SXSW Music Festival 2012 - Day 2 - Afternoon
The dB's [Jump], Jon Dee Graham [Jump], The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart [Jump], Ruthie Foster [Jump], Anne McCue [Jump], The Silos [Jump], Ume [Jump], Kevin Aldridge [Jump]
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Austin, Texas
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14-March 2012
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The dB's @ Dogwood (Outside Stage)

"Exemplifying the idea of a "cult" band, the dB's turned out four albums in the Eighties that helped set the template for a power-pop renaissance in that decade as well as part of the Nineties. The dB's had limited commercial appeal despite the efforts of seasoned songcrafters Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, but the years have been kind to the band's reputation. The timing couldn't be better for its first new album in 30 years." - Adam Schragin, Austin Chronicle
Dogwood used to be an excellent place to see and hear live music when it was still called Mother Egan's, but the construction of a large outdoor bar just a few feet away from the "stage" has made it pretty much impossible to see the band playing unless you are in the first two rows. Nevertheless, the combination of the proximity to the hotel and a solid lineup of this year's Guitartown party lured me back. I arrived just in time to witness one of the many shows The dB's played this week, and while I was never a big fan of the band in their heyday, I had followed the musical careers of all members and it was fun to see them onstage together, with Mitch Easter substituting for the absent Gene Holder.
Audio: The dB's - That Time Is Gone
Video: The dB's - Neverland (from this show)

Jon Dee Graham & The Fighting Cocks @ Dogwood (Outside Stage)

"A ferocious guitarist and painfully honest songwriter." - Jim Caliguiri, Austin Chronicle
It wouldn't be SXSW without at least one Jon Dee Graham show. This year he was exceptionally busy even by his own standards, playing a total of 18 shows or so over 6 days - solo, with The Fighting Cocks (guitarist Michael Hardwick, bass player Andrew Duplantis, and drummer Joey Shuffield) and as a Hobart Bros (see next entry). The area in front of the stage was even more crowded than during the dB's set. His set included a number of older tunes such as "Look Up", "October", "World So Full", "Beautifully Broken", "Wait", and "Airplane". He ended the set with "Rock N Roll In The Street", a song written by his son Willie.
Video: Jon Dee Graham - October (shaky video from this show)

The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart @ Dogwood (Inside Stage)

"Jon Dee Graham, Freedy Johnston, and Susan Cowsill are three very different singer-songwriters. Put them together and you get the Hobart Brothers featuring Lil' Sis Hobart, proof that what might look a bit curious on paper turns into something phenomenal on disc. Initially an exercise in writing songs about their early days working in restaurants, the disparate trio took the name Hobart from the commercial dishwasher. [...] What's most remarkable about the Hobarts is that there doesn't seem to be a dominant voice, whether Johnston and Cowsill are sharing the microphone or Austin's Graham is getting extra cranky on guitar. Further proof that egos left outside produce significant results." - Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
Jon Dee and Andrew had about 5 minutes to head over to the inside stage and get ready for their set with the Hobarts. Fun, and at 25 minutes much too short.
Audio: The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart - Didn't I Love You (SXSW Event Page)
Video: Hobart Brothers @ Dogwood in 2011

Ruthie Foster @ Dogwood (Outside Stage)

“The power of Ruthie Foster’s voice carries the music, rather than vice versa. It is a voice that was raised in the church that has the power of that true soul singing that comes right out of the tradition that bred such voices as Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, and James Brown.” - Dirty Linen
I hung around inside to chat with the Hobarts for a bit. By the time I headed back outside it was very crowded in front of the stage and Ruthie Foster was already half-way through her set. It had been 9 years since I had last seen her, but after taking a few shots from behind the stage I decided it was time to take a little break and get in position for the next set inside.

Anne McCue @ Dogwood (Inside Stage)

"McCue brings post-Hendrix blues guitar and her post-Lucinda alto from the land of Oz" - Village Voice
Last year I saw Anne McCue perform solo
in front of a handful of people - a set marred by technical difficulties outside of her control. This time she played with a full band and in a comfortably filled room backed by Kim Session on bass and Todd Jewell on drums. The set included "Driving Down Alvarado", "Broken Promise Land", "I Want You Back", "Don't Go To Texas (Without Me)", and "As The Crow Flies" by Tony Joe White. Nice. 
Video: Anne McCue - Driving Down Alvarado (from a 2010 show)

The Silos @ Dogwood (Outside Stage)

This is where I usually put a quote. But do I really need to include a quote about The Silos? If you have been to these pages before you know about one of my Top 3 band of all times - if not check the link below. Last years Florizona was one of their best albums ever. This afternoon The Silos were Walter Salas-Humara plus Randy Franklin (git), Steve McAllister (bass), and Mike Irene (drums) substituting for Konrad Meissner who was on tour with Matt Nathanson. The set included "Innocent", "Teenage Prayer", "Commodore Peter", "The Only Love", "Election Day", "Tennessee Fire", and ended with a song dedicated to Drew Glacklin - "Holding On To Life".
Video: from the 2011 party.

Ume @ Brew Exchange

"Behind a whirlwind of blond hair and tempestuous guitar licks, Lauren Larson leads this Austin trio in an assault of virtuosic rock. Last year's sophomore LP, Phantoms, finally captured the band's powerhouse live performance, coursing with a fevered but tightly wound rush of heavy melodic shoegaze as Eric Larson's heady bass provides an anchoring counterpoint to the frontwoman's breathy vocals and flailing riffs." – Doug Freeman, Austin Chronicle
Wednesday was probably my favorite day of SXSW 2012 in terms how easy it was to catch all shows I wanted to see. In this case I just had to cross the street to get to The Brew Exchange, where Ume was playing. Shooting the band has always been a blast, but every time I see them they seem to sound better, too. A fun show, again 30 minutes felt way too short.
Audio: Ume - Captive (from SXSW event page)
Video: Watch a really great video from this show here.

Kevin Aldridge & The Appraisers @ Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar

"Influenced by roots rock like the Jayhawks and Neil Young, Kevin Aldridge’s Viper Sessions LP is like a sunny day threatened by rain. His songs speak of heartbreak, loss and the occasional glimmer of hope, borne on hooky choruses, catchy guitar leads and clever lyrics from the lonely side of life." - Band bio
Kevin Aldridge doesn't make it easy for fans outside of the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area to hear his music. His previous band Chatterton is on extended hiatus after releasing just one EP (listen here), the soundcloud links for songs from his upcoming solo album on his website are currently broken, so all you got is the song on his Facebook page. His music deserves to be widely heard - so do yourself a favor and check him out.
Video from this show.

Continue to evening...

All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2012