The Casual Smokers. Having recently seen them supporting Neil Cousin on his UK tour we were keen to catch them but due to a line up mix up we missed him.

A name being heard loads around Austin all week is Of Monsters and Men. This five piece from Iceland have been causing quite a stir so we go to see what all the fuss is about.Before catching them though we see the last few songs from Ed Sheeran. To be fair he seems to go down well with the crowd here and I can see him making a name for himself in the US but personally I just don't get it. I was feeling rough anyway and he was just sending me under! Finally Of Monsters and Men come on, fronted by Reggie and Nanna, their vocals really complement each other with their blend of indie folk. A cover of 'Close to Me' by The Cure is a bit slow and boring to be fair but they lift things back up with single 'Little Talks' which is been all over the radio here for some time now.

One of the hottest gigs in town today though is Jack White where his label Third Man Records are doing a showcase at the stage on 6. Due on at midnight there was already a queue hundreds of people long at 6pm. We headed back over to 6th just before he was due on and took up a place on the pavement outside. White always looking dapper strolled up in his blue suit and all female backing band. Having a full band and female vocals helping him out on White Stripes hits such as 'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground' and 'Hotel Yorba', really making them sound like totally new songs. 'Hotel Yorba' complete with fiddle sounded like aright old Country Ho Down!! After watching a handful more songs including outings for new solo material from his forthcoming album 'Blunderbuss' and from Raconteurs back catalogue, we head off as it;s just frustrating being stuck on the pavement listening to a muffled Jack White! Hearing tales from other folk this morning though it seems White did an extended two sets, returning for his second set with an all male band comprising off 'hits' from Raconteurs, White Stripes and the Dead Weather.

They may be arch enemies but both there's plenty of love here for both Jack White and Jason Stollsteimer. It's St Patti's day today as it's known here and I'm off to raise a glass of the black stuff to my old relative, Young Ned of the Hills. Whilst trying to see The Hounds Below at least two times!

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