SXSW Music Festival 2008 - Day 4
Mieka Pauley, Collin Herring, Amy Speace, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express, The Watson Twins, Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, Dead Confederate, Beangrowers, Okkervil River, Justin Townes Earle, Deadstring Brothers, Luke Doucet & the White Falcon, NQ Arbuckle
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15-March 2008 2008  /  Photoindex  /  Home

Getting out of bed on the fourth day of SXSW is always hard, but I had 3 shows on my schedule which were supposed to start at noon. Unfortunately I was off to a false start: one of the shows had been moved to 1 pm, another one to 1:20 pm, the third one to 2:15 pm. Luckily there were all in a three block area, so it was easy go back and forth. 
6th Street at noon
Had a bit of time to experience what Sixth Street looks like without the crowds, and I got to see Mieka Pauley at the Mpress Records party at Soho Lounge.
Mieka Pauley
Mieka Pauley

Collin Herring @ Nuno’s (Downstairs Stage)
I had enjoyed Collin Herring’s set the day before enough to come back for a second show. This was another duo performance with his father, but the set included a few songs not played the day before.
Collin Herring
Collin Herring
Collin Herring
Collin Herring

Amy Speace & The Tearjerks @ Soho Lounge
“On [Songs for Bright Street], Speace, a singer-songwriter from Jersey City, New Jersey, genre-hops her way through catchy pop-rock, earnest folk music, foot-stomping soul number, and some twangy country. […] Pop veteran James Mastro (Bongos, Health & Happiness Show) plays some sweet guitar and holds it all together as producer.” – Scott Brodeur. No Depression
This years “most incompetent sound engineer” award goes to the guy working the Soho Lounge on Saturday afternoon. They were already way behind schedule by the time the third band was supposed to play due to the delays in getting bands set up and lengthy line checks. Amy Speace and The Tearjerks, which included James Mastro on drums and Dave DeCastro on bass, made the best out of the situation and delivered a solid performance.
Amy Speace & The Tearjerks
Amy Speace & The Tearjerks
Amy Speace & The Tearjerks
Amy Speace & The Tearjerks

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express @ Jovita’s
“It's been a busy year for San Francisco's Chuck Prophet. He released the fabulous Soap and Water, his first for Yep Roc; made a boisterous appearance on Late Night With David Letterman; co-wrote songs for Alejandro Escovedo's upcoming album; and raised a ruckus on the Internet with a download-only re-creation of Waylon Jennings' Dreaming My Dreams." – Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
As every year, the Twangfest party offered an impressive line-up on Thursday and Saturday. Jovita’s was already packed to capacity when I got there just after 2 pm. I had not seen Chuck Prophet for over two years and was intrigued to hear how the songs from Soap & Water would sound on stage. Chuck and The Mission Express - Todd Roper (drums), Kevin White (bass), James Deprado (guitar), Stephanie Finch (keyboards, vocals and guitar) – sounded great and delivered a fantastic set which included: “A Woman’s Voice”, “Doubter Out of Jesus (All Over You)”, “Would You Love Me?”, “Count The Days” and “You Did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp)”.
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express

The Watson Twins @ Home Slice Pizza
"Nashville-born Chandra and Leigh Watson sing hymnals for the modern age with an angelic delicacy. After moving to L.A. [...] the Watsons teamed with Jenny Lewis for her 2005 Rabbit Fur Coat. The Watsons put out their Southern Manners EP in 2006, and a debut LP is due this spring." – Chase Hoffberger, Austin Chronicle
South Congress was very busy again and The Watsons Twins got to play for a good-sized crowd behind Home Slice Pizza. Their backing band had changed from the last time I saw them with Magnolia Electric Co.,  but it turned out to be a fun afternoon set.
They recently signed to Vanguard, so expect to hear more from them this year. 
The Watson Twins
The Watson Twins
The Watson Twins

