SXSW Music Festival 2012 - Day 2 - Evening
BettySoo [Jump], Toquiwa [Jump], My Jerusalem [Jump], Kasey Anderson [Jump], The Mastersons [Jump], Alabama Shakes [Jump], Bahamas [Jump], Todd Snider [Jump], Patrice Pike [Jump], Winterpills [Jump]
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Austin, Texas
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14-March 2012
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My evening started after a very short break, just long enough to copy the many photos from the afternoon over to the PC. Sixth Street was filling up quickly, with bands playing in the middle of the street trying to get the attention of the people walking past and folks lining up early for that show that all the hipsters want to see...

BettySoo @ Victorian Room at The Driskill

"Among the best of the new breed of Austin singer-songwriters, BettySoo has delighted audiences nationwide; people don't expect such a colossal voice from the pint-sized Texas-born Korean charmer. Her Gurf Morlix-produced 2009 release, Heat Sin Water Skin, was among the year's best." – Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
BettySoo kicked off her set at 7:15 pm at the Driskill Hotel, a bastion of calm just steps away from the madness of Sixth Street. Some friends had recommended her a while ago, but I had never seen her live. It was a pleasant start to what would turn out to be a perfect SXSW evening: good songs and a great band which included Jeff Plankenhorn on guitar.
Audio: BettySoo - Never Knew No Love (from SXSW event page)
Video: A 2011 duo performance with Doug Cox
Video: A 2010 solo performance

Toquiwa (formerly known as Pinky Piglets) @ Swan Dive

"We are a Japanese girls’ rock band, from Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan to the world!!  Whenever, wherever, whatever, we rock in our own way!  With catchy riffs, good melody and energetic performance you can’t miss,  we burst on to the stage!! Welcome to our crazy world and shake your body and mind." - Band Bio
Moving a couple of blocks east I entered one of my least favorite SXSW venues - Swan Dive. But Toquiwa, who were on tour opening for the Wedding Present in North America, were a blast and 100% fun to watch.
Audio: Toquiwa - Tokyo Merry-Go-Round
(from SXSW event page)
: Toquiwa - Tokyo Merry-Go-Round

My Jerusalem @ Trinity Hall

"[My Jerusalem's] full-length debut finds [Jeff Klein] still chasing the neon sleaze of mentor Greg Dulli, but his revolving backdrop makes for a much more varied and detailed listen." - Austin Powell, Austin Chronicle
One of the things you notice after attending SXSW a few times is that venues in this town change names frequently. Not much else changes, stage, lights and sound usually remain the same, but
Paradise was now Trinity Hall. Jeff Klein has been a SXSW must-see for many, many years, and most recently that meant seeing My Jerusalem.
Video: One from this show and one in much better quality from another show during SXSW 2012.

Kasey Anderson @ Agave Lounge

“Kasey Anderson ought to now be considered as part of the same circle inhabited by Steve Earle, Ryan Bingham, Townes Van Zandt and other alt-country, roots rock insurgents whose squinty eyed perspective and rebellious regimen finds them going against the tide.” - Lee Zimmerman, Blurt
This show was remarkable in so many ways: I had only found out that Kasey would play this show in the morning thanks to Facebook, and it fit perfectly into my schedule. It wasn't an official SXSW showcase: the venue was another one of the "let's-put-the-stage-next-to-the-entrance" variety which seems to be so popular in Austin. The bar wasn't empty, but there weren't more than 15 people in the room that actually knew or cared about who Kasey Anderson was. This was mostly a duo appearance with Jeff Fiedler, and I couldn't believe my ears when Kasey called a guest on stage: chances are you haven't heard of Star Anna, but she has been one of my favorite artists of the last few years, with her last two albums sitting on top of my year-end Top-10's. Kasey even got her to sing a brand-new, yet to be recorded song. Just amazing!
Audio: Kasey Anderson on Soundcloud
Video from another Kasey Anderson show at SXSW 2012 featuring Adam Duritz of Counting Crows
Video: Star Anna - Wolves In Disguise (Band w/ Mike McCready of Pearl Jam)
: Star Anna - Time (acoustic)

