11th annual Swollen Circus - hosted by Walter Salas-Humara and Michael Hall
Chris & Aurore, Little Pink, Matt Keating & Emily Spray, Michael Hall, A Don Piper Situation, Jon Dee Graham, The Moaners, Dayna Kurtz, The Silos, Cordero, Pete Galub, Scott Kempner & Ed Pettersen
Next >
Austin, TX - Hole In The Wall
< Previous
14-March 2006 2006  /  Photoindex  /  Home

The Hosts - Walter Salas-Humara and Michael Hall

Chris & Aurore
"The musical duo Chris & Aurore sounds like a genetic splicing of early Dylan and the Mamas & the Papas, with Aurore Ounjian's mouth harp adding biting counterpoint to Chris Keene's funky folkhouse vocals, and both of their voices ringing like church bells in harmonic synch.” - Clay McNear, Phoenix New Times
We were off to a good start: nice + easy melodies with intriguing lyrics...
Chris & Aurore
Chris & Aurore

Little Pink
Little Pink's brand of alt.country falls somewhere between the beer soaked sounds of roadhouse bar bands and the academic folk music of coffee house performers.”  - Benjamin Johnston, highbias.com
Little Pink continued from where Chris & Aurore had left off, the set leaning more towards folk than roadhouse sounds. Silo Konrad Meissner sat in on drums for the first two songs. Not bad.
Little Pink
Little Pink

Matt Keating & Emily Spray
"Matt Keating is in that same class of songwriter as Ron Sexsmith and Elliot Smith, but doesn't sound at all like either of them. His songs are elegant in structure and packed with wordplay that can amuse, dazzle, or hit way too close to home." - No Depression
I had "discovered" Matt Keating a few years ago when his album "Tilt A Whirl" came out, but had never had a chance to see him live.
He was joined by his wife Emily Spray, who also sang one of her songs, and Jason Mercer on bass.
Matt Keating
Matt Keating & Emily Spray

Michael Hall
“After completing three albums as the leader of Austin's crafty and intelligent Wild Seeds, North Carolina-born singer/guitarist/keyboardist (and former music journalist) Michael Hall moved into a similarly wise and winning solo career, also distinguished by exemplary, incisive songwriting and easygoing musical charisma.” – Ira Robbins, Trouser Press
Sounding slightly rusty at the beginning of their set, Mike Hall and band (George Reiff on bass, "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb on guitar, Randy Franklin on guitar/mandolin and Walter Salas-Humara on drums) quickly found their groove as they worked their way through three songs from a new album to be released later this year.

Michael Hall w/ "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb
Walter Salas-Humara + George Reiff

A Don Piper Situation
“One of the finest powerpop songwriters in town. His best songs (played with his crack quartet, a don piper situation) achieve a perfect balance of harmony, texture, dynamic variation...and rock, rock, rock" - New York Magazine
Don Piper, with Pamela Miller and Silos' Drew Glackin + Konrad Meissner, started out slow and worked his way to a rocking finish.
A Don Piper Situation
A Don Piper Situation

Jon Dee Graham
"Austin guitar-slinger Jon Dee Graham owes his rich growl to Tom Waits, but his long career has been built on hard work, bringing accolades as a sideman for the likes of Michele Shocked and John Doe, as well as part of the seminal New Sincerity outfit the True Believers. 2004's The Great Battle (New West) kicked butt; this month's follow-up, Full (Freedom), should take names."  – Dan Oko, Austin Chronicle
Jon Dee and band (John Chipman on drums, "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb on guitar, and George Reiff on bass) started their set of all new songs from Full with “Tie A Knot”. "Swept Away" was next, before they finished with the mighty “Something Wonderful”. They easily got the biggest response of the evening…
Jon Dee Graham
Jon Dee Graham

The Moaners
"Fusing the gut-level emotive sound of blues with the lean, wiry power of indie rock, the Moaners are a two-woman two-piece rock & roll combo hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, comprised of former Trailer Bride frontwoman Melissa Swingle on guitar and vocals and Laura King, formerly of another Chapel Hill band, Grand National, on drums and sometimes guitar." - Mark Deming, allmusic.com
Jon Dee was a tough act to follow, but the Moaners did well by turning the Hole into a garage with their guitar + drums sound. The finished their set with a cool version of "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad", which you can find as "
Elizabeth Cotten's Song" on their debut.
The Moaners
The Moaners


Dayna Kurtz
"This Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter possesses a rich, dusky, soulful voice that's impossible to forget. Kurtz's third release, the deliciously noirish Beautiful Yesterday, renders fresh, brooding interpretations of Leonard Cohen, Billie Holiday, and Prince, as well as some impressive originals. Her new one, Another Black Feather, drops in April." – Jay Trachtenberg, Austin Chronicle
A major change of pace, but with her powerful voice Dayna did well in keeping the attention of the notoriously chatty audience at the Hole.

Walter Salas-Humara introducing Dayna Kurtz
Dayna Kurtz

The Silos
“For 19 years, [Silos frontman Walter Salas-Humara] led the band with his deft pen, having near-scrapes with fame but mostly recording album after album with songs full of heart and musicianship, then buzzing from town to town in a van to deliver them on stage with all he’s got. One could call him New York City’s answer to Austin’s Alejandro Escovedo.” - Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix
The crowd was treated to three new Silos songs: “Keeping Score” was followed by a short drums & bass jam while Walter had to change a string. The title track from their brand-new Come On Like The Fast Lane album was next, before they wrapped it up with “Behind Me Now”.

The Silos
The Silos

Cordero
"The band of indie-rock veterans switches easily between atmospheric Southwestern ballads and guitar-and-drum driven numbers, and Ani Cordero's moody vocals reimagine the notion of Spanish rock." - The New Yorker
Calexico with a new singer? If you closed your eyes that was easy to imagine during Cordero's set, which was certainly quite entertaining.

Cordero
Cordero

Pete Galub
"Galub is the prince of lyric-dry-wit... I’ve been listening to the forlorn Galub for about a year now, and how did I miss connecting him to Leonard Cohen? He’s a fine songwriter, who creeps up on you (he’s gotta stop doing that). Catch him before he catches you." - Andrew Aber, Village Voice
The Hole was still packed when Pete Galub got up on stage. 15 minutes later there was plenty of room. During his appallingly incoherent set the vast majority of the crowd fled to the back room or left for good. Most likely the worst performance in the history of the Swollen Circus.

Pete Galub

Scott Kempner & Ed Pettersen
“Between the end of the Del-Lords in 1990 and the formation of the Little Kings with rock'n'roll great Dion DiMucci in 1995, Bronx-born singer/guitarist Scott ("Top Ten") Kempner maintained his membership in the sporadic Dictators, toured with the big-in-Europe Brandos and made [a] thin but appealing solo album with the instrumental/production aid of Missouri's Skeletons.” - Ira Robbins, Trouser Press
Those who stuck around were rewarded with terrific set by Scott Kempner. I had never had a chance to see The Del-Lords, so it was great to finally hear some of those songs. "Judas Kiss" was first, followed by "Cheyenne". And his last song, taken from a recently recorded second solo album (Saving Grace) clearly wet my appetite for more…

Scott Kempner

Scott Kempner & Ed Pettersen

All photos (c) Steffen Paulus 2006

< Previous 
2006  /  Photoindex  /  Home Next >