SXSW 2010: Stereogum Range Life

“It’s early Saturday afternoon and you guys are still drinking, aren’t you. You’re just like, ‘I can take off next week to dry up and process everything that happened during SXSW.'” Well no Ben Gibbard, we can’t take this week off — but the rest was true enough. There was free food and booze so why not continue with the debauchery. But at least the Range Life debauchery was dialed in to our needs on day last in Austin: an afternoon of acoustic sets, showcasing rising songwriters like the morning benders and Wye Oak, and a very special set of deep-cuts and the hits from Ben Gibbard, who opened with “Title Track,” “405,” “Title And Registration,” almost to be like “Haa you forgot how awesome Death Cab was for a second didn’t you.” Nonstop jams presented delicately, showcasing an enviable sense of songwriting, and later a sage sense for playing the right covers: Pedro The Lion’s “Big Trucks,” yes, but also a beautiful spin on Magnetic Fields(!) “I Don’t Want To Get Over You” — the first time Ben’s done it. We’ll have the video soon.

Before Ben even jumped up to summon dreamy stares from the front-row girls, the show had momentarily morphed into the best comedy show in Austin: Compliments of host Joe Mande, and compliments of the surprise “& Friends” portion of the afternoon which featured tight fives and big laffs from Flight Of The Conchords’ Kirsten Schaal (“is a horse”) and Kurt Braunohler, Chelsea Peretti, and Pete Holmes. Neat! Lots of love. And of the impressive number of folks that stuck around after Ben’s set for Dominique Young Unique (scheduled as “DJ,” but straight up showing “My Ass” and other stuff until our lease was up), nearly all asked me the same question, formulated the same way: “OK, so clearly she is going to be huge, but what is her name?” To save time for the next time I hear it: It’s Dominique Young Unique.

Thanks to Samsung, and thanks to all the artists — Ben Gibbard, the morning benders, Wye Oak, Dominique Young Unique, Joe Mande, Kristen Schaal, Kurt Braunohler, Chelsea Peretti, and Pete Holmes — for a pretty special day. And thanks to you all who made it, it was nice to meet some of you. Hope you had fun! We’ll have more video and stuff from the show very soon. For now, these photos from Ryan Muir, and a few YouTubes to get you in the mood, Gibbard-wise.

“Title And Registration”


“Recycled Air”