SXSW 2009 Music Festival - Day 2 - Afternoon
Austin Collins & The RainbirdsTim EastonCorb Lund & The Hurtin’ AlbertansMark Olson & Gary LourisBO-PEEPDetroit7PorcelainThe Savage Trip, The Silos
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Austin Collins & The Rainbirds @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
“Collins is on the road supporting his gem Roses are Black. Produced by Will Johnson, the album is not nearly as pessimistic as the title might suggest and is a godsend for those craving the golden alt-country days of Slobberbone and Uncle Tupelo.” - Darryl Smyers, Dallas Observer
After running around for 14 hours on Wednesday I was in need of a good night's sleep, which unfortunately meant missing Willem Maker’s set at Opal Divine’s Freehouse. I arrived there just in time to see Austin Collins & The Rainbirds, who I had first seen at the Sin City party in 2008. Roses Are Black had quickly become one of my favourite records of 2008, and he played quite a few songs from that album. I heard “11 Months”, “Today”, “Roses Are Black”, “Eight Dollar Thrills”, “Broken” and “Out Loud” before I had to move on.

Tim Easton @ Club DeVille
“When Bob Dylan eventually retires, we can rest assured that Tim Easton is waiting in the wings.“  – Melanie Haupt, Austin Chronicle
My next stop
on this picture-perfect Texas spring day was Club DeVille, traditionally the site for the annual New West Records party. This year's line-up featured only three bands after Buddy Miller had to cancel following his recent triple bypass surgery. This meant that everyone got to play full one-hour sets, a rarity during SXSW's hectic schedule that I much appreciated. Tim Easton was onstage when I arrived: his set included “Broke My Heart”, “Burgundy Red”, “Baltimore”, Goodbye Amsterdam”, and the wonderful “7th Wheel”. He finished with “Porcupine”, the title track of his upcoming album (his first studio effort in 3 years). Listen to ”Burgundy Red” here on the SXSW website.

Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans @ Club DeVille
“The sound of [Corb Lund’s] Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer suggests an alternate reality in which George Strait grew up listening to early-’60s Bob Dylan instead of early-’40s Bob Wills.” Chris Neal, Nashville Scene
This was the most traditional country set I saw all week: Just back from a tour of Australia, Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans managed to win a lot of new friends at the party. A recent addition to the New West roster, they are planning to have new album out in the fall.

Mark Olson & Gary Louris @ Club DeVille
“During the brief moment in the 1990s when it looked like alt-country might break through to the mass audience, the Jayhawks seemed like a sure thing for stardom with their beautiful, evocative melodies and stellar guitar work, and the superb songwriting and harmonies of Mark Olson and Gary Louris. […] For alt-country loyalists, the prospect of Mark Olson and Gary Louris working together again seems a bit like a reunion of Lennon and McCartney or Simon & Garfunkel, so it's well worth pointing out that Ready for the Flood, Olson and Louris' first recording together since Tomorrow the Green Grass and first ever as a duo, is not a Jayhawks album. The duo's harmonies are as lovely as ever, but though there was a widescreen grandeur to the Jayhawks' best work, Ready for the Flood is a purposefully modest album, with the emphasis on acoustic instruments, unobtrusive arrangements, and songs that tell small stories with a rich but elliptical sense of detail.” - Mark Deming,
I had seen Mark & Gary a few weeks earlier in Toronto at the start of their current tour. This show saw the addition of George Reiff, who played bass on the new songs. The set was marred by some technical difficulties with Mark Olson’s monitor speaker, which clearly was a distraction to the performers until it was replaced. The new songs might not be as strong as the old Jayhawks material, but I will never get enough of Mark and Gary singing together, the harmonies are still out of this world. Setlist: "The Rose Society", "Nothing Left To Borrow", "Bicycle", "Bloody Hands", “Turn Your Pretty Name Around”, “Two Angels”, “Saturday Morning On Sunday Street”, “Chamberlain, SD”, “Two Hearts”, "Doves And Stones", “Over My Shoulder”, “Waiting For the Sun”, and "The Trap's Been Set". Listen to “Turn Your Pretty Name Around” here on the SXSW website.

BO-PEEP @ Creekside Lounge
“Years of rock-showcase experience have shown me that Japan likes to export jokey concept bands that quickly wear thin. So had I not looked at a wrong date in the SXSW schedule, I never would have ended up seeing BO PEEP, a three-woman hard-rock band from Tokyo. Lucky me. There was no joke about BO PEEP’s brutally efficient riffing, whether the band was bashing out brusque one-chord stomps or dissonant metal lines or blaring punk. […] BO PEEP could strongarm itself a place alongside any American or English stoner rock band, and should.” – Jon Pareles, New York Times
After a couple of hours of I was ready for a little change of pace: the Japan Nite Preview party at the Creekside Lounge offered a contrast on several levels. Coming from the wide-open, sunny and breezy Club Deville I entered into the almost total darkness of the packed and hot Creekside Lounge. BO-PEEP were loud and energetic, but I think they learned at this gig that kicking your equipment over in the MIDDLE of a show is probably not a good idea. It took them a while to get everything working again before they could continue their set. Listen to “B-Level Motion” here on the SXSW web site.

Detroit7 @ Creekside Lounge
“Detroit 7 are one of Tokyo's most explosive bands, a tight trio blasting out raw, Iggy Pop-inspired garage punk and dripping with showmanship.” – Daniel Robson, The Japan Times 
Detroit7 was as much fun to watch as BO-PEEP, with the energy level going up a few more notches and a set which included a cover of "Louie Louie". Singer/guitarrist Tomomi Nabana is a force of nature with a foghorn-voice strikingly similar to Erika Wennestrom's (Heartless Bastards). Make sure to check them out when they come through your town.

I started to make my way back to the hotel. At Friends, the Sounds Australia Party was still on, although the bands I wanted to see had already played. Friends might not the best place to see live music, but bands playing there have the advantage that the stage is right by the windows facing the street. Australians Porcelain took full advantage of this and managed to attract quite a few passer-by's. The music was pretty average Pop/Rock fare, with things getting a bit more interesting on songs which showcased Asha Mevlana's outstanding violin skills.

Next I decided to head to Opal Divine’s Freehouse to see a bit more of The Savage Trip, as the three songs they had played at Swollen Circus earlier in the week had sounded great. This show not only featured more Savage Trip songs, but also included included two Wild Seeds classics ("She Said” and “Baby, You Scare Me”).

During Savage Trip's set I had ordered some food, but it took almost 40 minutes until it was served. Luckily The Silos were up next at Opal Divine’s Freehouse, so could relax and enjoy my burger while seeing them for the third time in three days. Jon Dee Graham was back on guitar for a set very similar to the night before.

Continue to evening...

All photos (c) Steffen Paulus 2009