SXSW 2009 Music Festival - Day 1 - Afternoon
My Jerusalem, Capsula, Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers, The Deep Dark Woods, Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle, Goes Cube, The May Fire, The Evening Rig, Southeast Engine, Kevin DeVine, David Garza, Laura Gibson, Buck 65, Herman Dune, Loney Dear, Tigercity, The Hours, +/- {Plus/Minus}, Palomar, Melissa auf der Maur
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18-March 2009 2009  /  Photoindex  /  Home

My Jerusalem @ Fado’s
The Guitartown/Conqueroo party had always been a must-see event for me ever since it started as one of the first Wednesday parties back in 2002. This year the party had grown into a full-day event with over 20 acts on 2 stages and was held at a new location. Unfortunately the setup at Fado was a big step back from Mother Egans with its a large, elevated stage, good sound and lights. One side of the PA was still being set up when My Jerusalem kicked off the party a few minutes twelve on a beautiful Texas spring day. My Jerusalem is relatively new project involving Jeff Klein on vocals + guitar, Dave Rosser
(Twilight Singers) on guitar and trumpet, Ashley Dzerigian (Great Northern) on bass, drummer Cully Symington and Rick Nelson (Polyphonic Spree), who plays violin, and keyboards. The 25 minute set was much too short - I'm certainly looking forward to their full-length debut. Listen to “Sweet Chariot” from their Without Feathers EP here on the SXSW website.   







Capsula @ The Parish (Downstairs) aka Roux
“Garage rock trio Capsula formed in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1998, fusing the South American psychedelia of Os Mutantes and the much less well-known bands that appear on those grey-market compilations of vintage '60s South American singles with the twin passions of British glam rock (the name Capsula was chosen in homage to a line from David Bowie's "Space Oddity") and American proto-punk acts like the Velvet Underground and the Stooges.” - Stewart Mason, allmusic.com
I was walking along Sixth Street towards the Radio Room when the sound coming from Roux caught my attention. The band on stage was loud and put on an incredible performance. I arrived just in time for their last couple of songs, but was impressed enough to immediately add them to my "must-see-again-later-in-the-week" list.
I wasn’t the only one who discovered the band this way: Jay Janner, photographer for the Austin American-Statesman had a similar experience and took an absolutely fantastic shot which made it on the front page of the local paper. Listen to their take on “Run Run Run” here on the SXSW website. 






Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers @ Radio Room (Inside Stage)
“Samantha Crain was raised in rural Shawnee, OK, a town whose remote location influenced her quirky, earthy interpretation of folk music. Although inspired by the sounds of her father's music collection, including Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, an adolescent Crain took even greater solace in the music of her home state, from the rootsy Americana of Woody Guthrie to the sonic experiments of the Flaming Lips. […] The Confiscation, a mature EP featuring harmonica, tambourine, lap steel guitar, and Crain's unembellished vocals, marked her Ramseur debut in 2007.” - Andrew Leahey, allmusic.com
The Paste Magazine party at Radio Room was one of the most popular parties this year and offered a terrific line-up on two stages, leading to lengthy line-ups on the street. Many day party organizers hope that having as many acts on the bill as possible will draw more people. The result is that bands end up playing 20-minute sets, which is sufficient to get a taste of a band you don't know, but can be frustratingly short if you do enjoy a show. The Paste party set a good example by allocating full 40 minute sets for each band, which gave you a chance to settle in and focus on the music. Samatha Crain & The Midnight Shivers played their set in front of a very attentive crowd - a rare occurence during SXSW - and were well worth staying for the full set. Listen to “Devils in Boston” from her upcoming Songs In The Night album here on the SXSW website.





