SXSW day 2.
We missed a band last night called Dressy Bessy, they seemed good, so we went to check them out at Waterloo Records in-store. It was decent, but something missing. Very cute red-haired chick singer, gigantic guitar player. Perhaps because they didn’t have much room in the record store, but they didn’t seem to have much excitement.
Michelle and I stepped next door for some lunch. I had the chicken fried stake, and I have to say it was the worst chicken friend steak i’ve had in i-can’t-remember-how-long. There’s musicians coming from all over the world to the music store, I sure hope they’re not eating there and judging it.
The Town Lake stage opened up on thursday night. It’s open with various acts thu-sat, free to non-conference goers. Tonight is tejano/latin night. The first act, Del Castillo from Austin, was very good. We were there mostly to hang out, chill out, and check out the venue. I later found out that they won the band of the year award wednesday night.
The second band was not so hot. Stampede from Dallas was so bad we were headed toward the exit within one minute of them taking the stage, trying desperately to finish the beer before the exit.
We were meeting up with others, the working stiffs, at Opal Divine’s Freehouse. Teye & Viva El Flamenco, listed from Austin but obviously from elsewhere originally. We caught the first half or so of their set which was quite excellent.
We stepped across the street to Mother Egan’s to see Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. Unexpectedly, Jesse was a female singer heading the band of alt-country. They included a stand-up bass and a violin with accoustic and electric guitars.
The next band we went to see was a pick of Bill Fergerson. He chose it almost entirely because they were labeled “Donkey Punk”. From Aarhus, Denmark, that was as apt a description as any. PowerSolo was reasonably good and loud thrash punk, and provided the quote of the night. this one goes out to grandma,… it’s called ‘Stupid Little Bitch’. After the first half (that really was enough) we left.
Bob wanted to catch a guitar player (currently his favorite) at Pecan St. Ale House for Cory Branan. It was reasonably full, and quite warm. We found the coldest place is the upper deck where all the vents are. He had some fun singer/songwriter stuff, and claims Memphis as home. this is the dumbest song i ever wrote
The next stop was Palmyra Delran at the Lounge. Who ever is managing this place should be fired. The bathrooms were entirely unmarked and everyone asked where they were. They had gone to the trouble, since wednesday night, of having signs on the other side of the doors telling the bathroom users (from the restaurant, open during the day) that the doors led to SXSW access.
The layout of the bar was horrible, but i suspect that may have been due to the branded showcase. The room was covered entirely with lounging chairs and tables, which fit very few people and was entirely inappropriate for the first band. The room seemed mostly to be lounged about by people who had been there before the bands and were likely familiar with the showcase sponsor.
The band was good with female vocal, surf type music, but needed a room full of people enjoying themselves.
We stopped by Halcyon coffee house for some food and a beer. It was mediocre food, mediocre service.
Headed around to see many, many lines. Antones, 40+; Mother Egan’s, 60+; Opals, a band we’d seen. We tried Momo’s around 10:25. They had The Jealous Sound from Los Angeles. They were a very good, straightforward rock, 00-pop (coldplay-ish) band. And very tight. Also I finally realized that all the other bands that evening hadn’t had very solid secondary vocals, and this band did.
We went to see happylife from London play at the Speakeasy. The band was good, struck me as a band that should be on something like a lollapaloosa lineup. The Speakeasy has a horrible layout and there were a lot of drunks stumbling around. It seemed quite odd, the band with a very large sound, staring up as if into a stadium crowd, with a wall 30 feet in front of his face.
The extra loud, and extra drunks, and extra lines, and extra long day helped us decided to go home and get some sleep.
This night there were a whole lot of cameras in the venues, and they often seemed annoyed that there were people there in their way while they were trying to photograph. It was a bit disconcerting that there were no lively crowds at any shows that night.