Thursday, March 19, 2009

SXSW Music: Wednesday Report

SXSW Old Skool Rules:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Don't worry about the other 6 bands that you want to see at this exact time. Enjoy the moment and where you are at.
3. If there is a place to sit, then sit.

Here are some quick mini-reviews of some of the bands seen on Wednesday night.
We started off the day with some Stubbs BBQ, and then ended up at the Radio Room, one of those clubs that spring up just for the fest, in the emptiness of some defunct club.
Heartless bastards are better than average, with a strong female singer, and tight band.
Lonely Dear tried to get the crowd chanting right out of the gate, and it didn't work. You have to win us over first, or you may end up looking the fool. Jaunty, did not likee.
Black Joe Lewis, who I had seen before, was even better than I remembered. Tight, fun musicians, all young, a three-piece horn section, some call and response. A soulful set enjoyed by all. They should open up for Sharon Jones, especially since she dances like Tina Turner and he bears a more than passing resemblance to Ike Turner. Just sayin'.
Justin Townes Earle was OK, in the vein of Hank Williams vocally, musically had a bit of a bluegrass bent.

Went to the Austin Music Hall to hear some music, caught some talking and performances, and missed an opportunity to talk to David Yow (Jesus Lizard) as he walked right by us. The old brain wasn't processing fast enough to realize I was missing out until after he was gone.

Warren Hood was at Antone's and his band had a bit of an old-time grand Ole Opry feel to them, very well done, and some nice musicianship.
Next on the bill was Redd Volkaert. Santa Claus + plumber + bulldog + shit-hot country blues licks= awesome.

Back to Stubbs, for the meat of the action. After getting in surprisingly quickly, we saw the Heartless Bastards agian. Still good, even more Rock with the big sound system, but I do think I've seen them enough for a while.
The Avett Brothers came out to an unforgiving mix and were, for this reason and others, alternately bad and awesome. It felt like they felt the need to rock out as much as possible to over-compensate for the large venue. They succeeded only when they let the melodies get quieter and heart-felt.
The Decemberists play what they want, nd have no need to over-compensate in any way. The new release, which they played in it's entirety, was even more prog rock, and bigger than anything they have done to date. All indications say it's a monster, and they were a joy to watch.

Tired beyond belief, it was good to leave them to be united with my sleep number bed. I tried 80, and slept like a rock.

No pictures, because some yayhoo brought his camera, but no way to connect it to his computer.

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