AboutLet loose on an unsuspecting Austin for SXSW.
LinksSXSW 2009 Group Sched
Rollo Tomasi @ Latitude 30
Only caught one song. Very loud, screaming metal with a female singer (screamer?).
Sky Larkin @ Latitude 30
They started their set by explaining that they had “shit out their livers last night”. The lead singer/guitarist has a forgettable voice and their sound is a bit sloppy. I’d probably have more fun drinking with them than listening to them.
Andre Williams @ The Continental Club
Old-school rock ‘n roll and blues. From the lead singer’s snazzy red suit and hat to the be-tasseled and underdressed go-go dancers, you can tell that these folks believe that sex, drugs, booze, and rock ‘n roll are the way to go. After watching them, I’m pretty sure they’re not wrong. If you don’t enjoy this show, I’m not sure you like live music.
Dash Rip Rock @ The Continental Club
I <3 Dash Rip Rock.
Mojo Nixon @ The Continental Club
I’ve been to SXSW numerous times but always missed Mojo’s bash. It was nice to see that Mojo and the Toadlickers had “come out of retirement to get drunk.”, in their own words. If are easily offended you may dislike Mojo Nixon, but there’s no denying that the man can be entertaining. He’s got charisma to burn and his act is a lot of fun to watch.
Stereopony @ Japan Nite at the Elysium
Special Thanks @ Japan Nite at the Elysium
Alaska in Winter @ Submerged
The Resignators @ Fuze
Fuze must be a salsa/hip hop joint when it’s not SXSW as door security was extremeley heavy (pat-downs) and there were a lot of lost-looking folks in way too much makeup and hair product. Only a dozen or so people looked like they’d actually come to see a ska gig (and had a great time dancing unmolested in the front). The Resignators are astraight up ska from Melbourne, they were trying hard, but just didnt quite get into a groove. The crowd sucked the life right out of ‘em. I imagine they were also pretty jet-lagged.
Asakusa Jinta @ Japan Nite at the Elysium
These folks are pretty unique- a hard marching bad. Lots of brass instruments- French horn, trumpets, plus a clarinet and some kind of custom bass or cello looking thing. Very fast paced, and the leader singer used his machine-gun vocals and the band’s skilled backing to pound out some rocking tunes and even a rock polka. It was an electric performance. I believe it’s a sign that the performance is good if I find that I’m really into the show even though it’s not a kind of music I’d usually listen to.
Quaff @ at Japan Nite at the Elysium
Theatrical and partially made up like KISS or Detroit Metal City, but they’ve got a tight technical sound to back up their theatrics. Good upbeat rock ‘n roll. They covered Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” towards the end of their set, and the entire band moonwalked simultaneously. The crowd ate it up.
Reminded me of a lot of almost-made-it 80’s ultra-big hair metal bands with a whole lot of Aquabats-esq stage antics and back-story, made even better by their minimal English skills (to their credit, they had on-stage subtitles for some of their bits. A definite crowd-pleaser.
My Latest Novel @ Latitude 30
Generic British folk/pop with a violin. Low-key and bland. Nothing you haven’t heard 100 times before. They’re technically sound there’s nothing wrong with their music, but I’m not inspired to write any more about their music, or seek it out.
They looked like they’d been awake for days, and I can empathize with that.
Shiny Toy Guns @ Bat Bar at the Convention Center
Just like all the other recent cookie cutter pop bands. The twist on this McBand was the stand-out female vocal contributions. Also, they need to sue DirecTV for having such a miserable sound mix for such a “professional” presentation. I guess if it sounds good on TV, that’s what counts.
Hammell on Trial @ Soho Lounge
Solo performer that does half standup/ half guitar and song. Very funny, personable, and vulgar. Some of them are really vulgar, but they’re still very funny.
He reminds me of Shel Silverstein’s more adult work, perhaps combined with a bit of George Carlin. As the man himself said, “I drove 1,800 miles to get here, you don’t think I’m gonna kick some ass?” Good stuff.
Dirty Old Men @ Elysium’s Japan Nite
Pop/punk group tending towards pop, but usually not as sappy as your generic j-pop. They did have some sappy bits in a song or two, though.
More enthusiastic than skilled; the longer they played the less I liked them.
