Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

SXSW snapshots: the bands arrive, Wet, Ping Pong Summer

The musicians have arrived, a beguiling performance from a band called Wet and Ping Pong Summer takes us back to 1985

Anyone for table tennis? Ping Pong Summer

Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 13:42


The changing of the guard

It’s all change in Austin today. The folks who were in town for Interactive have scarpered back to New York, San Francisco, London and Mitchelstown and the musicians have arrived in droves. Overnight, the pace is considerably more leisurely and relaxed around town and the dress code has gone from blazers-and-chinos to skinny jeans, t-shirts, high tops and the occasional interesting hat. You notice with a start that a lot of bands really do look the same and that they also tend to walk around in a group to prevent the likelihood of any member going missing or joining another band. Like nuns and penguins, there’s safety in numbers


Our first band of SXSW proper because we’re not mentioning that random encounter with Justin Bieber in a classy joint called Banger’s Sausage House. It’s Tuesday at noon and the sun is splitting the stones as Kelly from Wet informs us that this is the earliest they’ve ever played. A beautiful blend of slo-mo sonic hugs, Wet sound beguiling with every note spun. They’ve certainly channeled the Galaxie 500 back catalogue but there’s a ton of reinvention and reworking going on with those influences. A band for the long run.

Ping Pong Summer

All back to 1985. Michael Tully’s new coming-of-age flick is from the school of retro nostalgia as teenager Radford “Rad” Miracle arrives in Ocean City, Maryland with his family for summer holidays. He finds his way to the Fun Hub games arcade, befriends a fellow hip-hop fan Teddy Fryy, falls for Stacy Summers and falls foul of rich kid Lyle Ace and his sidekick Dale Lyons. Table tennis becomes the way to settle the row between Rad and Lyle and it all leads to a tense climax as both duke it out with bats, top-spin and, in Rad’s case, some body popping dance moves. Cool performances from Marcello Conte, Susan Sarandon, Amy Sedaris, Judah Friedlander and Lea Thompson.