Tag Archives: James Mercer

SXSW Day 1: Music Blast Off!

Okay Day 1 of SXSW Music saw myself kick into full swing of the tunes here in Austin.  It also helped that it was St. Patrick’s Day.  Naturally, me and my lovely girlfriend started out the Irish way and then ended up in the good ole nonprofit way.  In between shows, we checked some cool local shops.  But the important thing stuff was the shows.  So let’s get to it.

St. Patrick’s Day is a day celebrated by Irish alcoholics across the world.  So what better way to do so than at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30.  The only band the caught my eye was And So I Watch From Afar.  Those guys did some instrumental rock riffs that rival that of Kyuss.  I also enjoyed a lovely pint of Guiness in celebration.  Great times indeed.

We hit up the shops and then the convention center to get our SXXpress pass for the NPR Music Showcase.  The lineup was huge and we made our way to Stubb’s BBQ about 2 hours before the show.  The line was already long so we were glad to use the new pass types and be first inside the show!  The outdoor venue is a great place to watch bands and also snack down on some great BBQ, even though it’s not as good Kansas City.

The first two bands were alright.  Visqueen opened up with some rock that didn’t put me to sleep.  The Walkmen stepped on stage next and they rocked out in an almost Coldplay type style.  The lead singer hit the high notes well but really didn’t punch it through on the emotional side of things. The next three bands were the ones we really wanted to see.

Broken Bells is a collaboration of Danger Mouse and James Mercer.  They had a tough act to follow but they mellowed things out for the final performance.  The esoteric nature of their songs led to us jamming out but for some reason it didn’t fit perfectly with the line up.  It seems this is more headphone music than concert music.  That said, I’m anxious to sit down and listen to this album when I get back.

Spoon was the last show of the night and the Austin based rocked out pretty well.  We didn’t stay for the whole show and I missed the one song I really wanted to hear from them.  The show was swinging, however.  The crowd head bobbed pretty well even though they played until after 1am.  All in all good stuff from these guys.

The show of the night was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.  The soul funk from Brooklyn had the crowd moving the whole time on stage.  Sharon Jones held the crowd in her hands and pulled strings of funk for the whole set.  If you ever want to get your funk down, check them out.  You won’t regret it.  And you won’t regret tuning in tomorrow for the next update.  Until then, off to more shows!