Saturday, 19-March 2005

I had planned to start Saturday on South Congress as usual. What had begun with parties at Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery and the Continental Club a few years ago has now turned into a scene rivaling Sixth Street, with several other cafes and restaurant hosting parties during the day.
It was too crowded for me, and after a quick breakfast I drove over to Cheapo Discs.
Allen Oldies Band on South Congress


The Silos @ Cheapo Discs
Silos
The Silos started with a short Spanish set: “Disfrute”, “Sangre Y Langrimas”, “Porque No”.  They continued with “Stoplight”, “Innocent”, “The Only Love”, followed by a jam which almost turned into “I’m Straight”, but instead they decided to play “Find A Way” on request before closing with “Caroline”.
Silos
Silos

Next up was a slight diversion from the usual Party routine: I stopped by at the Texas Rollergirls Derby. See many more photos here on the Rollergirls site.
Rollerderby

Nashville Pussy @ Austin Music Hall (Texas Rollergirls Derby)
Nashville Pussy
Nashville Pussy
“Nashville Pussy plays Angus-loving rock & roll. The husband/wife team of Blaine Cartwright (9 Pound Hammer) and Ruyter Suys (pro-nounced Rider Sighs) lost their fire-breather ages ago, but they continue churning out raunch & roll, last heard on 2002's Say Something Nasty.” – Darcie Stevens, Austin Chronicle
Nashville Pussy
Nashville Pussy
Nashville Pussy got to play after the derby was finished. They performed a few new songs from their next album, as well as the usual “High As Hell”, “Hitchhike To Cincinnati…” and “Keep On Fucking”. Karen Cuda has taken over from former bass player Katie Lynn Campbell, who now lives in Canada, where she plays with Ian Blurton in C’mon. The set ended somewhat abruptly at 4pm, when the power was cut…
Nashville Pussy
Nashville Pussy


Amy Rigby @ Dog & Duck Pub (Pop Culture Press Party)
Amy Rigby
“Amy Rigby has been compared to everyone from Elvis Costello to Carole King, but the Nashville singer-songwriter has few peers. She composes songs full of truth, fury, humor, lust, and melancholy, filling five albums and a new, as-of-yet-untitled project.” – Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
Amy Rigby
Amy Rigby
Pop Culture Press presented an excellent line-up on the two stages in the parking lot at the Dog & Duck. Shortly after I arrived, Amy Rigby began her first set. Usually I’m not a big fan of "humourous" lyrics, but Amy Rigby does write good and funny songs, such as "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again" from here newest release ’Til The Wheels Fall Off. Later on she asked her daughter Hazel to play a few songs with her in the “Mother-Daughter-Punk-Rock-Cover-Band”.
Amy + Hazel Rigby



Steve Wynn & Jason Victor @ Dog & Duck Pub (Pop Culture Press Party)
Steve Wynn + Jason Victor
Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 1 were up next. Drummer Linda Pitmon and bass player Dave DeCastro had already left Austin, so only guitar player Jason Victor was left to play with Steve. By now the wind had picked up and dark clouds had started to move in. The first raindrops began to fall just as he was getting ready on the main stage. He chose to challenge fate by starting with “Let It Rain”.
Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn
As the rain became heavier, they continued with “Medicine Show” and “Tell Me When It’s Over”. Steve launched into “Never-Ending Rain” as the rain claimed more and more of the stage, and the crew began to clear the equipment. Then it was just too wet to continue, and the rain came down hard until a rainbow appeared over the tent.
Steve Wynn
Rainbow over Austin


Susan Cowsill @ D&L’s Texas Music Cafe
Susan Cowsill
“Whether she's singing the national anthem with the Cowsills at Fenway Park or performing solo in the parking lot of the Dog & Duck Pub, Susan Cowsill has a rare knack for uniquely expressive leads and melt-away harmonies. Cowsill's solo debut, Just Believe It, showcases pop that recalls Lucinda Williams.” – Greg Beets, Austin Chronicle
Susan Cowsill
A good sized crowd awaited Susan at the Texas Music Cafe for her last showcase during this years’ SXSW. She played quite a few songs from her solo “debut”, including “Palm Of My Hand”, the stirring “Nanny’s Song”, and poppy “Rain Song”. She asked band members Rob Savoy and Chris Knotts to perform two of their songs before putting on her electric guitar and playing a rocking version of “I Know You Know (Love)”. Susan and band were joined by “Jumpin’” Johnny Sansone on harmonica and accordion for this show.
Susan Cowsill