Honeysac @ Elysium’s Japan Nite
Very high energy mainly female Japanese hard rock. Their first gig in the US and they grabbed the Texas bull by the horns and ran with it. They had all the prime pop ingredients, but very abrupt transitions (both in audience participation and key changes).
REALLY high energy pop/rock girl band. The lead singer exhorted… nay, demanded that the crowd clap, hop, and sing along. Most of the crowd responded but I think these girls would have given it 100% even if only 3 people showed up.
Very charismatic and talented lead singer, and the rest of the band is really skilled too. Fun, upbeat, and hard working. I fully expect one of their songs to end up as an anime theme (which is not an insult-there are some very cool anime theme songs).
The Urges @ Red Eyed Fly
Freaking amazing. Maybe the new #1 of the gig. Very early Byrds with a completely wrecked early (pre tights) Mick Jagger. Best quote of that gig “I wrote this song so I could get a big prick in my arse”. Great intensity and competence. If the British Invasion starts over again, these guys will be kicking the balls of anyone who gets in the way.
Grapevine @ Elysium’s Japan Nite
Channeling a slight (very tiny) bit of Stone Roses twinkly bits but with more wailing vocals and half-as-long jams. Mix in a bit of Styx + INXS + late-era-slower-Cheap Trick and smack it with the generic pop hammer and you’ve got Grapevine. In Japanese.
Detroit 7 @ Elysium’s Japan Nite
Wow. This trio- guitarist/lead singer, drummer, and bass rocked! One of the most technically impressive bands I’ve seen, skill-wise, and they give it their all. I wasn’t sure if I liked the singer at first- she has a bit of a low, growly voice. When she opens up and really sings, she’s great.
The drummer plays like she’s having a seizure but she’s also really, really good. The bass player would only be called layed-back in comparison to the other two, since the whole band plays like they’re possessed.
Music ranged from good ‘ol fashioned rock ‘n roll to metal, and a mosh pit broke out at one point. Highly recommended.
James Harries @ St. David’s Episcopal Church
A solo singer/guitarist. Very low-key performance, and I’ve got to say it was a nice break from the faster-paced shows and general SXSW hustle and bustle, and I enjoyed it. This is the only show I’ve attended so far where I’ve felt comfortable removing my Etymotic earplugs.
He’s got a good voice, and he’s got passion. Look for his songs on Grey’s Anatomy soon.
Nellie McKay @ St. David’s Episcopal Church
Solo singer/ piano/ ukulele player. Good voice, witty and fun jazzy numbers that sometimes contain pop-culture references. She also has a love of traditional jazz numbers.
She’s also funny when she chats and jokes in between numbers. I would have loved to see this show in a small, smoky bar, as that seems like a perfect fit for her style. Not that there’s anything wrong with the church; it’s an excellent venue.
She had a nice selection of different songs that effectively showcased her talents. I didn’t expect to enjoy this show, but I had a great time.
The voice was a bit on the Tiny Tim side of things - works some places, but not others. Fortunately, it worked well in this place. Surprisingly mature in sound, lyric, and attitude for her age. It’ll be interesting to see where her life takes her.
Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned @ Esther’s Follies
While I loved this band’s name I wasn’t so crazy about their music. They have an 8-person group and possibly 30+ instruments between them, often swapping instruments mid-song.
That’s fairly impressive, but the music felt a bit jumbled and off here and there, almost as if they were stepping on each other’s toes. They’re still fairly unique and I expect some people would enjoy their show; I liked their last song of the night which was simply all of them singing together with acoustic guitar.
I counted the following: trumpets, slide trombone, tubas, french horns, a bandsaw, maracas, guitars (electric and acoustic), drums, harmonicas… I can’t help but ask why they don’t have more cowbell.
In their defense, they introduced themselves as all having crashed on some nice Austinite’s floor, so I can’t imagine any of them got much sleep before the gig. All things considered, for so many people changing so many instruments so quickly in such a small space, I’ve gotta give ‘em big kudos. Not entirely sure where their music was coming from, felt very gospel-sourced. Surprisingly comfortable, despite all the varied instruments.
She Creatures @ Esther’s Follies
Blue-haired space girls that would be at home in a ‘60s sci-fi movie. The band includes a Theremin player.
They had a very theatrical entrance set to music and including a smoke machine. Kind of sets the tone for the show, since they put on a good performance but their songs are hit & miss.
