Sunday, March 22, 2009

SxSWm - Saturday

The last day, and man are my dogs barking.

Panels

The Hold Steady Interview and Doug Sahm's Mendocino

I attempted to sit through a bit of both of these panels. I guess I was paneled out.

Neil Young Archives

Apparently Neil Young had been in town for 48 hours, but no secret shows. His manager however, was present to talk about the release of Vol 1 of Neil's Archives (a 10 Blu-ray set).

This is an extremely interesting project. Apparently, Neil and his manager have archives and recordings all the back to Neil's first band, the Squires. In fact, he says that they have recordings of almost every single show or concert for 40 years.

The release of the first volume will also be accompanied by a new documentary by Jonathan Demme. There was a screening at the Paramount for Badge holders, but it seems to me that it would have better to start it during the film festival. The time was inopportune and conflicted with several music shows.

The entire archive is expected to be 4 or 5 volumes in total, and will be probably take 25-30 years to be released. What they showed at the talk was incredible. I'm hoping that it is released on Netflix, because although I want to watch it, I'm not sure I would want to spend the money on the first 10 of what will be approximately 50 discs. I think it's fantastic that they had enough foresight to archive the material.

Shows

Afternoon at the HiLo

My buddies Ed Martinez and Dave Johnson (AMA winners for their band, More Cowbell) had their respective fusion bands Proteus and Ugly Elephant at the HiLo again this year. It was a fun time, the windows were open, and the music was great.
Proteus at the HiLo
Ugly Elephant at the HiLo

Echo and the Bunnymen at the DirecTV Bat Bar

This was the first time I had ever seen this band. There were some initial problem with the sound, with a low bass rumble. They eventually squared those away. They also managed to fit Lips like Sugar into the set before they finished.

Sparks the Rescue at the Cedar Door

After finishing dinner, I caught one song by this band. It was post-punk, power pop with the singer using a affected British accent. Seemed ok, I probably would have stayed for several songs if I had gotten there earlier.

Marc Winston and the Reflections at Prague

I had no idea where Prague was, until I arrived and saw that it was another converted Dance Club. No matter, the band was good. They were from LA, and had late 80's pop sound, reminiscent of Tommy Tutone or Greg Kihn. I enjoyed the set and stayed for its entirety.

Kudos to the band for driving from Los Angeles.
The Reflections at Prague

Zaki Ibriham at Buffalo Billiards

Stopped for one song, saw there was no band. Sorry, next.

Theoretical Girl at Latitude 30

For the past few years, Latitude 30 has been painted and set up as the UK Music hub during SxSW. What intrigues me is that I'm not sure what the building is used for otherwise. I will have to solve this mystery soon. (Perhaps it's like the old Coppertank Brewpub which was also open this past week).

I caught two songs from this British act which consisted of two females and a mercenary backing band. Interesting pop, not my cup of tea however.

The Tap Room

Golden Hornet Project

I showed up mainly to see Graham's band. If nothing else, he should get an award for cramming 5 of the 7 people in the Project, up on the tiny stage. The instrumentation included, a spinet piano, violin, cello, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and xylophone.

The start was a little late, but the music was very powerful, and interesting. Typical of one of Graham's shows. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm kicking myself for not catching Golden Hornet earlier. Will have to soon.
Golden Hornet Project at the Tap Room

The Elysian Quartet

This band is a string quartet from NYC that does totally improvised music. Unfortunately, the environment made this performance challenging, with loud dance music leaking through the walls from the club next door. It was not as noticeable when Golden Hornet Project was on the stage, but a string quartet was unable to compete.

My other complaint, I find this type of improvisation (from Classically Trained musicians) much less interesting than what you would hear from a seasoned Jazz player. Perhaps I just need to hear it Swing, I cut out of there before the set was finished.

Jimmy Webb

I returned to Prague to hear the last couple songs of Songwriting Legend, Jimmy Webb's set. There were several friends of mine that parked there all night long. What I heard sounded great.

The 18th Floor at the Hilton Garden Inn

I had met my friend Rick earlier in the evening, in line for the Echo and the Bunnymen taping. We originally started talking at an Adrian Belew show about 2 years ago. Since then, we have run into each other a lot. In talking at the Prague we both mentioned the 18th floor. As it turns out, we were both there for the infamous Andy Pratt show during SxSW 2007.

I had also mentioned liking Sarah Borges, and being frustrated at not being able to catch her with her band or the Doug Sahm tribute at Antones with Dave Alvin and others. He mentioned that perhaps I would like this band the Bridges, that he had seen at the Belmont for a day party. They were playing the 18th floor to close out the night. So we trekked down there to finish there.

John Fairhurst

was on the stage when we arrived. He is a solo Dobro player from England. Very accomplished, but since he had no vocals, it became tiring after about 3 minutes. I would like see what this guy could do as a member of a band.

The Bridges

This band is a group of 4 young women (ages 18-24), along with a drummer. It's a family affair with 4 of the band members being siblings, and last woman, a cousin. They apparently have been working with Matthew Sweet.

The band is pop oriented, and the strength their vocals. They were simply amazing singers, and often employ 4 part harmonies. I got a sense that the level of talent displayed, combined with their ages will result in them going very far.

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