2004 – Saturday, March 20, 2004 - Evening
Jeff Black @ Hole In The Wall
“Jeff Black comes from a long line of farmers and truck drivers who
could turn an emotion into a story. Likened to rockers Neil Young and
Bruce Springsteen and often compared to troubadour poets like Harry
Chapin and Steve Goodman, Jeff’s songs reside just outside the realm of
pop music today.” -- SXSW Band Info
Saturday night at SXSW is not for experiments. For the first few
showcases of the evening I picked some of my favourite artists who
rarely play in mainland Europe. I started with Jeff Black at the
Dualtone showcase, which began late because legendary "Cowboy" Jack
Clement was rehearsing with BR5-49, his band for the evening,
and the SXSW crew was too star-struck to tell him to get off stage. The
Hole is never a good place for acoustic music, and tonight was no
exception. Loud chatter from the bar was somewhat disruptive in a set
that included “Rain” (on request) and a long, long version of the
“Town-topic Hamburgers” talking blues.
Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival
@ Cactus Café
“Kevn Kinney has now fused his alt-country, folk, psychedelic, and rock
styles into one amazing new band; Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel
Revival. Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival (also the title of the new unreleased
record), was produced by David Barbe (Son Volt, DBT) at Chase Park
Transduction-Athens GA and will be released on "a yet to be determined
label" in late summer of 2004.” -- Kevn Kinney press
The last time I had seen Kevn Kinney in concert was almost 10 years
ago, which is much too long considering that his old band Drivin’ N’
Cryin’ remains one of my favourite bands and that the name of this
website was inspired by one of their songs. For the official showcase
Kevn played with the semi-acoustic version of the Sun Tangled Angel
Revival, two acoustic guitars, bass, and a minimal drum set. The set
including new songs (“Sun Tangled Angel Revival”), older material from
his solo releases (“Time”, “Broken Parts and Auto Parts”) and
the old DNC song (“Peacemaker”) from the ’89 album Mystery Road.
Excellent venue and excellent performance!
Malone @ Fox & Hound
“When Michelle Malone delivered Stompin' Ground last year for Daemon Records, she must
have had surgery afterward for all the gut-bustin' she did. After
nearly 20 years as Atlanta's "next big thing," Malone's cut her own
beltin' groove of Southern rock with panache.” -- Margaret Moser,
Another long-time favourite from Georgia was next. “Moanin’” Michelle
Malone had left most members of her band at home this year, so only
drummer Linda Bolley joined her onstage. A bit rough sounding in the
beginning, they soon hit a stride and worked their way through many
songs from their latest CD Stompin’
Klein @ Mother Egan’s
“Gruff voices and cynical hearts always betray a romantic. Something of
a UK sensation, Austinite Jeff Klein helped his cause with last year's
One Little Indian debut, Everybody Loves a Winner, the local singer-songwriter's second LP.
He'll burn your house of love down.” -- Raoul Hernandez, Austin
and band, Chris Heinrich (pedal steel /
guitar), Jacob Schultz (guitar), Jason White (drums) and Ken Schatz
(bass) delivered an alternating attack of
fast, intense rockers and slow, brooding
tunes. The showcase included "Stripped", "5 Good Reasons",
Breakdown" and "This Old House". As in previous years I had only one
complaint: the set was much too short with only 6 songs, and Jeff left
the stage with 10 minutes to spare.
Maplewood @ La Zona Rosa
“Maplewood make you nostalgic for
something you may not really have experienced. They don't sound exactly
like America or Bread or the Byrds or the Flying Burrito Brothers, but
they sound exactly how what you remember those bands sounded like.” --
Andy Wang, NY Press
Things were running behind schedule at La Zona Rosa, which is why I
ended up seeing Maplewood. Their music was just a little too syrupy for
my liking, but luckily they only played for about 30 minutes.
@ La Zona Rosa
“Cracker is one of the last great
American rock bands. Whether rocking out with their Nineties FM radio
hits or twanging it up as they did on 2003's Countrysides, this group
isn't above having fun on stage, no matter how cynical the lyrical
content.” -- Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
"LP is a young post-suburban
New York woman who grew up with a head full of rock dreams that she's
been trying her entire life to fulfill. Enter Cracker's David Lowery.
