SXSW Music Festival 2012 - Day 5 - Evening
The BlueBonnets [Jump], Elephant Stone [Jump], Justin Townes Earle [Jump], Maren Parusel [Jump], Shannon McNally [Jump], Lydia Loveless [Jump], JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound [Jump]
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Austin, Texas
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17-March 2012
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The BlueBonnets @ The Ginger Man

"Texas-born, California-reared quartet The Bluebonnets places its spunky, blues-influenced garage rock at the intersection of Janis Joplin earthiness and pre-Matrix Liz Phair coquettishness. Of course, one of the missing links between those touchstones is The Go-Go’s, whose bassist Kathy Valentine formed the original incarnation of The Bluebonnets with Dominique Davalos." - The Onion - A.V. Club
Seeing the Bluebonnets is always fun and a SXSW tradition for me. Just like last year I managed to catch their performance at The Ginger Man.
Audio: Listen to a couple of songs on their Reverbnation page
A video from this show can be found here.

Elephant Stone @ Spill

"As notable for being the session sitar player for the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Black Angels as for his previous outfit (the High Dials), Canadian Rishi Dhir is Elephant Stone. And it isn't the least bit Shankar-scary as you might associate with sitar. The follow-up to 2009's The Seven Seas, a time-bending Brit-pop journey down the Mersey from Manchester to Liverpool, is out later this year." – Michael Bertin, Austin Chronicle
Never really liked the High Dials, but the song on the SXSW website sounded pretty good and there weren’t many alternatives for this timeslot. It also was a convenient next stop on the way to Stubb's. The set was okay, but more importantly a good opportunity to sit down for a bit and enjoy a Shiner.

Justin Townes Earle @ Stubb's

"Since his recording debut, five years ago, Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve) has made steady strides in establishing a distinctive voice. His snaky baritone has long been a magnetic draw, and his songwriting chops are now first rate." - New Yorker
By that time Sixth Street was worse than ever, with the drunk St Patty’s day revelers joining the music fans on 6th Street making it almost impossible to walk along that street. Stubb’s was less crowded than on Wednesday, but a decent-sized crowd was waiting for some of the bigger names on the bill this evening (i.e. Blitzen Trapper, Keane). They did give JTE a good reception - a nice step up from the Red Eyed Fly where I had last seen him. Playing with this band seemed still a bit uncomfortable for him - it was only show #2 for them. Great band featuring Paul Niehaus on guitar and pedal steel, and Amanda Shires on violin. The longer than average 55-Minute set included a very nice rendition of "Can't Hardly Wait" as heard on his Midnight At the Movies album.
Audio: Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues (from SXSW web site)
Video: Complete performance on the KEXP daystage during SXSW.

Maren Parusel @ Whiskey Room

"Parusel combines beat-driven melodic pop songs with cunningly deft lyrics, slow-building dynamic tension, pop charm, rock smarts, punk-bred enthusiasm, and sly humor." - San Diego Reader
In hindsight I probably should‘ve stayed for Blitzen Trapper at Stubb's, but wanted to see this band from San Diego. Major technical difficulties with power cutting in and out every few seconds making it pretty much impossible for the band to play… Check out how they sound:
Audio: Maren Parusel - Kiss Me  (from SXSW web site)
Video: Maren Parusel -  Artificial Gardens (from another show during SXSW)

Shannon McNally @ 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn

“She has the voice: bruised, smoky and ornery, right at home where country and soul meet.. She has the melodies and the timing.. she’s irresistible.” - Jon Pareles, The New York Times
As always, the 18th Floor seemed to be a world away from the madness below.  And, as an added bonus, there are always plenty of chairs, which at this point in the festival becomes an important consideration. But seats or not, Shannon McNally is an artist worth seeing, solo or with a band. Like last year when Cary Hudson had played with her, she had assembled an ace band with Will Sexton on guitar, Donny Wynn on drums and Benjamin Todd on bass.
Audio: Shannon McNally - Rock My Soul  (from SXSW web site) 
Shannon McNally - This Never Happened, I Was Never Here (from another show during SXSW)

Lydia Loveless @ Red Eyed Fly

"Her defiant tone is matched by songs that put country and punk on equal ground, unvarnished and direct." - Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
The Bloodshot Records showcase is always a excellent way to end a Saturday night and SXSW. This year was no exception: Lydia Loveless started off her set with "Go Your Own Way" (Fleetwood Mac) and kept the crowd going for the next 45 minutes.
Audio: Lydia Loveless - Learn To Say No (from SXSW web site) 
Video: Lydia Loveless - Can't Change Me (from another show during SXSW)

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound @ Red Eyed Fly

"JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound describe themselves as a post-punk soul band, but their sound is so much more expansive than that. Uptown Sound is on par with soul musicians from the heyday of the genre’s popularity." - Adam Vitcavage, Paste Magazine
Several people had highly recommended JC Brooks throughout the week, so I decided to stick around for my 60th performance in five days. JC was great, but I was just too tired to stay for the whole set before heading back to the hotel. And that was the end of my 16th SXSW. I am going to take a break in 2013, but maybe there will be another festival to cover? Stay tuned...
Audio: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound - Everything Will Be Fine (from SXSW web site)
Video: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound - Beat Of Our Own Drum
(from another show during SXSW)

All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2012