Friday, March 20, 2009

SXSW Music: Thursday Report

Started off the day with Chuy's mexican food on the way out to Barton Springs, and then walked around the botanical gardens, which were nicer than expected. Then it was on to 6th Street.

First up were the Living Things, a rock quartet from our very own St. Louis. They brought the full-on rock show, wearing leather in the hot afternoon, all in black, and were extremely entertaining. The singer's moves were very reminiscent of a young, fully charged Mick Jagger, and I can think of worst performers to crib from. Complaining about taxes and bail-outs, he lit a dollar bill right in front of me, burning it down to a little nub.
After what seemed like 20 hours waiting in line at Elysium for the Peter Murphy show we did indeed get in and saw a good set from this somewhat legendary ex-Bauhaus singer. He played mostly newer stuff and was definitely comfortable in his skin. A little too dramatic for the close quarters, he was like a goth Neil Diamond. Of course, Neil is pretty goth, if you think about it...
Worried that we would not get into the Tori Amos show, we started heading that way, stopping in to see part of the Jimmy Vaughn tribute to Doug Sahm set. Good stuff, and in keeping with my goal to see more local music on this trip.
Surprisingly, we got in easily to the Tori Amos set. She played to a rapt crowd. She's good, she's is good to watch, and I'm glad I saw her, but she is not perhaps my cup of tea. Sorry Tori.
More my speed was the wonderful set by Amanda Palmer at the Central Presbyterian Church. What a beautiful venue to listen to music. This audience was also held silent by and artist that is obviously adored by her fans. Amanda came out and sang a capella, filling the church with her strong voice and then sat down and accompanied herself on the piano. I would say that I like her new solo work better in this more unadorned approach. Sorry Ben Folds, I think you either over-produced "Who Killed Amanda Palmer", or did not produce it to my liking.
Dinosaur Jr. sounded fine instrumentally, J's voice was weak, which it admittedly is also recorded, but it seems to work better in that setting. And it was late. So we left.

And thus ended another SXSW day. For me, at least.

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