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March 18, 2006
There's sleep enough in the grave

"You know how when I close my eyes, it looks like I'm really feeling the music?" Giant Drag singer-guitarist Annie Hardy told the audience last night at Emo's. "I'm really just sleeping."

Hardy's supposed exhaustion didn't hobble the two-person band's set, or dull her spacey yet acute onstage humor. But hers were not the only tired eyes in Austin on Friday. With shows beginning noonish and after parties ending fourish or later, a dedicated SXSW'er has no choice but to press forward, through the weariness to the other side.

My long last night began with the Brunettes, an adorable New Zealand band who blurt and clang and pluck on all sorts of horns, xylophones, banjos and the like. Then on to the previously mentioned Giant Drag. After that The Fever, who used to be gawky and captivating but last night were, unfortunately, everything you might expect a band from Brooklyn to be -- hard-rocking in that pushy way that comes when a band's confidence overwhelms their personality.

Metric had no such problem--frontwoman Emily Haynes is as charismatic an indie gal as you'll find, and the Canadian band has taken to adorning the jagged bones of its sound with searing guitar excursions. And DJ Jason Forrest pushes "pushy" to rapturous extremes, pumping his fist as his own rockish techno compositions blare from his laptop.

I'd have liked to have been among the frantic up-and-down jumpers near the stage during Forrest's set, but that would have involved standing, which was an option only of last resort by the end of last night. In fact, I sat through much-blogged locals Tapes 'n' Tapes. The bits that penetrated my late-night haze sounded promising. I just hope that if the people around me glanced at my drooping eyelids, they thought I was "really feeling the music."

Posted by Keith Harris at 5:00 PM