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express @ Yard Dog
It has become the norm for bands to play as many shows as possible while in town, but Chuck tried to set a new record by playing three shows at three different venues within four hours on this afternoon. After their 40-minute set at Jovita’s they had just half an hour to clear their equipment off the stage, drive over to South Congress and set up at Yard Dog Art Gallery. When I got there Chuck + band were just finishing their line check before ripping though a ten-song set, which included only one song played at the earlier show and quite a few choice cover versions: “Styrofoam”, “Hey! Little Child” (Alex Chilton), “Small-Town Girl”, “Run Primo Run”, “Let’s Do Something Wrong”, ”Doubter Out of Jesus (All Over You)”, “After The Rain”, “Nothing But A Heartache”, “From A Buick 6” (Bob Dylan - w/ Ronnie Elliott on vocals) and “I’m Bored” (Iggy Pop).
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express
Ronny Elliott w/ Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express

Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers @ Soho Lounge
“Where there will never be any shortage of earnest singer/songwriters, their quality may be in limited supply. The best (Springsteen, Petty, Dylan) scale intimate songs up to epic proportions and similarly narrow the focus of bigger songs to make them feel intensely personal. Newcomer Stephen Kellogg now seems poised to earn himself a place in their company. Kellogg and his band, the Sixers, translate their schooling into a poppy Americana that veers toward a folkier, twangier slant on Glassjaw Boxer. […] There are moments on Glassjaw Boxer to suggest a rootsier Counting Crows, but Kellogg never falls into Adam Duritz's cryptic indie metaphor, preferring to tell straightforward tales of love, friendship and everyday life in heartfelt and plainspoken lyrics withing a soundtrack that matches their homespun charm.” – Brian Baker, Harp
While Chuck & The Mission Express sped to their next show I returned to the Soho Lounge, where the same sound guy still worked his magic and subjected the band to a frustrating feedback orgy. Kudos to the band for pulling off a decent set anyway, and to the enthusiastic audience which got the floor shaking. You can hear one of the songs from their Mike Daly (Whiskeytown) produced album on the SXSW site.
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

Dead Confederate @ Side Bar
“Southern rock sure ain't what it used to be. Rocking harder than MMJ or Band of Horses, this droning, young Athens, Ga.-based fivepiece has teamed up with Austin producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon) for their forthcoming album. Tracks from their self-titled EP – "Get Out" and "Tortured Artist Saint" – rattle molars, while the message couldn't be any bleaker.” – Dan Oko, Austin Chronicle
Dead Confederate were up against Blue Cheer, who played a party next door at Red 7 and could be clearly heard across the alley. They also had some problems with one of the guitar amps, but after a lengthy delay another amp was found and the show could continue. Overall the set was pretty good, but it would be good see the band play a proper venue.
Dead Confederate
Dead Confederate
Dead Confederate
Dead Confederate
Dead Confederate

Beangrowers @ Habana Annex
“Hailing from the Mediterranean island of Malta, this female-fronted three-piece has become known for their off-the-wall tunes, an infectious mixture of guitar-based pop and quirky keyboard sounds: think Blondie meets Joy Division. "Keeper of the angelic vocal chords" - frontwoman/guitarist Alison Galea is up there alongside PJ and Nina Persson.” – Band Bio
Beangrowers had been on my list of bands to see at SXSW the last two times they played here, but it never happened. This year my schedule for the Saturday evening was a bit weak, with only 1 or 2
competing "must-see" shows instead of the usual 3 or 4. There was a good-sized crowed at Habana Annex to see Beangrowers. It sounded like they are headed toward more of a Pop sound with their new material, but it was an entertaining show nevertheless. Listen to an older song here on the SXSW website. 
Beangrowers
Beangrowers
Beangrowers
Beangrowers
Beangrowers

