I had planned to start Saturday on South Congress as usual. What had
begun with parties at Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery and the Continental
Club a few years ago has now turned into a scene rivaling Sixth Street,
with several other cafes and restaurant hosting parties during the day.
It was too crowded for me, and after a quick
breakfast I drove over to Cheapo Discs.
The Silos @ Cheapo Discs
The Silos started with a short Spanish set: “Disfrute”,
Langrimas”, “Porque No”. They continued with “Stoplight”,
“Innocent”, “The Only Love”, followed by a jam which almost turned into
“I’m Straight”, but instead they decided to play “Find A Way” on
request before closing with “Caroline”.
Next up was a slight diversion from
the usual Party routine: I stopped by at the Texas
Rollergirls Derby. See many more photos here on the Rollergirls site.
Nashville Pussy @ Austin Music Hall (Texas
rock & roll. The husband/wife team of Blaine Cartwright (9 Pound
Hammer) and Ruyter Suys (pro-nounced Rider Sighs) lost their
fire-breather ages ago, but they continue churning out raunch &
roll, last heard on 2002's Say Something Nasty.” – Darcie Stevens, Austin Chronicle
Nashville Pussy got to play after the derby was
performed a few new songs from their next album, as well as the usual
“High As Hell”, “Hitchhike To Cincinnati…” and “Keep On Fucking”. Karen
Cuda has taken over from former bass player Katie Lynn Campbell, who
now lives in Canada, where she plays with Ian Blurton in C’mon. The set
ended somewhat abruptly at 4pm, when the power was cut…
Amy Rigby @ Dog & Duck Pub (Pop Culture Press Party)
“Amy Rigby has been
everyone from Elvis Costello to Carole King, but the Nashville
singer-songwriter has few peers. She composes songs full of truth,
fury, humor, lust, and melancholy, filling five albums and a new,
as-of-yet-untitled project.” – Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
Pop Culture Press presented an excellent line-up on the
two stages in
the parking lot at the Dog & Duck. Shortly after I arrived, Amy
Rigby began her first set. Usually I’m not a big fan of "humourous"
Amy Rigby does write good and funny songs, such as "Are We Ever Gonna
Have Sex Again" from here newest release ’Til The Wheels Fall Off. Later on
she asked her daughter Hazel to play a few songs with her in the
Steve Wynn & Jason Victor @ Dog & Duck
Pub (Pop Culture Press Party)
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 1 were up next. Drummer
Linda Pitmon and
bass player Dave DeCastro had already left Austin, so only guitar
Jason Victor was left to play with Steve. By now the wind had picked up
and dark clouds had started to move in. The first raindrops began to
fall just as he was getting ready on the main stage. He chose to
challenge fate by starting with “Let It Rain”.
As the rain became heavier, they continued with
“Medicine Show” and
“Tell Me When It’s Over”. Steve launched into “Never-Ending Rain” as
the rain claimed more and more of the stage, and the crew began to
clear the equipment. Then it was just too wet to continue, and the rain
came down hard until a rainbow appeared over the tent.
Susan Cowsill @ D&L’s Texas Music Cafe
singing the national
anthem with the Cowsills at Fenway Park or performing solo in the
parking lot of the Dog & Duck Pub, Susan Cowsill has a rare knack
for uniquely expressive leads and melt-away harmonies. Cowsill's solo
debut, Just Believe It,
showcases pop that recalls Lucinda Williams.” – Greg Beets, Austin
A good sized crowd awaited Susan at the Texas Music
Cafe for her
last showcase during this years’ SXSW. She played quite a few songs
from her solo “debut”, including “Palm Of My Hand”, the stirring
“Nanny’s Song”, and poppy “Rain Song”.
She asked band members Rob Savoy and Chris Knotts to perform two of
their songs before putting on her electric guitar and playing a rocking
version of “I Know You Know (Love)”. Susan and band were joined by
“Jumpin’” Johnny Sansone on harmonica and accordion for this show.
@ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
Out Loud, Sorta's first full-length,
sweet spot between Pleasant Grove's amplified quiet and Wilco's Being
There, though it stands up just fine
on its own. The disc wraps rock in roll, country in heart and soul.
Best example is the almost-seven-minute "Chinese Feet," which comes in
like a lamb and goes out like a lion.” – Zac Crain, Dallas Observer
I started the last evening of SXSW at Opal Divine’s parking lot stage.