I got a kick out of a couple of the numbers, like “Sexy Robot”, and their attempt to massacre the crowd with a ray gun.
Blue-haired girls in silver 1-pieces with clear plastic skirts singing about sexy robots? What’s not to like! No, they’re not the tightest, most technically skilled band out there and they wont be winning any lyrical awards, but the lead singer’s Janice Joplin-esque pipes and the bands hooks still have me humming their tunes 2 days and 15 bands later.
Cary Brothers @ The Parish
Sara Bareilles @ The Parish
Beautiful and confident on the mic, Sarah playfully re-imagined several of her popular tracks and a lovely cover of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Wondferul, if short, set.
The Proclaimers @ The Parish
We showed up at the Parish amidst a poorly handled dynamic lineup - the Proclaimers played one song, a top-notch cover of Kings of Leon’s “17”, I’ve no idea how long they’ve been performing this song, but they nailed it spot on and beautifully. Shame they didnt stick around for more
HotelCafe all-star jam @ The Parish
A little bit disappointing for a jam. As we’d shown up partway throught the showcase, there were several band members on stage we didn’t recognize (and several notables that didn’t return, including the Proclaimers and Shara Bareilles). Sal on keyboards drove the closing group number, with the Cary Brothers’ guitarist and drummer keeping up. Most of the backup vocals apparently werent too familiar with the song or a bit too deep in the cups to keep up with the chorus. A bit of a let down outside of Sal’s enthusiasm. Made us all a bit sad that we weren’t able to make his own performance.
Zolof: the Rock n’ Roll Destroyer @ Maggie Maes
Fun, upbeat rock and roll. The lead singer (Rachael Minton) is more charismatic than talented, but the show was still a lot of fun. Bonus: they have a pirate song.
Second most enjoyable band we saw this night.
Total 80’s girl band feel, which is right up my alley. I totally fell in love with Rachel (then again, Keite says it’s all in the wig).
Fool’s Gold @ Dirty Dog
Hewbrew spiritual/drug rock. The band is fairly skilled but the lead singer isn’t at their level. It includes band members like a guy who randomly hits a drum pad (there’s already a drummer) when he’s not shaking gourds.
Several of the band members seemed really high, and I found myself wondering if I would enjoy their music more if I was taking whatever they were on.
Repetitive and dull, in the end I didn’t enjoy the show. Sure, people will dance if you have a decent beat, but if it’s just the same thing over for 5-10 minutes in a row only the really high or really drunk will appreciate it. I was bored.
Aww Lurple just doesnt have rhythm (or understand Hebrew?). I fully enjoyed the sound and energy through the entire set. Heavy on the percussion side, blending a little ska and Carribean/island vibe (not at all what I’d call drug rock).
Dananananaykroyd @ Dirty Dog
Super-high energy band, very good live show. These guys work! At one point the lead singer unplugged his mic while running around in the crowd.
Extremely friendly and cool group. Being infectiously enthusiastic, obviously having fun performing, and having the skills to back it up paid off: the crowd really liked them. So did I.
One of the singers gave me a hug at the finale, too.
Best show of the night- punk-pop with two drummers and a frontman that looks like Tilda Swinton. The frontman and one of the drummers swapped up drumming/singing duties several times, with both making frequent forays into the crowd. Feet still hurt from the pogo-ing.
The Gay Blades @ Dirty Dog
Bluesy rock. Only two members; guitarist/singer and drummer. These were some of the hardest working folks I saw all night; passionate and high energy. I wasn’t able to stay for the whole show, unfortunately.
I love seeing shows where the enterainers hold nothing back, these guys were terrific. Being a duo, they had plenty of free stage and the singer/guitarist used all of it, losing himself completely in the music and delivering a very passionate performance.
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head @ Dirty Dog
Just stuck around for the first two tracks of these guys before heading out - it’d been a long day. Also, I somehow ended up in the lead singer’s favorite pelvic thrust target zone. File under the blur of recent pop bands emerging from YouTube, GH/RB promos, and TV soundtracks.
Echo and the Bunnymen @ Emo’s
Pretty damn good live show. I’ve known about this band for ages but never actually listened to them (don’ t shoot me, I mostly review movies), but I’ll definitely consider picking up one of their CDs based of this performance.
I guess I would call this alternative/indie rock. I am sure that they’ve already been conveniently labeled by many others.
By far the most technically impressive band I saw tonight.