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, allmusic.com
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.
"[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.
thought all the action during SXSW was along 6th Street, but I was
wrong: taking the back alleys can offer interesting photo opportunities
Meanwhile things were already in full swing again on the main drag...
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, populist.com
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, 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, Hickorywind.org
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 archive.org.
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...
(c) Steffen Paulus 2011