Sorta @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
Laugh Out Loud, Sorta's first full-length, hits the sweet spot between Pleasant Grove's amplified quiet and Wilco's Being There, though it stands up just fine on its own. The disc wraps rock in roll, country in heart and soul. Best example is the almost-seven-minute "Chinese Feet," which comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion.” – Zac Crain, Dallas Observer
Sorta
I started the last evening of SXSW at Opal Divine’s parking lot stage. I had liked the song by Sorta on their SXSW page, and the showcase was not bad either, with remarkable Pedal Steel work by Ward Williams. Their sound was quite similar to Milton Mapes, who I’d seen two days earlier.
Sorta


Matt Mays & El Torpedo @ Momo’s
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
“In 2003, [Matt Mays] released a self-titled debut album. Folksy, catchy and intermittently acoustic, it produced a quasi-hit single in "City of Lakes" and delayed-reaction nominations at [the 2005] Juno Awards in the new artist and adult alternative categories. This week, he released what is more or less another self-titled debut - only this time, that title isn't just Matt Mays, but Matt Mays and El Torpedo, in honour of his new backing band. It's a flat-out rock album that rarely pauses for breath over its 14 tracks, and sounds much like a recorded jam session - which is exactly what Mays, who goes to great pains to present the band as a separate entity from his solo efforts, was aiming for.” – Adam Radwandski, National Post
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
I had first seen Matt Mays at NXNE2003, and really liked his debut CD. Today “Stand Down At Sundown”, the first track from his new CD, opened the show and set the scene for what was to come: strong songs, played flat-out “Ragged Glory”-style, with up to three electric guitars. 
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
“Where Am I Going” from the first album was next, followed by  “Travellin’”, “What Are We Gonna Do Come The Month Of September” (an epic title for an epic song), “City Of Lakes” (“we always play this one better away from home, when we are homesick”), “The Plan” (with Kathleen Edwards on harmony vocals), and “Cocaine Cowgirl” (a song you can listen to here), before they closed the set with “Time Of Your Life”. A great show, the best of the day, and one of the best all week.
Kathleen Edwards   Kathleen Edwards + Matt Mays


The Swifty’s @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
The Swifty’s
“Built around former Old Reliable main man Shawn Jonasson, this new trio strips that band’s sound down to the bare essentials, and as a result comes up with an authentic outlaw country sound. It’s uncanny, in fact, how Jonasson and company are able to channel the spirit of Waylon Jennings into this debut album.” -  Jason Schneider, exclaim!
The Swifty’s
Not bad at all, but pretty standard Alt.Country fare. The set included a nice cover of Joe South’s “Games People Play”, and while certainly being authentic, their sound lacked something unique which would make them stand out in the sea of bands sounding exactly the same.
The Swifty’s


Charlie Sexton @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
Charlie Sexton
“Joining Joe Ely's band when he was 13 years old, Charlie Sexton recorded Pictures for Pleasure with Keith and Woody two years later. After the Arc Angel toured with Bob Dylan, Back Porch added the guitarist to their deep stable, with his first solo album in years due this summer.” – David Lynch, Austin Chronicle
Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton’s ten year old masterpiece Under The Wishing Tree remains one of my favorite albums, so I was very much looking forward to this show. Unfortunately he didn’t play any song from that album, but the new songs sounded good as well. Carter Albrecht of Sorta joined the band for one song.
Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton


The Trews @ Momo’s
The Trews
“[The Trews] sound remarkably mature and polished on their full-length debut, House of Ill Fame, with a handful of songs that share a similar spirit to those on the Tragically Hip’s debut. Much of this can be attributed to the production of Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson who can’t help but make the guitars sound a lot bigger than they really are. And that’s a good thing because it gives them their own identity and those driving guitars keep every song moving along at breakneck speed. It is refreshing to find a young band who don’t want to sound like Nickelback or the current flavour of the month.” - Michael Edwards, exclaim!
The Trews
The Trews are doing pretty well in their native Canada, and their 2003 full-length debut House Of Ill Fame is well worth checking out (listen to one song here). However, their performance at Momo’s fell short off my expectations. They were off to a good start with “Every Inambition”, “When You Leave” and “Not Ready To Go”, but as the set went on, tempo, volume and singing style never really varied, making the show slightly one-dimensional.
The Trews

The Waking Eyes didn’t do much for me, so I headed back to Opal Divine’s.
The Waking Eyes


Rock Bottom Choir @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
Rock Bottom Choir
“Austin’s newest All-Star alliance Rock Bottom Choir will fill your righteous soul. Matt McCormack leads his congregation with Ryan Carter and Will Sexton on guitars; with bassist George Reiff (Chris Robinson’s New Earth Mud), drummer Joey Shuffield (Fastball), and Bill Carter on mandolin and banjo. Their debut CD For All the Saints will rock your soul right out of purgatory.” – SXSW Band info
Rock Bottom Choir
Another Sexton was onstage at Opal Divine’s: Charlie’s brother Will played with this band of Austin legends, who delivered a solid set to end the evening.
Rock Bottom Choir

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All pictures (c) Steffen Paulus 2005