music from sxsw

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I *finally* had the pleasure to attend SXSW — an event I've been dying to attend since my years working at Ink19 and WPRK. (Although to be truthful, PRK was all about the CMJ).

I know I'm a wee bit behind writing this up for all of you who have asked for show reports, and apologies this isn't in the long form, well-written voice of my reviews of yore. Despite my love of indie rock, I did manage to break out of the mold a wee bit, in fact, some of my fave shows of the week falling outside of that genre.

I have a chronological listing of shows I saw, but realized this would be less useful than some sort of rating of the top shows, so I've got both, with 1 line reviews, captured in real time. (photo from sanfranannie)

TOP SHOWS I SAW

#1

Artists: Rachel Fuller with Special Guests, including Pete Townshend featuring Mika, Martha Wainwright, Willie Mason, Joe Purdy, and Alexi Murdoch

Venue: La Zona Rosa

Notes Captured in the Moment:
am going to buy willie mason album show was mellow, yet fantastic; mika – epic yet needs more stage presence ; rebecca fuller did an inspired & playful set ending w/joni mitchell torch song 'blue' ; joe purdy totally played piano & then pete t. Joined to play let my love; martha was strong & charismatic performer who touched me; alexi murdoch ; INTIMATE ; final set by pete w/rebecca on piano & him singing dulcet tones

Memory:
One of the top 10 concerts I've probably seen (and yes, I keep a list). Just one of those rare moments when you realize you're seeing a legend you've watched through the years and who helped you grow as a person, surrounded by other bright young lights.

I called my brother that night to tell him what I'd seen. I can't imagine any better tribute to our childhood than to think about sharing this show with him. Xan, I wish you'd been there with me.

#2

Artist: The Budos Band

Venue: Emo's Annex

Notes Captured in the Moment:
awesome, will see them again – top 5

Memory:
I actually twitted about how they got the crowd up and dancing. I loved the fact that they shifted sets around and I just happened to catch them. *I* actually danced, which means it must have been hip-quakin' good. And it was. I went out and bought the album so I can dance at home too.

Kudos to DJ Tiki Tim for introducing me to this band a year ago, which is the main reason I wanted to see them.

#3

Artist: The Annuals

Venue: The Beauty Bar Patio

rocked the house live with humor (full set)

Notes Captured in the Moment:
Shows in Chronological Order

Memory:
This was the last show of the night at about 1am. These guys managed to have an insane amount of energy and all these funny moments, including one wherein the bassist threw his mike on the ground, realized he needed it, and then crawled over to get it. Lots of musical multi-tasking. And a show I never would have expected from their album.

#4

Artist: Sharon jones & the Dap-Kings

Venue: Emo's Annex

Notes Captured in the Moment:
this land as soul/funk, guys on stage & amazing show

Memory:
Sharon Jones knows how to put on a show  – whether drawing up audience members to sing along. Her voice is amazing and robust and the Dap-Kings make it feel like a party. I was hard pressed to leave the show, since it seemed like with Sharon, the party was gonna go all night long.

#5

Artist: The50kaitenz

Venue: Elysium

Notes Captured in the Moment:
fuck yeah! Japanese punk/pop – fun, energetic & fast – one of my fave shows this week

Memory:
You've got three guys in black suits, white ruffled fancy shirts playing punk rock. What could be more perfect? It was the sort of live experience I'd been craving all week.

#6

Artists: Octopus Project and Black Moth Super Rainbow

Venue: Elysium  

Notes Captured in the Moment:
psychedelic indie rocktronica that made me feel amazingly musically stoned

Memory:
I really enjoyed this show. I went by myself since I didn't want to miss it. It felt more like watching art – we had video projections and a theremin, two bands playing together. It was enjoyable music, but way too short.

#7

Artist: Snowden

Venue: Emo's Annex

Notes Captured in the Moment:
the indie rock band that makes me dance, a live show that expands upon recorded music (full set)

Memory:
Bassist Corinne Lee is hot. I was so excited to hear them live, since I love Anti Anti, and they didn't disappoint. I think a different venue would have done them better than an outdoor stage with poor sound quality.

#8

Artist: Beirut

Venue: Emo's Main

Notes Captured in the Moment:
amazing neo-gyspy slow tunes w/accordian, horns, guitars, ukes, clarinet, strings, mouth organ, and megaphone (full set)

Memory:
Beirut's lead singer is really young, but seems to have the vision driving everything. Someone to watch and see how they evolve.

#9

Artist: Menomena

Venue: Emo's Main

Notes Captured in the Moment:
tight & talented

Memory:
I can't expand much beyond my notes, they struck me as being very tight, with incredible musical agility.Bummed to have missed them in previous visits to San Francisco.