I had liked the song by Sorta on their SXSW page, and the showcase was not bad either, with remarkable Pedal Steel work by Ward Williams. Their sound was quite similar to Milton Mapes, who I’d
seen two days earlier.
Matt Mays & El
Torpedo @ Momo’s
“In 2003, [Matt Mays]
self-titled debut album. Folksy, catchy and intermittently acoustic, it
produced a quasi-hit single in "City of Lakes" and delayed-reaction
nominations at [the 2005] Juno Awards in the new artist and adult
alternative categories. This week, he released what is more or less
another self-titled debut - only this time, that title isn't just Matt
Mays, but Matt Mays and El
Torpedo, in honour of his new backing
band. It's a flat-out rock album that rarely pauses for breath over its
14 tracks, and sounds much like a recorded jam session - which is
exactly what Mays, who goes to great pains to present the band as a
separate entity from his solo efforts, was aiming for.” – Adam
Radwandski, National Post
I had first seen Matt Mays at NXNE2003, and really
liked his debut CD.
Today “Stand Down At Sundown”, the first track from his new CD, opened
the show and set the scene for what was to come: strong songs, played
flat-out “Ragged Glory”-style, with up to three electric guitars.
“Where Am I Going” from the first album was next,
“Travellin’”, “What Are We Gonna Do Come The Month Of September” (an
epic title for an epic song), “City Of Lakes” (“we always play this one
better away from home, when we are homesick”), “The Plan” (with
Kathleen Edwards on harmony vocals), and “Cocaine Cowgirl” (a song you
can listen to here), before they closed the set with “Time Of
Your Life”. A great show, the best of the day, and one of the best all
The Swifty’s @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
“Built around former
main man Shawn Jonasson, this new trio strips that band’s sound down to
the bare essentials, and as a result comes up with an authentic outlaw
country sound. It’s uncanny, in fact, how Jonasson and company are able
to channel the spirit of Waylon Jennings into this debut album.”
- Jason Schneider, exclaim!
Not bad at all, but pretty standard Alt.Country fare.
The set included a
nice cover of Joe South’s “Games People Play”, and while certainly
being authentic, their sound lacked something unique which would make
them stand out in the sea of bands sounding exactly the same.
Sexton @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
“Joining Joe Ely's
band when he was
13 years old, Charlie Sexton recorded Pictures for Pleasure with Keith
and Woody two years later. After the Arc Angel toured with Bob Dylan,
Back Porch added the guitarist to their deep stable, with his first
solo album in years due this summer.” – David Lynch, Austin Chronicle
Charlie Sexton’s ten year old masterpiece Under The Wishing Tree
remains one of my favorite albums, so I was very much looking forward
to this show. Unfortunately he didn’t play any song from that album,
but the new songs sounded good as well. Carter Albrecht of Sorta joined
the band for one song.
The Trews @ Momo’s
“[The Trews] sound
and polished on their full-length debut, House of Ill Fame, with a handful of songs that share a
similar spirit to those on the Tragically Hip’s debut. Much of this can
be attributed to the production of Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson who can’t
help but make the guitars sound a lot bigger than they really are. And
that’s a good thing because it gives them their own identity and those
driving guitars keep every song moving along at breakneck speed. It is
refreshing to find a young band who don’t want to sound like Nickelback
or the current flavour of the month.” - Michael Edwards, exclaim!
The Trews are doing pretty well in their native Canada, and their 2003
full-length debut House Of Ill Fame
is well worth checking out (listen to one song here). However, their performance at Momo’s
fell short off my expectations. They were off to a good start with
“Every Inambition”, “When You Leave” and “Not Ready To Go”, but as the
set went on, tempo, volume and singing style never really varied,
making the show slightly one-dimensional.
The Waking Eyes didn’t do much for me,
so I headed back to Opal Divine’s.
Rock Bottom Choir @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
Rock Bottom Choir will fill your righteous soul. Matt McCormack leads
his congregation with Ryan Carter and Will Sexton on guitars; with
bassist George Reiff (Chris Robinson’s New Earth Mud), drummer Joey
Shuffield (Fastball), and Bill Carter on mandolin and banjo. Their
debut CD For All the Saints
will rock your soul right out of purgatory.” – SXSW Band info
Another Sexton was onstage at Opal Divine’s: Charlie’s
played with this band of Austin legends, who delivered a solid set to
end the evening.
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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2005