SXSW 2004 – Saturday, March 20, 2004 - Afternoon

James McMurtry & The Heartless Bastards @ Continental Club (Mojo's Mayhem)
James McMurtry & The Heartless Bastards
“The 77:55 running time on [
Live in Aught-Three] is practically all the space a standard disc can hold, but in true showman fashion, McMurtry does leave you wanting more. There're no weak tracks. There's no wasted space. This is a disc you can listen to, think about, and enjoy endlessly. It's amazing.” -- Kathy Coleman, countrymusic.about.com
James McMurtry
Saturday during SXSW traditionally begins with a visit to Mojo’s Mayhem. It was noon, the Continental Club was comfortably filled, and James McMurtry + band were on stage. This trio has now been playing together for several years, and while the rhythm section of Daren Hess and Ronnie Johnson lays the solid foundation with hypnotic rhythm, James McMurtry works that guitar in a way that makes you look around to see where that second guitar player is hiding. The superb set included "Red Dress", "Saint Mary Of The Woods", "Levelland", "Choctaw Bingo", and "Too Long In The Wasteland".
James McMurtry

Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel @ Texas Music Café
Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel
“Country-rock chanteuse Anna Fermin was born in the Philippines, emigrating to the U.S. as a child; her family settled in Kenosha, WI, where she later studied voice, violin, and piano. A mainstream pop fan during her teens, Fermin discovered country when an old boyfriend played her a Steve Earle song. Upon relocating to Chicago in 1989 to attend art school, she soon picked up the acoustic guitar, teaching herself to play and, in time, writing her first song, "August Moon." After the dissolution of her first band, Anaboy, Fermin began appearing as a solo act at local coffeehouses and open-mic nights, eventually forming Trigger Gospel.” -- Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com

Anna Fermin
Next door the Texas Music Cafe was hosting free music all week. Anna Fermin and band played an enjoyable, yet somewhat bland set in the backyard.

Screamfeeder @ Cheapo Discs
Screamfeeder
“Forget Jet, The Vines, even You Am I… Screamfeeder are hands down the country's best rock band and Take You Apart is all the proof you need. For real.” -- Nick Coppack, Time Out Brisbane
Screamfeeder
Bass player Kellie Lloyd almost got electrocuted while setting up due to some grounding problems, so things didn't get off to a good start. But Screamfeeder are not easily deterred, otherwise they would not have been around for over ten years. I had first heard about the band in the mid-nineties while travelling in Australia, but had never had a chance to see them live. They delivered a very energetic set full of catchy melodies, a strong reminder to pay more attention to the Australian music scene.
Screamfeeder

Jon Dee Graham @ Continental Club (Mojo's Mayhem)
Jon Dee Graham
"Imagine the sound of Tom Waits fronting The Heartbreakers, after keeping them locked in the basement for a month and demanding that they play as loud as possible - but also soulfully - if they'd like a piece of cake and some sunlight." -- Tower-Pulse Magazine

Jon Dee Graham
After a quick trip to the airport to drop off a friend, I arrived back on South Congress just in time to join the quickly growing line at the Continental and make it into the club just when Jon Dee and the Enemies Of Progress (Mike Hardwick, Jason White, Andrew Duplantis) started to play. It was great to hear some of the new songs with a full band.
Jon Dee Graham + Beatle Bob
At some point Beatle Bob jumped on stage to dance because it was just too crowded on the dance floor: later “Smiley” did the same. The rocking set also included older songs such "Big Sweet Life", "Small Dark Something", and "Lonesome Valley".
Jon Dee Graham + Smiley

Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors @ Continental Club (Mojo's Mayhem)
Mojo Nixon
“Following in the tradition set forth by entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, The Who, Kiss, David Bowie, Judy Garland, Michael Jordan and George Foreman, Nixon decided to end his career with one final tour and a final date at his favorite and most frequent concert venue, The Continental Club in Austin, Texas. Once called "America's greatest living poet" by the Austin Chronicle following a Continental Club performance in 1987 Nixon decided it would be the fitting venue for his final performance. Nixon will host a full day of music beginning at 10 am and will take the stage with his band, The Toadliquors, at 5pm for the final performance of his career.” -- Press release

Mojo Nixon
Mojo’s Saturday afternoon show had always been a highlight in previous years. Of course I couldn’t miss his final show. “For Sale” signs were attached to the various instruments on-stage, then Mojo & the Toadliquors stumbled on stage for the last time.
Mojo Nixon
Set list for the show: “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Luv Child”, “Louisiana Liplock”, "Drunk Divorced Floozie (The Ballad Of Diana Spencer)", “Tie My Pecker to My Leg”, “The Poontango”, “Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus?”, “You Can't Kill Me”, “Elvis Is Everywhere”. Encore: “Burn Down The Malls”.
Mojo Nixon
Extended “Mojo, Mojo”-chants from the hardcore-fan audience slowly subsided when the crowd was told “Mojo has left the building!” Indeed he had, signing autographs for his fans outside. I can’t wait for the comeback tour… More pics from the show are here.
Mojo Nixon

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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2004