Monday, March 22, 2010

SXSW day crawl - Thu, day 2

Thursday, we were back at the Hilton nice and early, and again got a great table with comfy chairs right in front of the stage. We saw 3 up-and-coming bands that we didn’t know much about but probably should have. We saw Dawes, Frightened Rabbit, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Now, sometimes at radio gigs you might be seeing a stripped-down version of the full band, but it still sounds good.

Dawes (CA) had really impressive vocal harmonies and songwriting. I might describe what I heard as Fleet Foxes gone Americana, singing a Jackson Browne song with Avett Brothers flair. Jeez, that didn't make sense. No wonder I don't write critiques for a living. Anyway, I intend to buy a CD. I felt sorry for them on Saturday, because their official SXSW showcase was on the big free outdoor stage at Auditorium Shores, a great opportunity for exposure, and the weather was foul and windy and cold, plus the grounds were very muddy from the previous night's rainstorm.

Frightened Rabbit (Scotland) was just a couple of guys with guitars (on this morning). I learned that the radio feed was not really live but a bit on delay when the lead singer uttered "this is fucked" because of a mis-managed capo, then played a song with the same word in it, and the radio folks didn't freak out at all. Great drinking music, I don't care what time of day it is, and coffee will suffice.

Carolina Chocolate Drops (NC) had come recommended beforehand, and they didn't disappoint. Their sound is old-timey, gypsy, hillbilly, folk, gospel, very, very rootsy -- then they mix it up good, all in the same pot. We really do hope they come back here (look at previous posting for video from this event).

After the Hilton, we went to 2nd Paste party. The first band on was Damion Suomi (FL), (yes, that's the name of the band leader). They've got a hard Irish folkie sound, strong percussion. I liked them.

They had one of our favorites on next, Shearwater. They are an Austin band, but we don't get to see them very often here as they mostly tour, and mostly in Europe. They've got a beautiful, eclectic sound. A couple of pics of Shearwater:

Even though there were some possibly interesting bands coming up, we decided to see what was out there on 6th.

Who could resist this kitten?

yup, pretty much everywhere...

loading in

We were planning on seeing Or, The Whale at the Beauty Bar, but that place was a sardine tent with maximum volume (was in no mood for that) so we opted for lunch at Koriente next door, and caught the bus to a far south coffee shop (The Stompin' Grounds) and saw Rocky Votolato (Seattle, WA) and Ben Sollee (Louisville, KY)/Daniel Martin Moore. I wasn't familiar with Rocky, but he was excellent. We were there to see Ben (cellist, pop/folk singer/songwriter).

It was 5:30 and we'd hit the streets at 7am so we headed home. A great day with great weather (just like Wednesday).

{addendum: Statesman gallery Day 2}


Debra She Who Seeks said...

So do people come from all over the U.S. to take in this festival? It looks wonderful.

Blueberry said...

It's the biggest music festival in the world, with around 2,000 acts officially booked from 55 countries, and no one knows how many if you count un-officials. People come here from all over the world.


I year I'm coming up for a shady lane visit and doing the looks like a great time..

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Well, you've educated me! Everything really IS bigger in Texas, I guess!

Professor Chaos said...

I heard Carolina Chocolate Drops on the radio once, driving back from South Carolina. I just assumed they were an old band from way-back-when. I had no idea they were current. Thanks for setting me straight.