Every SXSW has had its great Brit hopes. In 2007, it was Amy Winehouse, the Fratellis, and Mika. 2006 brought us Editors, the Arctic Monkeys, and KT Tunstall. In 2005, it was Bloc Party, the Futureheads, and Kasabian. 2004 was all about Franz Ferdinand. As you can see, not all of these acts enjoyed the same level of post-South By Southwest success in America--at least in the commercial sense.
Lightspeed Champion--aka Devonte Hynes, the former Test Icicles dance/punk/metal rocker who radically reinvented himself as a Russian-hatted folkie and recorded his debut album in Nebraska with Saddle Creek Records' resident producer, Mike Mogis--performed first, over at Antone's as part of the Domino Records showcase. (Domino is the label that introduced America to such imports as the aforementioned Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys.) With his big hollowbody guitar, big Buddy Holly specs, and big fiddle-enhanced backup band, Mr. Champion gave a truly winning performance, full of sweet, ragged charm.
Later over at Buffalo Billiards came the midnight set by the sexy, electrofunky Manchester coed twosome the Ting Tings, playing a showcase sponsored by KCRW (the tastemaking L.A. college radio station that famously introduced a little band called Coldplay to America). Well, I don't know if the Ting Tings will be as big as Coldplay, but judging from their Buffalo Billiards performance, I predict their frontwoman Katie White just may be the biggest blonde-bombshell rockgirl pinup in America since Debbie Harry. One of those enviable, enigmatic, guys-wanna-date-her-girls-wanna-be-her types, the woman positively oozed rock 'n' roll charisma--whether she was banging on a cowbell, jackhammering away on her low-slung guitar, captivating the crowd with her sultry heavy-lidded stare, or jumping about the stage like a spastic jazzercise instructor in her metallic blue Spandex leggings. The girl's just got it.
So, will Lightspeed Champion win over America? Will the Ting Tings be the next big thing? Contemplate these questions as you enjoy these awesome photos of Katie White in action last night:
- Lightspeed Champion