Click to enlarge photos, as always. On the bus again today. At noon, started the day at Threadgill's, where they were actually having 2 parties, one indoors and one out. We watched Ray Bonneville (pictured) indoors while waiting for them to cook up a Garden Burger with fries to go (outside). He's a Canadian singer-songwriter who lives in Austin sometimes, and I sure don't blame him for choosing Austin right now with this gorgeous weather we are having.
Outdoors was a west coast band I found some time back on MySpace and liked their sound: Or, The Whale (pictured above). They put on a fantastic show, and another west coast band followed called Blind Pilot.
Blind Pilot brought some chuckles to the crowd by thanking everyone for coming out on such a hot day. It was maybe 80°, Spring weather here, not considered hot at all. Then they explained by saying they'd been traveling up north where it was freezing, etc. Anyway, both bands were really fantastic and I'd love to see them again. Not sure how often they make to these parts though. In between the sets on the main Threadgill's stage were short acoustic sets that were from Jackie Bristow (pictured) and Audrey Auld. Jackie is an Austin transplant from New Zealand and Audrey is an Aussie. Both were very good. Threadgill's (outdoor garden) is an extremely pleasant place to go and hear music - food, drinks, sun, shade trees, fried okra. We hung around just long enough to see Wavy Gravy come in. He's in town for the World Premiere of Saint Misbehavin', a documentary about him. We got our picture taken with him. The woman taking the picture at first was using her own camera, and of course, we made her use ours - and during this process Wavy said "This woman has photos hanging in the Smithsonian." And sure enough, her name was Lisa Law, and this is her site, do check it out. (Nooo, I'd rather not post the picture. I look as old and frumpy as he does in it, and it's not Smithsonian quality).
On to Jo's Coffee, South by San Jose!
Jo's is a really nice place to be anytime. Normally the back lot is parking for the San Jose Hotel next door, but they have music and movie events there regularly, including music parties during SXSW. It's very dog-friendly, and I couldn't resist this guy with his tongue sticking out. There were also cool kiosk shops set up, selling t-shirts and stuff, like the one pictured. At 4pm there was a band from the UK called Wild Beasts, and they had a good sound. One of the things I love about this festival is that a lot of the musicians playing don't really get to the States much at all, and lots of them had never been here before, (although not saying this is the case with this band) and Austin (during south-by) is their first impression of an American town. Also you hear a lot more accents on the streets from all over the world and are just as likely to meet people from Sweden or Belgium as Illinois.
Jo's had the volume and the subwoofer cranked to an unreasonable level (my gauge for that is whether it still hurts when my earplugs are in) for the next 2 bands: Hill Country Revue and The Mother Hips. Hill Country Revue had a real strong Allman Brothers vibe, but what made them stand out was the washboard plugged into the pedal board. Never heard anything like that in my life. Amazing. But very, very loud.
Our main focus for the day was to see Gary Louris and Mark Olson (Jayhawks) at 7, followed by the Alejandro Escovedo at 8. Alejandro’s show involved his 16 (give or take) piece orchestra, and was a pretty big media event, being filmed. He’s one of the most popular local musicians (and by that I mean popular in Austin) and his shows will always sell out quickly – plus he’s had a lot of success with his latest record, and frequently sharing the stage lately with Bruce Springsteen never hurts… plus this being a free show the crowd was packed in pretty good. I like Alejandro quite a bit, but we LOVE The Jayhawks. I would pick this show by Louris and Olson as the highlight of the week. The Jayhawks have been officially broken up for a few years, but these two and their harmonies are the essence of them. Gives me chills. We took some video, this is “Over My Shoulder” from the Jayhawks 1995 release Tomorrow The Green Grass. No earplugs needed.
Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra followed, but we only stayed for a few songs. The volume was back up to eleven again and my feet were killing me. Really, I wanted to savor the previous hour. A quick snapshot of the band and back on the bus for home.