#10

Artist: Girl Talk

Venue: Emo's Main

Notes Captured in the Moment:
booty shakin' & body quaking

Memory:
I'm still trying to figure out how a guy with a laptop makes for a compelling shows. But it was. I think I was the oldest person there. Or maybe not. I know that a young boy, probably six, raced through the crowd to get a photo and the nice guys in front of me held him up so he could get a great shot. Adorable. But as to the music, Girl Talk is a mash up artist extraordinaire and he managed to make for a good show, which is quite surprising in some sense.

Honorable Mentions

Apostle of Hustle
Dub is the Weapon
The Pipettes

SHOWS IN ORDER

Wednesday

Photo by Tantek

  • Apes & Androids @ austinist party @ the mohawk – look like kiss, sound like queen (4 songs)
  • Apostle of Hustle @ ioda party @ emo's annex – songs about mescaline in spanish (full set)
  • The Black Angels @ ioda party @ emo's annex – loud & rawking (most of set)
  • The Pipettes @ la zona rosa – girl group excellent (full set)
  • Emma Pollock @ emo's main – blah (most of set)
  • Beirut @ emo's main – amazing neo-gyspy slow tunes w/accordian, horns, guitars, ukes, clarinet, strings, mouth organ, and megaphone (full set)
  • The Mountain Goats @ emo's – mellow with a rousing closer of thin lizzy's the boys are back in town (full set)
  • Illinois @beauty bar patio (2 songs) worth further investigation
  • The Annuals@beauty bar patio – rocked the house live with humor (full set)

Thursday

  • Peter Buck & Robyn Hitchcock @ rhapsody party @ the mohawk – poor sound mix dampened what had the potential to be an amazingly mellow show
  • Mika, Martha Wainwright, Pete Townshend, willie mason, Rebecca Fuller, joe purdy, alexi murdoch @la zona rosa – am going to buy willie mason album show was mellow, yet fantastic; mika – epic yet needs more stage presence ; rebecca fuller did an inspired & playful set ending w/joni mitchell torch song 'blue' ; joe purdy totally played piano & then pete t. Joined to play let my love; martha was strong & charismatic performer who touched me; alexi murdoch ; INTIMATE ; final set by pete w/rebecca on piano & him singing dulcet tones
  • rhett bennen @ the parish – packed show w/jazzy overtonesp
  • starsailor @ the parish – strong acoustic set & a powerful voice
  • badly drawn boy @ the parish – attitude, not all that fab in person
  • the pipette's@emo's – one trick pony? Can't decide – better sound here than friday (partial set)
  • dave smallen @ emo's annex – (2 songs) powerful voice for an acoustic set

Friday

  • snowden @ emo's annex – the indie rock band that makes me dance, a live show that expands upon recorded music (full set)
  • menomena @ emo's – tight & talented
  • girl talk @ emo's – booty shakin' & body quaking
  • peter, bjorn & john @ emo's – despite their new-to-them equipment a rousing get the house jumping set that will lead to big things
  • the50kaitenz @ elysium – fuck yeah! Japanese punk/pop – fun, energetic & fast – one of my fave shows this week
  • the m's @ red7 – sloppiest set i've seen them play (perhaps due to the alcohol they had ingested) still their harmonies & guitars & drums made me happy
  • you am I @ dirty dog- paid almost no attention so couldn't be that great
  • sloan @ dirty dog – not much to say
  • apples in stereo @ dirty dog – live show loses some of the melodics & harmonies i have come to expect

Saturday

  • budos band @ emo's annex – awesome, will see them again – top 5
  • sharon jones & the dap-kings @ emo's annex – this land as soul/funk, guys on stage & amazing show
  • octopus project PLUS black moth super rainbow @ Elysium – psychedelic indie rocktronica that made me feel amazingly musically stoned
  • robert gomez @ buffalo – 9 piece mellow orchestra rockin' me calmly
  • midlake @ buffalo – mellow harmonies
  • dub is the weapon @ flamingo cantina – got into that stoned from the music space, had to leave before lee "scratch" perry joined the stage, last show of the week
Venue Comments

Elysium – best bathrooms, reminds me of every club I went to as a teenager and college student.
Emo's  – not very good sound, depending on which part of Emo's you're in. Port-a-potty for personal relief is just gross!
La Zona Rosa – one of Austin's bigger venues, decent bathrooms
Red 7 – decent bathrooms, lacking toilet paper
Beauty Bar – only one loo! but a decent enough venue – liked the back patio
Dirty Dog – seeing a band in a sports bar is probably lower on my list of things I want to do, not a great place for live music
Buffalo Billiards – huge upstairs, but awkward to stand and watch bands, didn't visit the bathrooms
Mohawk – great venue when it's not packed to the gills!

The Parish – good small club, easy place to see a show, decent bathrooms

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2 comments on “music from sxsw”

  1. Wow, that was thorough :-)! I think La Zona Rosa is pretty much my all time favorite Austin venue. I've rarely seen a bad show there, and the sound is always great.

    Buzz
  2. I like how you included crowdedness, etc., and bathroom condition for the venues in your review… that's important!

    nomi maybe