This chocolate covered bacon I just ate is starting to be all acid refluxy. Looks like it’s time to wrap up the SXSW music experience! I’m sitting here in the hotel chilling out saving up juice for the long drive back tomorrow. The bacon treat came courtesy of a specialty candy shop down on South Congress in Austin. Much like the sweet release of flavor both the chocolate and bacon provides my taste buds, the SXSW Music Showcase provided the sweet release of sounds to my ears. Here’s my highlights of the whole shebang:
- Mariachi El Bronx really kicked off the tunes even though I saw them at the Interactive closing party. The happy bounce I had in the chair came from when I discovered that they were, in fact, The Bronx and they decided to take the Mariachi route from their hard rock road.
- Sharon Jones and Dap kings stole the NPR opening night showcase. Look, Spoon’s great and Austin local, but the party music and soul motions Jones and company brought to the stage eclipsed everyone else’s performances.
- Muse delivered. I have yet to see them and now I can say that the live show is worth every penny. They do so much more on stage than just play their songs. I’m now even more of a fan of Muse than what I was before they hit the stage.
- Street Sweeper Social Club rocked harder than anyone else out here. Even more so than F@#$ed Up. Maybe it was the funk tones or the fact I got to see Tom Morrello work his magic. It doesn’t matter. The show was the only one I was at where the crowd actually all jumped up and down.
- Miike Snow impressed me and the whole crowd. They fused together clear tones of electronic bleeps and bloops with some distorted guitar jams to create a sound that touched everyone at the Mohawk. You know what? Wave Machines did that too.
- Ray Davies can still kick you in the face with his music. The Kinks patriarch played about 2/3 of his show as you would expect from an old rock. He was all acoustic and reminiscent. Then all of the sudden, The 88 came out and they all brought the house down with some Kinks classics and new tunes.
- Gordon Gano can play the violin. I didn’t know he could but he showed off his pluckiness with the wooden instrument with the Ryan Brothers. He totally dipped into the Violent Femmes well so it was a guaranteed win of a show.
That’s all I can remember off the top of my head. There were so many high points, it’s hard to remember them all. Well that and the bacon is starting to hit. I’m sure in the ebb and flow of recovery this week I’ll figure it out.
Man alive today was all over. I counted and I saw about15 or so different bands. Some big and some small, with surprises in between. So, in the interest of keeping things brief and at the suggestion of my lovely girlfriend, I will bullet blast what I thought was the better stuff of SXSW Music Day 2:
- The first stop of the day saw us hit up the Canadian party and Dehli 2 Dublin. What you say? Dublin, Ireland and Dehli, India from Canada? Yup, this bouncy world mash up made the day start out tasty. On top of the egg and tortilla gobblety gook.
- After they hit the stage, The Soft Pack A.D. rocked the joint big time. Think of the White Stripes except the genders reversed. Very bluesy and driving.
- On the way to one stop, the guys from F@#$ed Up put on an inpromptu show in front of Beer Land. The hefty, shirtless lead singer guy ran through some Nirvana and Sex Pistols covers, mixing in their original stuff. I was lucky enough to get some hardcore rock fixins as it was hard for me to find some time to fit it in on the trip.
- The said stop just happened to be Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers at Valhalla. Gordo, if you don’t know, is the lead singer of the Violent Femmes. He’s got a new group and he’s sporting a violin. They played some new songs and reimagined some old ones. We loved the show and were lucky that we saw them in such a small venue.
- I bounced around for a bit and made a pit stop at the Zone Lounge for some shwag and yet another Zone Energy Bar. What I didn’t expect was to catch a great singer songwriter by the name of Danny Malone. With acoustic guitar in hand and harmonica in mouth, Danny evoked emotion out of everyone in attendance and I’m checking this guy out the next he comes around Kansas City.
- The Everything, Everything show later on was pretty tight. They switched between keyboards with laptops and guitars. The sound was a math rock or intelligent music sense but just a bit off. Complex structures flowed out but made a quick turn here and there to keep you into the groove.
- I left before Everything, Everything finished to head on to my big show of the night. When I got to La Zona Rosa, it was much earlier than expected. Fortunately, The 88 filled the time nicely. The lead singer/guitarist had a Buddy Holly look with a much higher pitched voice. The were consistent in they lovely dovey rock and roll. I would play this in the car on the way to the hill to make out with my girlfriend.
- Ray Davies took the stage after The 88. If you don’t know who he is, you need to have hour face rocked. Davies was the lead singer of the great classic band, The Kinks. His songwriting was his strength and he brought out a great showcase of that with him and some other guy on acoustic guitar. Not soon after, however, he brought out The 88 to join him on stage to rock the joint. The Kinks rocked back in the day and Davies still pushing forward. Davies and The 88 even wrote a song for the show the night before. Very, very cool.
Now not all of the acts were as cool, but it’s all good. There is just so much to consume here it can get overwhelming. I’m just lucky enough to dip my toes in and catch some of the stream. My toes are certainly sore from all the walking.