The Deep Dark Woods @ Paradise
“With this band name, album title and songs called "The Gallows," "All The Money I Had Is Gone" and "The Sun Never Shines," you know you're not in for a sunny pop record. Sure enough, the third album from Saskatoon's Deep Dark Woods is a sombre, melancholy, oft-bleak affair, but it is also a highly compelling and convincing work. […] Deep Dark Woods take a few chances too, as on Burke Barlow's unfashionable, but totally mesmerizing, lengthy, Neil Young meets Carlos Santana-like guitar solo on epic eight-minute closing track "The Sun Never Shines." This is a band worthy of real attention.” - Kerry Doole, exclaim.ca
Another pleasant surprise: Hearya.com had picked a nice room for their party, the sound was good, and The Deep Dark Woods got to play
a nice long set. I was off to a good start: just three hours into my SXSW 2009 and I had already seen four great bands which I had not been familiar with before the event. Listen to the fantastic “All the Money I Had Is Gone” from Winter Hours here on the SXSW web site.




This video of  “Hang Me Oh Hang Me” from this party can be found on youtube. 

On my way back to Roux I ran into The She Creatures, who were promoting their upcoming gigs...

Over at Roux, Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle were on stage. Polly's songs and guitar-playing were pretty decent considering that she is just 17, but the band is still trying to find its groove. It might've been better to see her in an solo/acoustic setting...

Next I headed over to the Creekside Lounge to see Grant Hart, but things at Texas Jump Start were already well behind schedule, so I ended up seeing a bit of the heavy, heavy Goes Cube.

There was another band on the schedule before Grant Hart, but The May Fire did nothing for me so after chatting with Grant for a while I had to move on.

People lining up for bail bonds?


The Evening Rig @ Side Bar
“You know you're looking at the definition of a bar-rock band when their MySpace blog offers up guestlist spots to anyone willing to serve as the group's designated driver. Featuring ex-members of Minneapolis mainstays Cadillac Blindside, the Crush and the Cardinal Sin, the Evening Rig channel hometown legends the Replacements and throw in an extra touch of twang to infectious choruses, making Never Been'er every bit as enjoyable as the newest efforts from alt-country superstars Wilco to the Weakerthans.”  - Kevin Wade, Alternative Press
I didn’t get to see Grant Hart play, but I did stumble upon another cool band from the Twin Cities. I stopped in front of the Side Bar to figure out where I had to go next when I heard the sound of what turned out to be The Evening Rig from inside. After listening to a few songs I was impressed enough to immediately pick up their latest album The Evening Rig - Is Doin' Stuff. Yes, there’s lots of typical Minneapolis swagger in their sound and some songs ("Bartender") are deep in Replacements/Magnolias/Soul Asylum territory, but overall the album is very enjoyable and if you have a chance to see them live you should definitely go for it...





Leonard Cohen Tribute @ Waterloo Records

The plan was to see The John Henry’s at Waterloo Icehouse for a bit before moving next door to Waterloo Records for the second half of the Leonard Cohen “Happy At Last” tribute. However, when I arrived at the Icehouse, the stage was empty with no band in sight so I continued on. The Leonard Cohen tribute was organized by NPR and Columbia/Sony Music to celebrate the release of Live In London. The idea was that 13 acts would play one song each. I had assumed it would be an all acoustic performance, but that was not always the case, with some bands taking 10+ minutes to set up for their 4 minute performance. As a result the event lasted 2 1/2 hours instead of the scheduled 90 minutes. The performances were great, but the wait in between songs was sometimes brutal. The Webb Sisters were just finishing their take on "If It Be Your Will" when I walked through the door.

Southeast Engine - “The Traitor”

Kevin DeVine – “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”
Kevin played an excellent version of this tune.

David Garza - “Dance Me To The End Of Love”

Laura Gibson - “Take This Waltz”

Buck 65 – “A Thousand Kisses Deep”
Buck 65 recited the lyrics to laptop beats and it actually worked really well.


Herman Dune – “Here It Is”

Loney, Dear – “Hallelujah”

Tigercity – “Suzanne”
Great rocking version.


The Hours – “That's No Way To Say Goodbye”

+/- {Plus/Minus} – “So Long, Marianne“

Palomar – “Who By Fire“

Melissa auf der Maur – “Sisters Of Mercy“
Unlike many of the other acts Melissa didn't need a lot of time to set up: she plugged in her guitar before taking a few minutes to talk about her connection to Leonard Cohen.



Waterloo Records posted a video of her performance here on Youtube. 

Continue to evening...

All photos (c) Steffen Paulus 2009