Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Peter Walker [American space physicist; researcher at Rice Univ; contractor for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Space Science Div.] quotes —

“…..The supreme arrogance of religious thinking ~~ that a carbon-based bag of mostly water on a speck of iron-silicate dust around a boring dwarf star in a minor galaxy in an underpopulated local group of galaxies in an unfashionable suburb of a super cluster would look up at the sky and declare, “it was all made so that I could exist!”

I've seen this quote here and there, and can't verify whether the quote is genuine or not, but that part doesn't matter as much as the fact that it's an awesome quote.

We might be made of stardust, but we are not stars.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Zombie Day and The End

We got downtown early enough to be able to head back to the Waterloo Records parking lot to see The Zombies, a band I have loved since I was about 12. They still have enough principal original people in the band to keep their credentials and sound solid (with Colin Blunstone, lead vocals, and Rod Argent, keyboards).
The Zombies

Some old footage:

We saw them at noon, then again at 2pm down the street at a bike shop (where KEXP of Seattle was hosting their SXSW live broadcasts). We were pretty close at the Waterloo parking lot stage, but really just inches away at the bike shop. Tickled pink.

Our friend who was with at the KEXP show drove us over to Threadgill's for the Folk Alliance party, which was certainly the most relaxed and easiest event of the week. You could go inside or out, order dinner and drinks, sit wherever you like, listen to good music, and chat with friends. I finally got to see Willie Nile (after years of recommendations) and he was good - also a blast when he came out to dance with the audience.

Willie Nile and dancer

It was Saturday afternoon and time to start winding it down for the week. We don't don't anything on Southby Sunday, even if it IS St. Paddy's Day. Dem's da rules (unwritten). We headed down to South Congress to hit the big stage at SXSJ (South by San Jose), another parking lot and just jammed full of folks. MrB was a hero and wiggled us up to the front, where we got to see Dawes for the last time. Here is a well-recorded video of one of their shows from the week.

We saw:
Caroline Brooks, Courrier, Seryn, The Preservation, Emily Reid, The Royalty, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Quiet Company, Dawes, Delta Spirit, John McCauley, Kopecky Family Band, Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons, Quiet Life, The Lone Bellow, Guards, Foxygen, Michael Fracasso, Nels Andrews, Nathan Hamilton, Birds of Chicago, von Grey, Shakey Graves, Milk Carton Kids, The Dunwells, Billy Bragg, Jesca Hoop, Frightened Rabbit, Alt-J, Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, The Relatives, The Mavericks, Emmylou Harris with Rodney Crowell, The Zombies, Trey Hawkins, Willie Nile, Sahara Smith, Heartless Bastards.

43 shows, 38 acts (a few more than once, accounting for there being more shows than acts).

A pig and a unicorn went downtown...

"Goodnight Austin Texas... wherever you are."
-- Frank Zappa, Armadillo World Headquarters, 1975
-- Jack White, Austin City Limits, 2012

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Day at the Park(ing Lot)

Friday was easily planned.
(A) Go to Waterloo Records.
(B) Stay all day.

Waterloo's SXSW day shows have outgrown the inside of their record store (which actually hosted Iggy Pop & the Stooges in 2007, INSIDE the store from a tiny stage), and have more recently been held in the parking lot. The line waiting to get in was about a block long, but we still did great and ended up on the front rail. It was at capacity all day, and you can see why from this stunning lineup:

Frightened Rabbit, Alt-J, Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, The Relatives, The Mavericks, and Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell

The Mavericks featuring Raul Malo

All folks that I either already loved or was wanting to see for the first time (Alt-J being in that category). It was all great, and there were autograph opportunities after each performance, for those willing to lose their concert turf and go into the store, that is... someone not me.

Here's The Mavericks with one of their badass new songs:

The legendary Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

My 70s Goddess - I've only seen her once before and it was from back in the cheap seats. These free 'seats' proved to be much better. A sweet day.

Hop, skip and jump around

Golden glitter cowboy boots had been wrapped around high wires in several places around town. How they got there is a mystery.

As yesterday, we started at the Paste party at the crack of noon. The first band was “von Grey,” which we knew absolutely nothing about… turns out they are a very listenable group of 4 young sisters who sing and play various acoustic instruments (very well), and for lack of a better description I would say they play contemporary pop/grass Americana with just a slight Nashville flavor. Wow - that was a genre salad. See what you think:

We left Paste (The Stages on Sixth) after von Grey and walked some blocks over to the Pandora Discovery Den, which is usually known as Antone’s nightclub (that is until it moves to the Eastside this week). They have great lineups as well, and it’s really pleasant and cool inside. Also, maybe a bit less crowded than some other places because you need to RSVP for a wristband (which is free) and they don’t have free refreshments. Anyway, it makes for a nice atmosphere. We saw Shakey Graves, an Austin-based singer/songwriter who I highly recommend - a little along the lines of John Fullbright and maybe some Ryan Bingham flavor in my opinion - lots of soul. We talked with his manager while we were waiting in line. He was a really nice guy from Canada, although his name escapes me.