Okkervil River @ Stubb’s
“Combining folk-rock inspirations and alternative rock sways, Okkervil River creates a particular visionary sound, strongly founded on dark and profound lyrics and on chaotic visions of patterned sound compounds.” - Mario Mesquita Borges. Allmusic.com
I had planned to go back to the Lone Star Lounge for a set by The Lemonheads, but the show was cancelled at short notice, so I got to see another band that I had heard a lot about but never had a chance to see before.
Okkervil River
Okkervil River
Okkervil River
Okkervil River
Okkervil River
Okkervil River

Justin Townes Earle @ Red Eyed Fly
“Justin's voice is sweeter and clearer, and his clear fondness for old-school country gives The Good Life a pleasing feeling of understatement that's significantly different from Steve's tougher, more rock-oriented work. […] The simple arrangements and hands-off production add to the gentle but decisive impact of The Good Life, and the result is a fine calling card for a young singer/songwriter who may not have worked out every last detail of his sound but clearly knows where he's going, and it happens to be a place worth visiting.” -  Mark Deming, allmusic.com
I had first seen Justin Earle over six years ago when he opened one of his dad’s shows. It took him a while, but he finally released his debut this year. Just like the record, the show mostly featured a old-school country sound. The set included mostly songs from the album, but also a “slightly re-arranged” version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Brand New Companion”. The highlight for me was his solo performance of “Who Am I To Say”, a song which strongly demonstrates his own songwriting skills.
Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle

Deadstring Brothers @ Red Eyed Fly
After their compelling performance at Yard Dog the day before their official showcase gave me a chance to see and hear more of the Deadstring Bothers and their high-energy, whirlwind set didn’t disappoint my high expectations.
Deadstring Brothers

Deadstring Brothers
Deadstring Brothers
Deadstring Brothers
Deadstring Brothers
Deadstring Brothers

Luke Doucet & the White Falcon @ The Velveeta Room
They had removed tables and chairs from the Velveeta Room since my last visit, which made it a much better venue for a Rock show. I was intrigued to see whether Luke Doucet had gotten his voice back since I had last seen him 24 hours earlier, but the old overhead projector set up in front of the stage was the first sign that he was still struggling with a bout of laryngitis. Luckily there were quite a few of his friends in town, and with the lyrics projected on the sidewall, the show turned into a Luke-Doucet-Karaoke-Night, with Luke himself providing his trademark guitar work. They started off with “Long Haul Driver” with Mark Sasso and Casey Laforet (Elliott Brood) on vocals.
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
“Blood’s Too Rich” was next with Neville Quinlan (NQ Arbuckle) and Melissa McClelland singing, followed by
J "Howik" Nowicki from Winnipeg Blues band The Perpetrators taking over the mike for “Take You Home”, then Neville was back for “The Day Rick Danko Died”.
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
“Motorbike” with Melissa McClelland was next, followed by “Cleveland” with J "Howik" Nowicki getting a lot of help from the audience. “Broken One” was the last song of the set, with Neville Quinlan (NQ Arbuckle) and Melissa McClelland sharing vocal duties.
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
This turned out to be a fun experience for everyone on and off stage. Luke achieved in his thirties what most artists only get when they are a lot older: to hear other singers interpret his songs at a tribute concert... ;-)
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon

NQ Arbuckle @ The Velveeta Room
“NQ Arbuckle is the kind of guy you want to sit beside in a bar, listening to him tell stories all night. […] Arbuckle possesses the rough edged romanticism of Richard Buckner and early Joe Henry.” - Jason Schneider
This was it: the 82nd and final showcase of the week turned out to be the perfect way to end five days filled with memorable performances: NQ Arbuckle (Neville Quinlan, Mark Kesper, Peter Kesper and John Dinsmore) used almost the full hour for their 10-song set: “Mixkin Dancehall Blues”, “Cheap Town”, “Punk Rocker”, “X O K”, “Mexican Bar” (with a little bit of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”), “Outside The Stars”, “Don’t Remember Me”, “Skydive Home”, “My Baby”, and “In Another Time”.
NQ Arbuckle
NQ Arbuckle
NQ Arbuckle
NQ Arbuckle

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

All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2008