SXSW2007 - Day 4
Beasts Of Bourbon, The Mother Truckers, Jon Dee Graham, James McMurtry, Waterloo, Eric Hanke, Art In Manila, Finn’s Motel, Honky, Dan Mangan, AM, The Cliks, Charlie Sexton, The Tragically Hip
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The Beasts Of Bourbon @ Continental Club
“Over six albums of excoriating, low life rock'n'roll, the Beast of Bourbon had carved their name large and indelibly in Australian rock lore. In (evil) spirit they're kin to AC/DC, the Stones and the Birthday Party; in real life their lineage encompasses the Johnnys, the Surrealists, the Cruel Sea, the New Christs, Louis Tillet, Paul Kelly, Roland Howard, Andre Williams, Tex, Don and Charlie and too many crash-and-burn blues/punk rock outfits that fell foul of the old death or glory equation some time over the last quarter-century.” – Band Bio
It was hard to get out of bed early enough to be at Mojo’s Mayhem at 11:30, but as singer Tex Perkins put it: “We thought it would be hell [to play so early], but it’s only purgatory – with beer and beautiful women!” The Beasts Of Bourbon have always been a fantastic band, and combined with lots caffeine provided the jolt of energy needed to wake me up.
Beasts Of Bourbon
Beasts Of Bourbon
Beasts Of Bourbon
Beasts Of Bourbon
Beasts Of Bourbon

The Mother Truckers @ Continental Club
“This Austin-based quartet barreled into town a couple of years ago with big-rig harmonies, honkin' vocals, and 18 wheels of roots-rock bravado. Last year's Broke, Not Broken was a diesel-powered kick in the pants, bubbling over with enough honky-tonk heartache, country blues, and asphalt rock to fuel a fleet of Freightliners on a run to the Yucatan and back.” – Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle
One of the hardest working bands during SXSW, the Mother Truckers blasted through their set which included a terrific cover of “Love Me Like A Man”. Texas music at its best! Listen to a one of their songs here.
Mother Truckers
Mother Truckers
Mother Truckers
Mother Truckers

Jon Dee Graham @ Continental Club
Full isn't a bad title for an LP that runneth over with songs so memorable and smart, but when you consider just how much gravity they carry and how high they're stacked, Jon Dee Graham's Greatest Hits might have worked just as well.” – Andy Langer, Austin Chronicle
SXSW would not be complete without a set by Jon Dee Graham, and the Continental Club is always the best place to see him. For this show he played with Mike Hardwick on guitar, John Chipman on drums and Andrew Duplatis (Son Volt) on bass. The highlight of this set was “Amsterdam”, the triumphant set closer.
Mojo Nixon + Jon Dee Graham
Jon Dee Graham
Jon Dee Graham
Jon Dee Graham
Jon Dee Graham

James McMurtry @ Continental Club
“James McMurtry packs a lot of story into his low-key songs: tales of loners and losers adrift in wide-open spaces. His voice is deadpan, but his characters survive grand struggles.” - New York Times
Another must-see during SXSW is James McMurtry: the addition of Tim Holt on guitar resulted in an even fuller sound throughout the half-hour set, which included the usual crowd pleasers such as “Choctaw Bingo”, “Childish Things”, "We Can’t Make It Here Anymore” and “God Bless America” (dedicated to Haliburton). The crowd also seemed to enjoy the "dancing maid" quite a bit more than James did, but I guess you can't please everyone... ;-)
James McMurtry
James McMurtry
James McMurtry
James McMurtry

Waterloo @ Jovita’s (outside)
Out of the Woods, the third release from Waterloo, often replicates the feeling of having sunshine beat down on one's face, with its lush layers of warm guitar, melodic piano and Ray's dusky vocals. The honeyed jangle of highlight "Light in the Doorway" conjures Robyn Hitchcock, although there's a distinctive psychedelic bent to the snaky electric riffs of "Chain of Lakes." But as with the best R.E.M. albums, the disc's light is often tempered by a darker undercurrent of loss and longing — intangible wistfulness and introspection that gives Woods resonant emotional depth.” - Annie Zaleski, Riverfront Times
I was momentarily confused when I saw Magnolia Summer’s Chris Grabow onstage at the Twangfest party at Jovita’s, but it turned out that my schedule was correct and the band playing was indeed Waterloo. Musically not that much different, not surprising as Waterloo band leader and songwriter Mark Ray also produced and played on Magnolia Summer's debut.
Waterloo
Waterloo
Waterloo
Waterloo

Eric Hanke @ Ale House
“Eric Hanke's Autumn Blues is an impressive debut that mixes country and folk in a way that confirms his status as a Native Texan. With a batch of songs almost too evocative to have come from a young songwriter's pen and dynamic production from Merel Bregante, Hanke crafts a sound that falls somewhere between Slaid Cleaves and Bruce Robison and one that's well worth checking out.” - Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
My evening began at the Ale House, where I wanted to see another new Austin-based Singer-Songwriter, whose MP3 had sounded interesting. Not a bad performance, but Eric trying to break into a space already crowded with outstanding performers: time will tell if he has something special that will set him apart from the pack.
Eric Hanke
Eric Hanke

