SXSW 2004 – Friday, March 19, 2004 - Afternoon

Hamell On Trial @ Cheapo Discs
Hamell On Trial
“Acoustic guitar-wielding one-man punk band. An in-your-face attitude, scathing wit, and razor-sharp cultural insights play out in his Lenny Bruce-meets-the-Ramones persona, amply demonstrated on last fall's Righteous Babe release,
Tough Love.” -- Jay Trachtenberg, Austin Chronicle
Hamell On Trial
The first time I encountered Hamell On Trial was during SXSW95, the year he was signed by Mercury Records. Since those days, a lot has changed in his life: he is older now, he survived a bad car wreck and he became a dad. What hasn’t changed are the rapid-fire delivery, the razor-sharp lyrics and the  funny-as-hell between-song stories - just the thing I needed to wake me up after yet another short night.

Dollar Store @ Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery (Bloodshot Records Party)
“Chicago's brand new Dollar Store puts bluegrass, rock, and country in a blender, turns up the volume, and presents it on a beer-soaked platter.” -- David Lynch, Austin Chronicle
Dollar Store
By 1pm the Bloodshot Records Party in the backyard of the Yard Dog Art Gallery was already in full swing, with Dollar Store playing sweaty and raucous, yet somewhat generic Alt.Country.

Bobby Bare Jr & The Young Criminals Starvation League @ Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery (Bloodshot Records Party)
Bobby Bare Jr
"Melancholy, decidedly disheveled, and rootsy,
Young Criminals' Starvation League is a captivating and timeless collection of countrified dirges that sound as if they were rendered on a back-porch shanty somewhere in rural America. An therein lies the charm of Bobby Bare Jr.. With a cracked voice and broken spirit, Bare's astute observations of life's little victories and big failures are delivered with all the grace of a lingering hangover. Gallows humor abounds, especially in "Dig Down", a self-deprecating dialogue targeting a myriad of rock stars who stand accused of sucking up all the brilliant ideas while leaving the over-the-counterculture generation in a retro daze.” -- Tom Semioli,
Bobby Bare Jr
A few raindrops started to fall just before Bobby Bare Jr began his set, and people began to crowd the tent in front of the stage to indulge in Bare Jr. classics such as “Flat Chested Girl From Maynardville”.

Jon Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Rodeo @ Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery (Bloodshot Records Party)
Jon Rauhouse
“Jon Rauhouse and friends are back for another round of feel-good Hawaiian, country, and Western swing, coming on like a modern-day Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant. This is no stale homage to styles gone by; this is living, breathing music performed with such ease and aplomb that you can't help but enjoy it. […] Put this on at your next summer party, and you won't be able to wipe the smiles off peoples' faces.” -- Sean Westergaard,
Jon Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Rodeo
A much needed change of pace: Pedal Steel wizard Jon Rauhouse delivered perfect party music indeed, especially with the addition of Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor on vocals.
Nora O’Connor + Kelly Hogan

Graham Parker @ Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery (Bloodshot Records Party)
Graham Parker
“GP's latest is the most impressive exhibition of songwriting I've heard in a long, long time. This veteran has become an alchemist, creating nuggets of real-world gold from mere words and tones. [...] His lyrics are so tightly intertwined as to amaze and delight even the most jaded. Graham is operating on more levels than most contemporary songwriters are even aware exist.” -- Bill Groll, Austin Americana

Tom Freund
Graham Parker was accompanied by Tom Freund on stand-up bass, guitar and backing vocals. The yard was packed and he was in a great spirits cracking jokes about the state of the music industry before he ended the set leading the audience in a sing-along of “Nation of Shopkeepers”.
Graham Parker

Tim Easton + Rosavelt @ Maria's Taco Xpress (Sin City Marketing Party)
Tim Easton + Rosavelt
“Tim Easton's third release, Break Your Mother's Heart (New West), is the perfect showcase for the songwriter's finger-picking prowess and wordsmithery, which are shades of Dylan and Cash but with an extra, supersexy/sensitive something that makes them unique.” -- Melanie Haupt, Austin Chronicle
Tim Easton + Rosavelt
I had seen Tim Easton back in 1999 and 2001, but wasn't overly impressed. This year he played the Sin City party with Rosavelt as a backing band. They started out slow, but cranked it up throughout the set. Tim also asked Rosavelt to do one of their songs, “Last Heartache”, which sounded great with no less than three electric guitars. All in all a well-rounded set which I enjoyed quite a bit more than his shows in previous years.

Tim Easton

Marah @ Ginger Man Pub (ND Music Group Party)
“Anyway, the two [Marah] shows I saw that week were spectacular, as good as anything, I’ve seen with the possible exception of the Clash in ’79, Prince in ’85 and Springsteen on the River tour. Dave and Serge, the two brothers who are to Marah what the Gallaghers are to Oasis, played the Fiddler’s Elbow as if it were Giants Stadium, and even though it was acoustic, they just about blew the place up.” -- Nick Hornby, The Believer

Yes, the quote above is from that Nick Hornby. And he's right - no matter how dull they might sound on CD, the “17th version of Marah in the last four years” proved that the Bielanko Brothers are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to live performances.
Marah + Robyn Hitchcock
The show had everything: loud rockers (“Barstool Boys”), a doo-wap song (“Pizzeria”), a bongo-playing excursion into the crowd during “Round Eye Blues”, special guest Robyn Hitchcock doing “So You Think You’re In Love”, and an epic story about their encounter with rattlesnakes in Sweetwater, Texas. Marvellous!

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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2004