Monday, March 23, 2009

SXSW Day Crawl Four


Above: a mural on the south side of the Mean-Eyed Cat Bar.
Below: the view from the same spot facing west.

The Mean-Eyed Cat is a really funky little bar and music venue. Here it is not long after it opened. It used to be a chainsaw repair shop and is located by the railroad tracks - and it looks great as a bar with its Johnny Cash motif. It used to fit in with the surrounding places until the 5th Street Commons wiped out everything nearby and all but swallowed the Cat.

The construction is further along than in this picture below showing what is east of the bar, but you can get the idea of how sterile the new buildings look. The condos share a patio with the Cat (where the arrow points), and they go together like pickled beets and popsicles.

Anyway, we finished the week at Mojo Magazine’s party at the Mean-Eyed Cat. First up was David Thomas Broughton, who is described as having "his own unique blend of off-kilter folk"... to say the least, yes. I might describe him as how I would imagine Crispin Glover if he took up being a singer-songwriter... as different as he could be and made us laugh out loud quite a few times. He was a hoot. Make it two hoots. And a holler.

The Proclaimers are a duo of identical twin brothers from Scotland. They had kind of an early 60s folk-pop sound that I liked.

Dan Auerbach
OK, (of course) I have not only heard of the Black Keys but have heard nothing but raves about them - but I admit that really wasn't familiar with the music. This was a HUGE treat to see Dan Auerbach (half of the Black Keys), especially at such close range and in a cool little venue rather than on a big festival stage or amphitheatre. Wow. I wish that we'd taken video, but you can listen at the (myspace) link above.

Shearwater, one of my new favorite local bands. This is Rooks. I also recorded Hail, Mary that preceded it, but Google Video is being uncooperative (it's too big for Youtube).

This is from their bio and does a much better job of describing them than I can do with my quaint writing style:
Hailed as "almost impossibly majestic and beautiful" (NPR), Shearwater's Palo Santo (2007, Matador), a suite of ethereal but oddly disquieting art-rock songs loosely centered around the life and death of singer Christa Paffgen (aka Nico), marked the Texan quartet's debut on the national stage. The New York Times named the album one of the year's very best, and the band's singular combination of sonic abandon and restraint, spun around the soaring, otherworldly voice of part-time ornithologist Jonathan Meiburg - drew comparisons to late-period Talk Talk and both the lovely and anxious moments of Eno's early solo work.
OK, I am hooked on their sound, but new to them nonetheless, and didn't yet realize that Palo Santo was partly about Nico. I loved Nico - I loved her deep voice, and thought she was incredibly beautiful.

The Mojo party finished us up for the festival, and we left soon after Shearwater played. Eventually I will have a lot more photos of all 4 days posted on my website (look for a Facebook announcement of that). We had a great time. The only disappointments have to do with not being able to be in multiple places at once.

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