What It Was Like: Efterklang, Alela Diane, Camera Obscura, Dark Meat, Megafaun

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Patrick Michels
Efterklang under a tent at the French Legation Museum
Band: Efterklang
Where: Other Music Party at the French Legation Museum
What It Was Like: Seven people from Copenhagen playing ornate pop combining violin, trumpet and flute with glitchy electronics. Closer "Cutting Ice to Snow" started slow, quiet and choral before building into a gorgeous cacophony of yearning gang vocals and frantic tamborine playing.
Verdict: Fans of Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens or Broken Social Scene would be wise to check this stuff out. Considering I'd never heard a single note before, I was definitely impressed.
Random Note: According to Wikipedia, Efterklang is "the Danish word for rememberance and reverberation."

Band: Alela Diane
Where: Other Music Party at the French Legation Museum
What It Was Like: The French Legation Museum's green lawn was the perfect setting for Diane's quiet and alluring forest folk. Joined by her father on mandolin and guitar and a back-up singer, Diane shared several songs from the recently released To Be Still, including elegiac closer "My Brambles" and "White As Diamonds," which benefitted greatly from the tight harmonies of her bandmates.
Verdict: I first caught Diane in a similarly woodsy setting behind Jovita's at SXSW 2006, and she's only gotten better since.
Random Note: In a Snow White-esque moment, a chorus of chirping birds joined in on "Every Path"

Band: Camera Obscura
Where: Other Music Party at the French Legation Museum
What It Was Like: With keyboardist Carey Lander feeling under the weather, the band attempted to soldier on without her, playing songs off the soon-to-be-released My Maudlin Career. Lead singer Tracyanne Campbell would have been a huge star in the days of Petula Clark; it's easy to imagine her band's exquisite Girl Group-inspired Brit-Pop blasting from the A.M. radio of a vintage 60s convertible on some forgotten highway strip.
Verdict:  Even sans-keyboards and female harmonies, the band's songs were lovely. Unfortunately, it is not the kind of music best heard in a steamy 90 degree tent that stinks of B.O. and tacos.
Random Note: I decided to leave mid-set to hike back under I-35 and catch Dark Meat, a band perfectly suited to environments that stink of B.O. and tacos.

Band: Dark Meat
Where: My Old Kentucky Blog/Aquarium Drunkard Party at Peckerhead's
What It Was Like: I got stuck outside waiting in line and only caught the last two songs, but the band's mix of blaring horns, whining violins and fist-pump worthy guitar riffage whipped the crowd into a frenzy, with one of the group's 10 members showering the room in confetti with the aid of a leaf blower.
Verdict: As anyone who caught them last summer in North Texas (when they played a whopping four shows in two or three days) can attest, Dark Meat's Southern boogie noise rock is best experienced live and loud.
Random Note: Though the band is from Athens, Georgia, violin player Nate DeYonker lives in Denton, where he's played with Raised By Tigers and others.

Band: Megafaun
Where: My Old Kentucky Blog/Aquarium Drunkard Party at Peckerhead's
What It Was Like: Three hairy Southerners playing rural prog on banjo, guitar and drums. The band showed off it's three parts harmonies on every song, but their instrumental interludes were often more interesting.
Verdict: I'd like to check out their record, but the set itself was underwhelming save the closing song, during which the band insisted the entire audience clap along and learn a wordless, three-part vocal arrangement in sections.
Random Note: Megafaun was formed by the remaining members of the now-defunct Raleigh, North Carolina band DeYarmond Edison after band member Justin Vernon left to record as Bon Iver. 

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