The BrooklynVegan / Sound on Sound-presented Lost Weekend is underway at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin, where SXSW is in full swing. Lost Weekend has tons of bands playing across two stages from noon to 6 PM at the Red River St venue. The first day was Thursday (3/16), which was in partnership with M for Montreal.

Things kicked off with doses of '90s-style indie rock on both the outside and inside stages, with Brooklyn's LVL UP and Detroit's Stef Chura, respectively. Then it switched gears outside with Hurray for the Riff Raff, who just released the great The Navigator and focused on playing songs from that album. Main member Alynda Segarra switched back and forth from acoustic guitar to just singing (and dancing), and she was backed by an ace four-piece band. The songs on the new album, which range in sound from alt-country to traditional Puerto Rican styles, really came to life in the outdoor, live environment.

While HFTRR did their thing outside, Tokyo Police Club frontman Dave Monks played a solo acoustic set inside. (We caught the full band a day earlier.) His set got more and more energetic as he went on, and he had no trouble winning people over with just him and his guitar.

Then Duchess Says came on outside. The Montreal band have been doing their thing for over a decade now, and if you've seen them, you know what to expect. Singer Annie-Claude Deschenes is a total maniac on stage -- and in the crowd, where she spends a lot of the show -- and she basically guarantees that the audience won't be staying still either. A calmer but equally appealing set was simultaneously going down inside, Frankie Rose. Frankie's been quiet for a while but she's finally got a new album on the way, and she played a bit of new stuff at the show. Going by that set, fans of her previous material should be pleased with the new stuff.

Back outside it was Le Butcherettes, who picked up right where Duchess Says left off in terms of unhinged performances and running into the crowd. Teri Gender Bender and her band (which currently includes a killer drummer) were bold, unique, and they sounded great. Inside, Montreal duo She-Devils, who recently signed to Secretly Canadian, played a set of their atmospheric pop.

After Le Butcherettes on the outdoor stage it was another band with a wild stage presence and a singer who spends time in the crowd, Downtown Boys. The political, sax-fueled punks recently signed to Sub Pop and just released their first single for the label, "Somos Chulas," which sounded great and which already had some people singing along. Downtown Boys' live shows are always some of the better modern punk shows around, and in the current political climate, they hit even harder. Shortly after Downtown Boys hit the stage outside, Toronto post-punks Weaves came on stage inside and made for a fourth consecutive band with a powerhouse singer who ran into the crowd.

Downtown Boys' pals Priests followed them on the outdoor stage, and they were equally confrontational in today's political climate. They're fresh off releasing their new album Nothing Feels Natural, which is probably their best one yet, and they played a good amount of songs from that LP plus old favorites too. Inside, Vagabon played and impressed as much as they did at the Brooklyn release show for their great debut LP Infinite Worlds.

Wrapping things up outside was Beach Slang. It was my first time seeing them since their recent lineup change, which now includes Cully Symington (Okkervil River, Afghan Whigs, Cursive) on drums and Aurore Ounjian (Mean Creek, Potty Mouth) on guitar. The chemistry of the old lineup was missed a bit, but the new band really is tight. James Alex joked on stage that no one has ever called Beach Slang "professional" (right before they half-covered "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas), but the set felt so professional. The new members played like they'd been in the band for years. Beach Slang's Polyvinyl labelmates Jay Som, fresh off dropping the great Everybody Works a few days ago, closed the show inside.


Big thanks: Bell’s Brewery as a premiere sponsor. Brand new to Austin, the award winning craft beer will be on tap all week at Cheer Up Charlies. Those 21 and older can also purchase a variety of Deep Eddy Vodka cocktails and some Thunderbird ‘Hard Citrus Brew’.

Lost Weekend continues Friday (3/17) and Saturday (3/18) with Minus the Bear, S U R V I V E, Girlpool, Sad13, PWR BTTM, and many more. Set times HERE.


photos by Amanda Hatfield

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