Eric Hanke


On the way to Red 7 I made a brief stop next door at the Beauty Bar to see Art In Manila, the new project of Orenda Fink, formerly of Azure Ray. Check out what they sound like here.
Art In Manila

Finn’s Motel @ Red 7 Patio
“[Overall Escape Velocity] is a finely wrought collection, rich in contagious melodic hooks and brimming with infectious energy. There's an abundance of ideas on this sonic road trip, along with plenty of intriguing tangents and detours, but the parts and the whole are always in perfect equilibrium.” - Wilson Neate, allmusic.com
Another band from St. Louis was next: Finn’s Motel played to an almost empty parking lot and had to compete with the sound of other acts playing nearby stages. They made the best of the situation with a decent set. Listen to a song here.
Finn’s Motel
Finn’s Motel
Finn’s Motel
Finn’s Motel

Sixth Street was a nightmare: always crowded during SXSW, the combination of SXSW and St. Patrick’s Day made it worse than ever. For the next hour I made several quick stops: first at the Dirty Dog Bar to see Honky, Austin’s answer to ZZ Top. Next was Dan Mangan @ The Tap Room At Six, but unfortunately I only got to see his last two songs. What I heard sounded really good, listen to one of his songs here. Over at the Whisky Bar, AM struggled with technical difficulties. Heralded as the “missing link between Coldplay and Wilco, with ample dashes of Beck and Bowie”, he sounded more like a lethal valium/codein mixture, so I moved on quickly.
Honky Honky
Dan Mangan
AM

The Cliks @ Momo’s
“Gutsy, melodic, dramatic, and dark, Toronto's the Cliks arrived on the scene in 2007 with two strong bullet points. First, they covered Justin Timberlake's hit "Cry Me a River" in a White Stripes meets the Pretenders style, and second, leader Lucas Silveira was a transgendered FTM (female-to-male) leading an all-female, androgynous band. Initial word of mouth started in 2006 and had little to do with Silveira's gender-bending. Instead, it was their blistering live shows around Toronto that earned attention and had the Canadian press comparing the band to Joan Jett, Jon Spencer, and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie.” - David Jeffries, allmusic.com
I hadn’t really planned to attend this show, but Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers were not playing Opal Divine’s as originally scheduled, so I ventured across the street to Momo’s and was rewarded with a fun and energetic set by The Cliks. You can hear one of their songs here.
The Cliks
The Cliks
The Cliks
The Cliks

The Cliks

Beast Of Bourbon @ Dirty Dog Bar
My plan had been to see Charlie Sexton at Antone’s next, but the line outside was long and not moving, so I decided to head over to the Dirty Dog Bar for another dose of the Beasts Of Bourbon.
Beast Of Bourbon
Beast Of Bourbon
Beast Of Bourbon
Beast Of Bourbon

Charlie Sexton @ Antone’s
“Ultimately, Cruel and Gentle Things is a series of postcards from various places and people in the songwriter's life. It comes across as an interior kind of travel record, one that charts, exposes, lays bare, and celebrates the years as the revelations of everyday life, lived in space and time but not bound by them. It is easily the finest and most poetic and musically realized record in Sexton's catalog.” – Thom Jurek, allmusic.com
I returned to Antone’s in the hope of being able to get in to see The Tragically Hip. There was no line and to my surprise I learned that Charlie Sexton had just started his set, almost an hour behind schedule. Charlie is always worth catching live, this set’s highlight being a duet with his brother Wil on “Regular Grind” from his most recent album.
Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton + Wil Sexton
Charlie Sexton

The Tragically Hip @ Antone’s
“Though the Canadian quintet from Ontario has risen to superstar status on their native turf, they've been evoked with spooky reverence of late for their somber, prescient, late-Eighties favorite "New Orleans Is Sinking." They fit squarely on the roots-rock shelf over their dozen recordings, yet it's the stage that suits their bluesy swagger and tough-leather lyrics.” – Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle
This was it: the last showcase of SXSW2007, the 90th set for me in the last 5 days and it turned out to be the best one. The Hip are arguably Canada’s best live band, and in a fairly small place such as Antone’s they are just incredible. With all the earlier delays it was 1:45am when they got on stage, and almost 3am when they finished. “The Lonely End Of The Rink”, “New Orleans Is Sinking”, “Yer Not The Ocean”, “Ahead By A Century”, “In View”, “Springtime In Vienna”, “World Container”, “The Kids Don't Get It”, “At The Hundredth Meridian”, “Bobcaygeon”, “Family Band”, “Grace, Too”, “My Music At Work”. “The Drop-Off”, “Fully Completely” and “Fire In The Hole” were on the setlist but not played.
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip
The Tragically Hip


With my flight leaving Austin at 7am I just had enough time to pack, check out, drive to the airport, return the rental car and check in for my flight. I never slept better on an airplane…


Thanks to Kate Ryans, Cathy Fischer, Elizabeth Derczo, Harlan Seagren and Edgar Heckmann.


All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2007