Sunday, March 20, 2011

SXSW Day 1, Wednesday

We actually started out on Tuesday night at the jazz club, the Elephant Room, to see Chris Maresh play standup bass with a jazz quartet. On Wednesday we hit the bus stop early and ended up first in line for the Paste party, which is always good. Waiting in line, I took a few street shots. It was 11:30AM so not that many people were up and out yet.

Some Texas Rollergirls were signing people up for a raffle.
This is great, but how did he manage to enjoy free drinks and noms?

Like always, we don't necessarily know much about the bands we are going to see. I try to listen ahead of time but trying to cover all the options gets frenzied. At Paste, we saw Ponderosa, Futurebirds, The Civil Wars, and Trampled by Turtles. Enjoyed them all. Paste does a good job in their lineups.

The Civil Wars were a band that I'd heard on the radio just a few days previous, and had one of those moments where I HAVE to stop and make note of who that was... so I was glad that we got to see them. They are absolutely enchanting... their voices, songwriting, charisma. The novelty aspect of them (and I know that novelty should not be important, but in fact, it does help with the success of a band - that's just cold reality) is that JP White, the male singer, looks almost exactly like Johnny Depp. A dead ringer. We bought their CD and it is gorgeous.

Broom guitar, taken through the window. By this time, every place up and down the street is blaring with live music. I got a kick out of this guy standing outside Death Metal Pizza across the street.

Trampled by Turtles.
This is what I would call a progressive high-energy band with a bluegrass vibe. There is probably not a turtle in the world that could keep up with them.All those big heads on the mural painting look kind of freaky in the background IMHO.

We headed out after TBT, had a fantastic vegan lunch at Koriente, and walked 6th street to get to the bus stop. Austin's Quiet Company was giving out free hugs. Yes, I got mine!!
6th street busker
It really helps if you have a puppy with you

Went down to South Congress where Jo's was kicking off their daily parties* with an all-day Beatle song event. It's advertised as The Eggmen (a local Beatles cover band) plus ukulele. That part was true, except that they were bringing in multiple bands, one after the other, to play a couple of Beatle tunes each. This is Tornado Rider which features a wild-ass cello. Wow!!! I'd been wanting to see them anyway and this appearance was a complete surprise for me.

We watched a few bands playing Beatle songs, including The Kin from Australia, and walked down the road to Guero's Taco Bar courtyard* to see Monahans.This is how they describe themselves (so much easier than me coming up with a description in this case):
Austin-based band Monahans (not "The Monahans"), named for the desolate West Texas sand hills, balances thundering rhythms and atmospheric "landscape rock" with urgent pop anthems and spiritual campfire balladry (think Explosions In the Sky + R.E.M + Neil Young)
Had been wanting to see them for awhile and finally got our chance. There was a good vibe at Guero's, and I won some 'house concert' tickets in a raffle.

I recommend every band I've mentioned here. If I don't really care for somebody, I tend to just not even mention them. I am not a music critic, and almost nothing gets ugly faster than repercussions over the "that band sucked" type of postings.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Temps in the high 70s and a bit overcast. There was a strong wind blowing, but sometimes that feels good too.

* The parties at Jo's Coffee are called "South by San Jose" or SXSJ. At Guero's they are "Comboplate, South by SoupFest" and benefit a homeless shelter.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've been thinking of you this week and hoping that you're having a blast!

Blueberry said...

Yes, and feeling blasted about now. Some of my friends are still going. Not us though.