SXSW Music Festival 2011 - Day 3 - Afternoon
The BellRays [Jump], Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit [Jump], Dolorean [Jump], Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines [Jump], Rodney Parker [Jump], Sons Of Bill [Jump], The Moondoggies [Jump], Matt Nathanson [Jump]
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18-March 2011
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The BellRays @ The Ginger Man

“After all these years, one would think the BellRays would be getting a bit stale by now. Sure, over time their sound has shifted, but even so, how long can you trot out the same brew without it going flat? Forever, if Hard, Sweet and Sticky is anything to go by. Long ago, the band's sizzling mix of rock, soul, and punk was pretty novel, now as classic rock rampages across the waves, soul storms up the chart, and punk is reborn yet again, the music world has finally caught up with the group. Today the BellRays sound as fresh as daisies, and if you'd never previously heard their name, you could easily assume they formed only a year or so ago. That's not merely due to the repopularizing of all the elements that feed into the BellRays' sound, but the group's obvious delight in still delivering it.” - Jo-Ann Greene,
A 1pm start to the day doesn’t sound too bad, but after two long days - each filled with 13 hours of music and a lot of walking between venues - I didn't feel fully awake as I waited outside the Gingerman for doors to open. The other folks in line didn’t look much more energized and plunked down immediately on the benches at the tables in front of the stage as the BellRays started their set. 30 minutes later everything had changed: Tirelessly working the crowd, the band got everybody off the benches at the end of the set. The BellRays set the bar pretty high for the rest of the day, and are one of the best live acts around, period.
Watch a complete show from 2008 here, or if you have time for only one song watch "Voodoo Train" from the same show here.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit @ Barbarella Patio

"[Here We Rest] is, in a word (or several), a huge artistic achievement, and on multiple levels: the lyrics are evocative, emotional, and multifaceted; the music itself, deftly arranged, in archetypal tight-but-loose fashion; and the whole thing resonates and lingers in the mind long after the disc has spun. You'll want to play it over and over and over, as I have." - Fred Mills, Blurt
After the fantastic acoustic duo set on Wednesday I wanted to make sure to catch a full band performance as well. The Barbarella Patio was very crowded on a very hot afternoon.
Amanda Shires joined the 400 Unitfor another superb set. You can watch a video of "Go It Alone" from this show here. Quality is mediocre, but it will give you some idea of what they sounded like. He's touring right now, make sure to see him.

After a couple of hours in the hot sun it was refreshing to head back inside at Barbarella and catch a bit of Dolorean's set. While I have several of their albums, I never got to see them live before. Listen to "The Unfazed", the title track of the latest album here.

I thought all the action during SXSW was along 6th Street, but I was wrong: taking the back alleys can offer interesting photo opportunities as well...

Meanwhile things were already in full swing again on the main drag...

Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines @ Maggie Mae's Gibson Room

"This truly independent Texas singer-songwriter is one of the best faces for idealism in contemporary music, and with each album goes further beyond the usual tropes of the form. Yes, she’s a wonderful singer who composes songs rich with heart, insight, and an admirably empathetic and positive sensibility. But with her creative partner and producer Lloyd Maines — known for his work with the Dixie Chicks (for which his daughter Natalie is the lead singer), Flatlanders and other roots acts — this disc is as much about the music as it is the songs and their singing. With elements of folk, rock, country and such jazz flavors as Dixieland and big band, [Cry Till You Laugh] is a genuinely masterful set of 15 tracks that are sure to be enjoyed if not treasured by music fans who have yet to discover this wonderful artist. — Rob Patterson,
Twelve years had passed since I had last seen Terri & Lloyd. A lot had changed since, but the set was as much fun to watch as it was back then. The combination of Terri’s entertaining songs, her endearing stage presence and Lloyd’s excellent guitar work still works. Watch a video of Terri & Lloyd here.

Apologies to Rodney Parker - by the time he got on stage I was really hungry and the buffet courtesy of Gibson Guitars was really tempting, so I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have.

Sons Of Bill @ Maggie Mae's Gibson Room

"The Sons of Bill, literally sons of Bill Wilson, with the help of producer Jim Scott (Whiskeytown, Wilco and Tom Petty) have recorded an impressive alt country disc that plays like some late-night radio hillbilly hybrid of Chris Knight, early Steve Earle and Son Volt. Hard livin', hard drinkin' and lost love dominate the songs and the Wilson boys write, sing and play it with an authority beyond their years. […] "One Town Away" is a very good disk from a band with great promise. Mr. Wilson should be very proud.” - Hal Bogerd,
The main reason for attending this party was up next, and Sons Of Bill didn’t disappoint. Indeed, a band with a great promise. Watch a video of
“Santa Ana Winds” (a song on their upcoming David Lowery-produced album) from their official SXSW showcase here. The band also posts shows on their website and on

I started to work my way back to the hotel, but stopped at Cheers Shot Bar to catch The Moondoggies.

If you know who knew who the band in the next three pics is drop me a mail - they drew quite a crowd on Sixth Street.

I made one more stop at The Belmont for Matt Nathanson. It was over-crowded and a seemingly endless change-over/soundcheck tested my patience, but I stayed around for a couple of songs from his upcoming album, which weren't overly impressive so I moved on...

Continue to evening...

All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2011