SXSW Music Festival 2011 - Day 3 - Evening
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears [Jump], The Bluebonnets [Jump], Josh Ritter [Jump], Candy Golde [Jump], Lucinda Williams [Jump], The Baseball Project [Jump], Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 [Jump]
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18-March 2011
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Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears @ The Moody Theatre

“The odds against Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears making lightning strike twice were phenomenal. After all, 2009's hugely popular Lost Highway debut, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, sucker punched anyone in earshot, leaving blues-rock welts and a big, purple R&B bruise. Scandalous proves the local soul man no one-hit wonder, punching and kicking it the old-school way.” – Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle
As much as I love Austin, the tagline “Music Capital of the world” always seemed more about quantity than quality when it came to venues. Sure, there are some legendary clubs in town, but I still remember my disappointment the first time I entered the Austin Music Hall, expecting a venue purpose-built for music and finding a … warehouse instead. With the Moody Theatre the city finally has a larger venue for music, with excellent sightlines, sound and light.
Black Joe Lewis kicked off Lost Highway Records’ 10 year anniversary celebration in front of a a good-sized audience. It was the first time I saw the band and enjoyed their set immensely. Reverend Gean West and The Relatives joined them for a few songs and collectively they worked the crowd into a frenzy.
Video from another show during SXSW here.

I briefly considered staying at the Moody for the rest of the evening, but there was another band I really wanted to see across town, so I slowly started heading east. My first stop was at The Ginger Man, where The Bluebonnets and their audience had a great time.

My next stop was St David's Historic Sanctuary: I managed to squeeze in just before capacity was reached and a long line formed outside, but Josh Ritter’s set was one of the biggest disappointments this year. Over the last 10 years I have seen him several times, but with each record and each performance I find myself caring less. The rest of the audience was really into the show, so maybe it was just the stark contrast of his low-key solo performance compared to the high-energy sets I had just witnessed. He was joined by Josh Kaufman (guitar) for the last third of his set, but things didn’t really improve for me so I moved on…

Candy Golde @ Club DeVille

“The latest sorta-supergroup with Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos on the skins (remember he brought Tinted Windows in '09?). The band also includes collaboration of Nicholas Tremulis (Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra), our man Bun, John Stiratt (a founding member of Wilco) and Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day). The straight-up '90s-esque rock band plays live publicly for the first time at SXSW.” – Patrick Beach, Austin 360
The one band I absolutely had to see was Candy Golde. With Mark Greenberg (Eleventh Dream Day) on keyboards their show was well worth the trek across town with surprisingly few people in attendance.
See a video from this show here.

Lucinda Williams @ The Moody Theatre

“From its cover in, Lucinda Williams' Blessed stands out. [The songs] offer sophisticated changes in her lyric oeuvre, extending their reach beyond first-person narratives of unrequited love and loss. […] By deliberately shifting to a harder-edged roots rock sonic palette, Blessed moves Williams music down the road from the dead-end Americana ghetto without compromising her qualities as a songwriter or performer.” – Thom Jurek,
The combination of a comfortable artist, a great sounding room and an attentive audience made for a fun show which included “Buttercup”, “Drunken Angel”, “Pineola”, “Born To Be Loved”, “Convince Me”, “Essence”, “Come On”, “Unsuffer Me”, “Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings”, “Righteously”, “Change The Locks”, “Honey Bee”, “Joy”, “Blessed”, “For What It's Worth”
You can find videos from all songs on You Tube, including “Drunken Angel” here. If you want to hear some of the songs in better sound quality, you can buy a six-song EP from this show on iTunes.

The Baseball Project @ Momo's

“If pitchers and catchers reporting signals spring to you more than a groundhog, if opinions on the designated hitter have severed friendships, or if your record collection includes Terry Cashman, then it's likely the Baseball Project is your band. The sophomore LP from Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, and Peter Buck picks up where 2008's Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails left off, mixing musical styles to their song histories of the pastime's heroes and goats (from Bill Buckner to Mark Fidrych to Pete Rose)." – Doug Freeman, Austin Chronicle
From the Moody Theatre I raced over to Momo’s for the final showcase of the night. The Baseball Project was on first for a set that included many songs they had not played the day before. Josh Kantor (Red Sox organist at Fenway Park) joined the band again on keyboards for  “The Straw That Stirs The Drink”, “Long Before My Time”, “Panda And The Freak“, “The Straw That Stirs The Drink“, “Long Before My Time“, “Look Out Mom“, “Tony (Boston's Chosen Son)“, “Ichiro Goes To The Moon“, “El Hombre”, “Past Time”.

You can listen to the entire show here.

Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 @ Momo's

“He's never quite left the Dream Syndicate behind, but over the course of a 20-year solo career, Steve Wynn's consistently made fuzzed-out guitar rock worth hearing. Along with his longtime powerhouse band, the Miracle Three, Wynn's 2010 Northern Aggression was no different, veering from full sonic assault to airy jangle, accompanied by lyrics poetic and rebellious.” – Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
While Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck and Josh Kantor left the stage, Steve Wynn started “When You Smile” while Dave DeCastro and Jason Victor joined him and Linda Pitmon for a 45-minute set that stretched well beyond the 2 AM closing time.
Setlist: “When You Smile”, “Resolution”, “Bruises”, “Halloween”, “Cindy, It Was Always You”, “John Coltrane Stereo Blues”, “Amphetamine”
You can listen to the entire show here.

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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2011