Next up was the Milk Carton Kids from Los Angeles. They reminded me of Gillian Welch/Dave Rawlings (esp. Dave's guitar), Chad and Jeremy, early Simon and Garfunkel... and their stage banter was dry and funny like the Smothers Brothers. Sweet stuff.
Milk Carton Kids

We left Antone's and hiked over to the Whole Foods rooftop just in time to catch The Dunwells from Leeds UK. I really like those guys, they are good and lots of fun to watch too. Go and see them if you can. This picture looks pretty comical where the guitar player on the right in concerned.
The Dunwells

The East/West bus was uselessly slow, so we walked back to Antone's in time for Billy Bragg and Dawes (3rd time). I have wanted to see Billy Bragg for years. Checked another one off of the must-see list.
Billy Bragg

Yet another hike back west got us in to see Jesca Hoop, who has a beautiful and hypnotic vocal and guitar style. We sat cross-legged on the floor in a really terrible music venue for her, but during southby there is live music coming from every nook and cranny.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wednesday Day Shift

It was hard to be at the bus stop, all packed for the day, at 9:30AM after not getting to bed until around 3:00 the same morning. On the bus ride ride in, there was a big thump of a noise in front of us. A motorcycle and car had collided right in front of the bus. The rider was wearing a helmet, and fortunately was able to be helped to the curb, possibly injured but alive. The driver of the car was an old man who I think was probably too old be still be operating such dangerous machinery - but tragedy was averted, as far as we could tell.

We started out at the Wednesday Paste party, they never fail to present a lineup that's very impressive in quality. The venue is a great place to see a band, there's a stage indoors and one outdoors in the back under a tent... and real working bathrooms (not a small benefit, esp. for a woman in the SXSW throngs). They also have (free while they last) t-shirts, good beer, and cold Honest Tea. Yum.

The Lone Bellow was one of our must-sees, and they blew us away. Spectacular! Three strong voices to make you tingle and swoon. Also saw Guards, Foxygen (a young band channeling some mid-sixties and sound and style), and then Dawes (again) (I will try to hold back the gushing for now).
The Lone Bellow



There was time for lunch at Koriente, a hike to the bus stop and headed south for Guero's Taco Bar courtyard - something called South-by-Soupfest, a benefit for the homeless shelter. It's a nice area for hanging out, big trees, picnic tables and benches, kids (and adults) romping it up and dancing. Watched several great local and not-so-local singer/songwriters before another of our must-see bands came up - Birds of Chicago (from Chicago and Canada). Soooo wonderful, so under the radar too. LOVE. Here's the scene right after sundown.

A fine day with beautiful weather.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tuesday rowdiness

We went to the Dyn party last year, so this year when I RSVP'd they sent a code for VIP status. That meant that in addition to the free music we got free drinks, food, and swag (lighted tambourines, sunglasses, t-shirt, backpack, and hardcover journal), plus access to the side balconies where it was a teeny tiny bit less crowded.

A great, high-energy lineup, including Kopecky Family Band, John McCauley (Deertick, Diamond Rugs, Middle Brother) Delta Spirit and Dawes.

Delta Spirit's singer Matt Vasquez has been known to do some acrobatic stuff, and I hope he always makes it back down safely. Fun to watch... but OH NOOOOOOO!

First time to see John McCauley after wanted to see him for a year or so. This was the first of FOUR Dawes shows for us during SXSW, but I believe they played 14 times so it's not like we went to all of them. ;-) SXSW shows range from about 15 minutes to maybe 45, with most being a half-hour.

This was the hardest party to do for us because MrB had to work all day after getting up at 5:00am (not me though, I took Tuesday off). Then we hustled over to the bus transit center. The ride in went smoothly but the ride home with the "Night Owl route" (running on detours due to festival traffic), not knowing exactly where to catch it and then overshooting the transit center because - hey - I didn't not know they CLOSED it... sheesh... but we were walking on blisters after 7 hours of standing for music - and the half-hour commute took 2.5 hours.

Worth it? Yes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Our day-party kickoff

We have already started our week-long SXSW music party as of yesterday. This one took place on the rooftop of the Whole Foods HQ, where it is always windy (and they really should install some turbines). It was a really good lineup with Seryn, What Made Milwaukee Famous, headliners Quiet Company and several others. I have already started working on my sunburn (or maybe this one is a windburn)! Here is Quiet Company:

Our next event is on Tuesday. Bring it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Party business, it's March!

Hellloooo! Yes, I'm still alive and well - better than usual, in fact. My foot is healing up and it looks like I'm going to be left with some permanent aching and swelling, but it hurts less than the cyst that was removed, so I can live with it... at least I hope so.

We have not gone out as much for live music lately (have been cocooned in the house a lot, watching DVDs and such, even during nice weather... for shame!) but will make up for it in about a week when SXSW music kicks in. I have been very busy keeping track of all the day parties and their lineups, sending RSVPs and such, and making decisions soon. Lots of bands I love and some I want to see for the first time. Really going to try and see Dawes, The Lone Bellow, Emmylou Harris with Rodney Crowell, The Zombies (yup... returned from the 60s), Billy Bragg, maybe John Hiatt, maybe Divine Fits, maybe Birds of Chicago, Richard Thompson, The Dunwells, Delta Spirit, John McCauley, Josh Ritter, Alt-J... looking for wonderfulness and hoping our feet and backs hold up.

Someday, we will be too old for this.