SXSW 2009 Music Festival - Day 4 - Evening
Clarence Bucaro, Sgt Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, The Break And Repair Method, Tinted Windows, Lady Dottie & The Diamonds, Mad Juana, Patrice Pike
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Clarence Bucaro @ Aces Lounge
“Clarence Bucaro easily straddles that sometimes-treacherous line between pop and rootsy tradition. […] Til Spring is a spirited nod to Southern soul, infused with classic keyboard tones, riveting guitar play and a vocal that emotes with the ageless grace of a revered veteran.” - Lee Zimmerman,
My schedule for Saturday evening was a bit lighter on "must-see" showcases - an excellent opportunity to check out a few bands I wasn't familiar with. Clarence Bucaro
caught my attention based on the cast of players he had assembled for his new album 'Til Spring. Produced by Tom Schick (Norah Jones, Ryan Adams) it features Neal Casal (The Cardinals), Konrad Meissner (The Silos, Matt Nathanson), Anders Osborne and others. Aces Lounge turned out to be another SXSW venue not really suited for live music: while having the stage behind the bar ensured easy access to drinks for the band and the people in the "front row", it also added a lot of distraction during Clarence Bucaro's set of mostly quiet songs.

Just outside of Aces Lounge Sgt Dunbar & The Hobo Banned managed to attract a good-sized crowd in the middle of Sixth Street. Listen to the cleverly titled “A March Through Charle's Mingus' Garbage Pile” here on the SXSW web site.

My next destination was the Convention Center, but running a bit ahead of schedule I stopped at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room for the last two songs by The Break And Repair Method. Listen to “You Won't Be Able To Be Sad’ here on the SXSW web site.

Tinted Windows @ The Bat Bar (SXSW Live)
“Supergroups are rarely as evenly balanced as Tinted Windows, the power pop powerhouse consisting of boy band veteran Taylor Hanson, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha, and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. [...] Bun E's very presence suggests that Tinted Windows might have a bit of Cheap Trick's feverish rock & roll, but the group errs on the side of caution, the product of a bunch of longtime veterans getting back to basics and playing their first love. While the former cancels out the latter ever so slightly — there's not much abandon here, only precision — the pleasure of the popcraft outweighs much of the caution in the construction, especially when the insistent hooks are delivered with such puppy-dog earnestness by Taylor Hanson. Of all the guys here, he is the only one to never have performed in a guitar-heavy rock & roll band, and his thrill to be singing these sweet melodies over these big, fuzzy guitars can be infectious." - 
Stephen Thomas Erlewine,
The evening continued with more easily digestible pop courtesy of Tinted Windows, who played their first official performances as a band at SXSW. As the shows at the Bat Bar were taped for DirecTV, photographers only get to shoot the first three songs of the set and were asked to stay low (i.e. on their knees), enabling the TV audience to see
a crowd of enthusiastic fans rather than photographers. The combination of excited fans pushing to the front and the group of kneeling photographers jostling for the best position to get a good shot of Bun E. Carlos made for quite a scene. 

Lady Dottie & The Diamonds @ Wave
“The band leader, Lady Dottie, is a soulful woman in her early 60s named Dorothy Mae Whitsett. Singing everywhere from the kitchen to the pulpit, she was raised in a family of 14 and performed in a gospel choir. She’s a tambourine-toting, hip gyrating powerhouse with a sultry voice that will leave you trembling. Without fail, Dottie and her Diamonds work audiences into a fevered frenzy. This band seems God-sent.” - Derek Shaw, 944 Magazine
This was the unexpected highlight of my last evening at SXSW 2009: Lady Dottie & The Diamonds mesmerized the crowd with their raucous mix of Blues, Soul, Boogie and Rock. Listen to “I Ain't Mad At Ya” here on the SXSW website.

The next band at Wave was Mad Juana, a self-proclaimed "acoustic punk gypsy mariachi R'n'R band" led by Hanoi Rocks/New York Dolls bassist Sami Yaffa and his wife, singer Karmen Guy. Not bad at all (listen to “Keep on Walking” here on the SXSW website), but I had planned to see The Duke Spirit next and decided to move on. Unfortunately the lines at Antone's were quite long, so that plan didn't work out.

Patrice Pike @ Momo’s
“Fun and catchy, Fencing Under Fire will please anyone who enjoys great vocals, a little bit of rock guitar, and smart songwriting.” - Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.,
For the final showcase of the festival, Patrice Pike delivered a typically solid set and played quite few unreleased songs. Coming full circle, my trip to Austin ended at the same club where it had started five days earlier. Over the last 125 hours I had seen 90 different artists, but what was truly remarkable about SXSW 2009 was not the sheer number of bands: it was the diversity and the consistently high quality of the performances that made my 15th SXSW a fun and rewarding experience. Can't wait for 2010...

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

All photos (c) Steffen Paulus 2009