The first night of SXSW is a relatively slow one. There aren’t that many MUST see shows, everyone is yawning from their early flights, and Austin’s 6th Street just smells like only beer… not beer, piss, and garbage. By the time I got my badge, ate two tacos, and drank a margarita, I only had the energy for a short night. I wandered easily into the giant outdoor Stubb’s for the NME and Zune-sponsored Brit-centric line up.Catching only the last notes of Wales’ the Automatic, I grabbed a Miller Lite and prepared to be blown away by young English lad Jamie T, a next-big-thing signed to Virgin UK who I’d been told by a friend was the “one musician I am most excited about see this year at SXSW.” His sloppy, shambolic set of punky-reggae free-associations sounded like 2nd-gen Arctic Monkeys to me, but why don’t you just hear it for yourself?
Next up was chirpy and cheeky London pop-reggae songbird Lily Allen, who looked adorable (green babydoll dress and ’50s hairdo), sounded better (her voice might be better live than on the album), and admitted very early on, “I’m a bit drunk. I’ve been drinking on my bus for hours.” You couldn’t tell from the music — which was spot on — but her stage patter sounded like soused trash talk. “F— the NME!” she said, referring to the UK tastemaking magazine that was sponsoring the show. “If I had known it was their gig, I wouldn’t have done it!” (She also called the mag a raunchy British colloquialism that can’t be repeated here, but it rhymes with “blunts.”) The gig then pretty much continued as usual until she introduced the last song — the funhouse ode to her stoner sibling “Alfie” — and she called the NME a few more nasty names and then strode offstage. Maybe some PopWatch readers can fill me in, what did the NME do to Ms. Allen?
addCredit(“Lily Allen: Daniel Boud/Retna“)