SXSW Music Festival 2011 - Day 2 - Evening
Capsula [Jump], Lo-Pan [Jump], My Jerusalem [Jump], Monahans [Jump], Oh Susanna [Jump], Kendel Carson & Chip Taylor [Jump], Maggie Walters [Jump], Ron Sexsmith [Jump], Leatherbag [Jump], Thrift Store Cowboys [Jump]
|2011 / Photoindex
Aires, Argentina's Capsula make the kind of psychedelic garage-rock
that seems perfectly suited to the madcap atmosphere that pervades the
annual South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Their songs
have enough grit and urgency to match the frantic, sleepless atmosphere
of the festival, but they also have enough well-crafted hooks to stand
out above the din created by the dozens of other bands playing within
earshot.” - NPR
I had stumbled upon
Capsula two years ago, when they played to a handful of people at 1pm
in the afternoon. This time around they played to a full house – good to see them getting some well deserved recognition. Despite losing stage power three times, they delivered an energetic set that had people lining up to buy their CD post-show.
Watch a video from a show during SXSW 2010 here.
A stop at the Small Stone Records
showcase is SXSW tradition for me to get away from the Americana crowd
for some heavier sounds. The band I came to see at Barbarella was House Of Broken Promises, a Unida spin-off (see a official video of "The Hurt" here). However, due to a last minute line-up change Lo-Pan took over their slot.
Not bad either, most likely the first band I've seen where the
lead-singer positions himself at the back of the stage. Listen to
by a talented collective armed with a menagerie of guitars, trumpets,
strings, drums and keys it's hard to believe that [Gone For Good]
is not only the debut album of a recently formed band but it's also not
the members main project. Fronted by singer/songwriter Jeff Klein and
consisting of members of Twilight Singers, Great Northern and The
Polyphonic Spree to name a few, My Jerusalem manage to come together in
euphonious union and outshine any of the bands' previous efforts by a
long way. Labelling this as a 'side project' seems like an insult to an
album that any band would be proud of." - Soundblab
Another SXSW tradition for me is to see a show by Jeff Klein or
one of his projects. This was the second time I saw him with My
Jerusalem, and Esther's Follies was decently filled with a young,
enthusiastic crowd. Watch a video from a live performance of "Sweet
Chariot" earlier this year here.
band Monahans (not "The Monahans"), named for the desolate West Texas
sand hills, balances thundering rhythms and atmospheric "landscape
rock" with urgent pop anthems and spiritual campfire balladry (think
Explosions In the Sky + R.E.M + Neil Young)." - Band bio
Spending a lot of time traveling for business there is a place that I
try to avoid on the road: the hotel bar. I made an exception this
evening for the Monahans. I had seen (predecessor) Milton Mapes a few
times, so I was looking forward to this show. They seemed a bit out of
place in this swanky setting, but delivered a solid set.
Watch them play on ACL here.
At Paradise, which hosted Canadian showcases for most of the
week, I caught the last two songs (“You’ll Always Be”, “Drunk As A
Sailor”) of Oh Susanna’s set, backed by husband Cam Giroux on drums, Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) on bass and special guest Kendel Carson on violin.
The next act was billed as Kendel Carson & Chip Taylor,
was Kendel's showcase with Chip and his band backing her. She has
contributed her substantial fiddle skills to many other artists’
projects, but has also released a couple of superb solo albums. Watch
an older video of her an Chip here.
Meanwhile, things were busy on 6th Street. Lots of green - it was St. Patrick's day after all.
I arrived early for Ron Sexsmith's set at Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn and saw a bit of Maggie Walters' set. For "No Sex",
she was joined by what must surely been the first artist from the Faroe
Islands to play SXSW, Guğriğ Hansdóttir and Chris Searles on drums.
Watch a video from this show here.
Was happy to finally get a chance to see Ron Sexsmith, but somewhat disappointed that unlike other sets he did at SXSW this year this was "just" a solo set. Watch a video from this show here.
Leatherbag had sounded really good on the MP3 I had heard, yet their set at Velveeta Room wasn't that convincing.
"This Lubbock sextet
matches perfectly with producer Craig Shumacher, known for his work
with Calexico and Neko Case. A mix of indie rock and spaghetti Western
sure to be dubbed alt.country in simpler times, Light Fighter comes
alive with tunes of the Spanish Civil War and West Texas ghosts,
demonstrating a boldness that's electrifying. Anyone who remembers
Whiskeytown is sure to find Light Fighter a delight." - Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
Thrift Store Cowboys had long been on my list of bands to see at
SXSW, yet somehow it it never worked out. After seeing their violin
player Amanda Shires with Jason Isbell the day before I wanted to make
sure that I would not miss them again. Usually I try to avoid 1 AM
showcases that are far away from the hotel, but I made an exception for
this showcase, which was well worth the long walk back.
Listen to an older song ("Dirtied Your Knees") here.
(c) Steffen Paulus 2011