The Mastersons @ Skinny's Ballroom

"Texans Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore racked up credits with Son Volt, Jack Ingram, and Regina Spektor before pairing professionally and personally and heading to New York to seek their fortune. They found it not only as part of Steve Earle's Dukes and Duchesses, but also with Birds Fly South, their beautifully crafted and intensely melodic debut for New West Records due out in April." – Michael Toland, Austin Chronicle
Skinny's Ballroom was a bit off the beaten path, but there was decent light and excellent sound and most importantly The Mastersons made it well worth the detour. I had seen them back 2008 when they just started playing together and again last year, around the time when many of the songs on the new record were written and recorded. Tonight's show was even better - check out Birds Fly South when you get a chance.
Video: One from earlier this year and a somewhat dark video from another show during SXSW 2012.

Alabama Shakes @ Stubb's

"The buzz surrounding Alabama Shakes has grown so loud you'd be forgiven for not realizing the quartet has only a four-song EP of bluesy Southern rock & soul under its belt. Since its release the Athens, Ala., act has conquered late-night television, signed to Dave Matthews' ATO label, and Brittany Howard – who's worn out a Janis Joplin record or two – has one hell of a vocal instrument, as the world will learn upon the release of Boys & Girls." – Thomas Fawcett, Austin Chronicle
Usually the latest buzz bands don't end up on my schedule for SX, but I made an exception for Alabama Shakes. The songs I had heard were strong, and I was intrigued to find out how they would transition to larger venues such as the 2000+ capacity Stubb's. The set was thoroughly enjoyable - check the audio/video below.
Audio/Video: NPR has 11 minutes of video and the full audio from this show.

Bahamas @ St David's Bethell Hall

"[Afie (Bahamas) Jurvanen,] the Toronto sideman-deluxe has established himself as a sublime, incomparable leading man, one with a soulful, sweet and stylish touch in his song-writing, singing and restrained, retro-reverby guitar work." Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
Luckily St David's is just a short walk from Stubb's, so I was able to grab some food and see two acts in a span of 45 minutes. As I hadn't eaten anything for the last six hours food was the #1 priority and luckily the folks at the church served up some decent BBQ and even Shiner Bock. Re-energized I started the home-stretch of the evening by catching a couple of songs by Bahamas. The quiet and attentive audience made for a huge contrast to the crowd at Stubb's, but I needed something a bit more energetic that late in the evening, so I moved on to the other venue at the church.

Audio: Bahamas - Lost In The Light (SXSW Event page)

Todd Snider @ St David's Historic Sanctuary

"Todd Snider is the real deal. I’ve seen a lot of singer/songwriters in my day  but never one quite like Todd. [...] He can really get to me, make me laugh, make me cry, make me think. He’s a true storyteller more in common with Will Rogers than Townes on most days. [...] He’s one of those guys that you can’t wait till the whole world hears about…" - Kevn Kinney, Magnet Magazine
This show was the main reason for coming to St David's, and even if you don't know Todd the title of his latest album (Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables) might be an indication that a church is a somewhat exotic venue for him. I had seen him once before over a decade ago when he opened for John Prine, and was really looking forward to this set despite his more recent work not holding up all that well in comparison with his earlier output. The band with Eric McConnell (bass), Paul Griffith (drums), Molly Thomas (violin) and Chad Staehly (keys) played well, and Todd told his usual array of amusing stories, but overall I left somewhat disappointed.

Patrice Pike @ Victorian Room at The Driskill

"When it comes to describing my music, it all has to do with my voice. I’m a singer first and rock and soul have influenced me most. My voice is what ties it all together." – Patrice Pike
Every couple of years I catch one of Patrice's sets, so I can't really call myself a big fan. Without fail she delivers a captivating performance, and tonight was no exception. 
Video: Watch a solo in-studio performance during SXSW here.

Winterpills @ tenOak

"Winterpills' folk-pop travels a line tracing Simon & Garfunkel, mid-Seventies Fleetwood Mac, REM jangle, and the quiet thunder of Cowboy Junkies. [...] Other groups make music this simple, but few match Winterpills in making melancholy sound this soothing." - Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
On the way back to the hotel I stopped at tenOak for one last Shiner Bock and to see Winterpills, whose MP3 (see below) had intrigued me. Not bad, but after over twelve hours of music it was time to call it a night.
Audio: Winterpills - Misty (from SXSW event page)

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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2012