Jump to content

SXSW was absolutely amazing!


Recommended Posts

Holy shit. I've been meaning to write a little review of my week down in Austin since I got back.

[blurb]First off, Austin is a beautiful city - most residents will say say they don't feel like they're a part of Texas. The downtown core apears to be 97% bars - bars beside bars beside bars. And every joint turns into a venue during SXSW. Hey... you've got an empty parking lot? Put up a tent and it's a venue. No one's in that phone booth (or ATM booths they have down there!!)???.... it's a venue too. Quite overwhelming but suprisingly easy to digest.[/blurb]

We started off the week with our own showcase. We played at the Whisky Bar at 10pm Wednesday night. Charlie Sexton sat in with us the whole show, playing a couple electric guitars, acoustic, and mando-guitar. It was awesome - added some nice studio sounds we hadn't reproduced live yet. So, first day there, first show, and now we're done. 4 more nights (and days as we were to learn) of drinking and music.

After we dealt with our gear, Charlie took us to his favourite spot, THE CONTINENTAL CLUB, for some drinks, where I saw probably my favourite band of the whole week. It wasn't even a SXSW show - it was this Wednesday night house band upstairs in this Orbit Room-ish kind of place. Almost like a One Step Beyond, with different singers, horn players, old blind insane keyboardists and percussionists drifiting on and off stage. I didn't catch their name though. Lots of booze.

Thursday afternoon, we caught EARL GREYHOUND on a back patio on 7th. They were pretty good... but after they finished we heard a familiar voice from the patio next door (there were at least 3 bands playing all withing feet of each other on different patios). It was Ron Sexsmith... so we went over, had a few and watched his solo set. US labelmate (Keifer Sutherland's IRONWORKS) Rocco Deluca sat in for a song and did his own set afterwards. We were hoping Jack Bauer himself would be there, as it was party for his label's distributor, but no luck. More beer.

We tried to get in to the STAX review (Booker T and the MGs, Iassac Hayes, William Bell and Eddie Floyd) at Antone's but didn't make it... too big of a line. So we went to check out a set by CHARLIE SEXTON at his friend's Hot Rod Shop in the Southside. Dinner of Chicken Fried Steak, tequila and beer. Then it was off to catch Ian Maclagan of THE FACES. Fantastic!

Friday afternoon should've started slow, but by 2 we were on a rooftop at a JANE magazine party, drinking free vodka and munching paninis in the sun, waiting for SLOAN to play at 6. Too many drinks later, Sloan played and they were great. On fire. I hadn't seen them since the Twice Removed tour. All these sets were around the 40 minute mark... nice and quick. After that we went to see Charlie play again with blues legend RAY SHARPE - famous for writing LINDA LOU, one of the most familiar licks in rock and blues history. It was more cool to have seen it than to actually watch it. We picked up a guitar from Charlie and went back to our hotel. The rest of night we saw John Hammond Jr, Land of Talk and Ron Sexsmith with full band. All good. We ended up at the Continental Club again and caught a bit of John Lee Graham.

Pete played a solo set Saturday afternoon at a Nick Drake themed party at Cabana Halle, and we returned there later for more free drinks. Champagne!!! Woo hoo.... a nice buzz indeed. POWERSOLO from Denmark were playing in the tent. They totally won me over with their Jon Spencer hillbilly twang antics. Smoke smoke smoke! The night was going to be busy for shows....lots going on. First on the list was Gavin's choice, MASTODON. Fucking wow. They were Grrrrreat. They played an outdoor field show for a couple thousand people and were loud and fast. Then it was off to see the GOLDEN DOGS. I hadn't seen them before but had been hanging out with a few of the guys that week drinking. They had some sound issues, but generally kicked ass. Then it was off to see Charlie's own set at ANTONE'S. It was cool to see him play his own stuff.... but not necessarily my favourite kind of suff. Hi sbrother, Will Sexton played a bit with him that night. After Charlie, the TRAGICALLY HIP were playing the same room. 500 or so capacity.... I hadn't seen them ina room that small in a long long time. They're not my favoutite band, but they were on fire that night for sure. They sounded great and killed the crowd.

Mastodon, Powersolo and the Continental house band (along with the insane amount of free booze and BBQ) were the hightlights for me. There was so much good music going on that there was a lot of incredible stuff we missed, but still had a very fullfilling musical week regardless. I can't say enough good stuff about this festival. Wow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great review, I had no idea William Bell was still gigging. He's one of my favourites for sure.

The crazy venues is funny - I saw a picture somewhere online last night of 3 or four bands lined up in adjacent parking spaces in a garage, waiting for their turn to play. If I can find it again I'll post it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We ate at this place called THE SHADY GROVE, and I asked my Texan fiend Kyle what I should have. With no hesitation he said 'Chicken Fried Steak'.

I tried asking what the chicken part of it was (there was no chicken with it), but couldn't really get an answer out of him. He said I HAD to get the white gravy stuff on top.

It was delicious. Crispy lightly battered steak with white gravy goop on top. Super heart attack dinner - definately the last one I'll eat in a while... but it was good.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's sooo cool Jeff!! When i played down there in 91' we ate at the shady grove as well. They were serving these shakers full of tequila magaretas so strong there was a limit of only one per customer.. I saw Janes Addiction in front of 200 people at the most.. Saw so many bands over the 5 days can't remember them all now but the hightlight for me was going to Antones to see "the ice man" Albert Collins with a thirteen piece band. WOW am I flashing back with joy.. I wish we had more time last sat. nite to talk about it..

Knowing that there are so many deversified music fans on this board I can only say this... Make SXSW a destination whenever you can!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...