NOISE: Mo' SXSW, mo' Mekons, kissy Black Lips, smoky Ghostland Observatory

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Contributor Kate Izquierdo blogs on at SXSW; here's her latest report:

By Thursday, the rainstorms had gone, the sun was blazin', and the Black Lips have lost their bass player. In Mexico. No matter, as they bring a good facscimile of their Sandinista flavor replete with a boy-on-boy guitarist make-out session. How can you suck face with a big ass gold grill? Very carefully.

Dusk led us to Jon Langford and Sally Timms "recalling the Mekons," which loosely translated meant playing a few Mekons songs and commenting on how being in a seminal punk band didn't exactly put them on the map. Introducing a cover, Langford commented that it was not a Mekons song, "like most of the songs in the world aren't. And not on the radio. Like all the Mekons songs."

Sweden's Under Byen were a sprawling, darkly lit collective - like Godspeed You Black Emperor with hushed smoky 'n' sweet vocals. King Louie One Man Band brought the swamprock and made four man bands look like underachievers. Hometown darlings Ghostland Observatory filled a warehouse-sized space with sirens, sythesizers, and the screams of adoring locals.

But, oh, the Horrors, the Horrors! Surgically precise Victorian goth-punk perfection! Their singer Faris Badwan ascended the stage choked with a cloud of black helium ballons, looking like Edward Scissorhands at a state fair. Better start hating on them quick coz your girlriend is gonna leave you for their drummer. Or that keyboard player that looks like a cross between Emily Dickinson and Emo Phillips and played half the show with a goddamn executioner's hood on. Fuck yeah! In one of the most hilarious finales ever, Badwan's decision to dump a full garbage can on the audience backfired slightly as he found himself pelted by an unending barrage of water bottles and trash. And he smiled. Darkly. Like he planned the whole damn thing.