Lowery caught LP's former band tearing it up in a club in New York and
invited them to tour with Cracker, finally bringing her on board as a
backing vocalist and then building a band around her to record this
debut album. [...] LP's debut, Heart-Shaped Scar, is a roaring, snotty,
bratty, bad-ass pop/rock record full of killer riffs, crunching
guitars, and LP's voice, which is equal parts Maggie Bell, Pat Benatar,
and Robert Plant ground like glass through a deep Rolling Stones, Bad
Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, blues-rock, and biker sensibility. [...]
Heart-Shaped Scar is American rock & roll that's saturated with a
soul that's rarely encountered anymore. The lyrics aren't awesome, but
they're better than most. And besides, it's a debut; her voice is
unique enough to carry her for an album or two - if doing such a thing
before maturing is something remotely possible in our culture.
Recommended for those who remember how [to] let it rock and miss it. --
“After stellar sets at SXSW 03, CVB returns to promote
bonus-track-laden reissues of their four pre-Virgin LPs on Cooking
Vinyl/Pitch-a-Tent. The Santa Cruz, Ca.-bred, country-flavored
psychedelic punk troupe draws on everything from absurdist humor to
lush, intricate jam pieces. What would you expect from an act that
covered Fleetwood Mac's Tusk in
its entirety?” -- Greg Beets, Austin
wait followed, but finally David
Lowery, Johnny Hickman, Victor Krummenacher, Jonathan Segal, Kenny
Margolis and Frank Funaro were on stage and
set with "Been Around The World". Due to the earlier delays they raced
through their set almost without any
pauses between songs.
the set was "Cinderella", a hidden track from Gentleman’s Blues. Singer L.P. was in
town and joined the band for this song.
remarkable singer, it's too
bad that she didn't have her own showcase. If you are not familiar
with her make sure to visit
her webpage and
check out her music.
After “One Fine Day” the band morphed into Camper Van Beethoven: Johnny
Hickman left the stage and Greg Lisher took over guitar duties. After a
songs I left, because there was one more band I had to see.
Bottle Rockets @ Opal Divine’s
Freehouse (Parking lot stage)
“Just off a successful tour opening for Lucinda Williams, Festus, Mo.'s
Bottle Rockets have hit full stride. Their 2003 Sanctuary CD, Blue
Sky, is their finest work to date, a
genuine accomplishment for a band that's been battling the alt.country
wars for a decade.” -- Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
While their latest album is a bit more polished than previous efforts,
this wasn't the case with their live show. A rocking set, culminating
with a rousing version of Doug Sahm’s “I’m Not That Kat Anymore”.
that was it for 2004. What was different? There was even
more music to see this year: about 1200 official showcases at 50+
venues this year, plus countless “unofficial” parties, in-stores and
evening gigs. Does it make any difference? No. It just means that there
are more bands that you won’t be able to see.
About 8000 badges were
handed out to people officially attending the conference, 14000
wristbands were either given to bands or volunteers, or were sold at
years’ problems with counterfeited wristbands they were equipped with a
radio frequency ID chip, which was checked at some of bigger clubs.
Considering the huge
number of bands and fans things went quite smoothly. Of course some of
the venues were not as good as they should be, and you have to wonder
anyone would book a Sugar Hill / Vanguard Records showcase in a place
like Coyote Ugly’s.
The most talked about incident involved
Grammy-winning band Ozomatli, who led a conga-line onto the street at
2:30am. As hard as it is to believe, the self-proclaimed “live music
capital of the world” has a noise ordinance which prohibits live music
after 2am, and some overzealous police officers tried to enforce the
ordinance in the middle of one of the city’s biggest music festival.
One thing lead to another, and as a result two musicians and the band
manager spent the night in jail. Read all about the incident here.
Overall 2004 was another fun year at SXSW. There was one more show I
saw before flying back: See pictures from a fantastic show by Grady
(Gordy Johnson from Canada’s Big Sugar, “Big” Ben Richardson and Double
Trouble drummer Chris Layton) here.
to Kate Ryans, Cathy Fischer, Elizabeth Derczo, and Edgar Heckmann!
See y'all next year...
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