SXSW Day 2 – Andre to Andre

Usually after a few days the feet get sore.  And, though the Dr. Martens are very comfortable to walk in, they don’t provide much padding to stand in.  After only a day, my feet were a wee sore.

David Beebe had told be about a viewing of Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year with Andre Williams. It was actually the second of three screenings of its opening week. I didn’t have to wait long at 11:40 in the morning at the restored 6th Street theater which is now owned by Alamo Drafthouse. I was able to order lunch and watch the movie.

David showed a few minutes after I did, and Andre was sitting down front. It was an excellent film: lots of laughs, lots of historical information, a bit sad, and very well done.

Afterwards I checked out the Dell party, wall to wall people, in between bands, no easy access to a drink, so I left immediately. The traffic at I-35 was insane with zero posibility for taxis getting anywhere close to me, so I walked to Conngress, quickly flagged a cab, and headed toward my impounded car past the airport.

A $25 ride + $193 later I was headed back to the music. I parked near S. Congress, a block from the Continental Club, and walked to Jo’s.

The first band I saw there was Frank Smith. He had a banjo, lap steel guitar, and a Alexis Bledel look-alike who had to have shattered some bones in her hand with the tamborine – and with more skill than I’ve ever seen. When she donned the washboard I knew Bob would be sorry he missed it.

The next band was aka C.O.D. – a three piece with drums, bass, and bass saxaphone. ANd odd instrumentation, but it worked most of the time. With the female/bass front, it was ok.

After that was Li’l Cap’n Travis – it seems like I’ve seen this band before, but I can’t recall when. I’m not sure this quite fits in with Bob’s Southern Rock theme this year; it’s more of an Austin Rock. Very good though – and they even played a little Glen Campbell.

It was getting close to 6pm, and I was debating heading down to Auditorium Shores for some Grupo Fantasma, but I ran into Adam Fisher and got sidetracked talking to him for a while.

Then come 7pm it was Bobby Bare Jr. and that show was excellent. I wanted more!

One of my 8pm picks for the showcases was at the Continental Club, which I often avoid when I have a wristband because you can’t bail on a band and walk down the street. But I was already here, so I stayed for The Old Ceremony. A North Carolina band that was good enough to make me buy the CD. One of several bands that would have made the day worthwile by themselves.

I took a cab down to 5th and Congress and tried to decided what I was going to do before the next show i wanted to see in an hour. I headed toward 4th, and soon ran into a roller derby friend from Houston, talked to Crasher for a while, then headed on.

The first thing I got to was Cedar St. Courtyard, and there was a huge line for cash ticket, but the place was packed. I knew from the Billy Bragg show last year the trick was to go into the bar and pop out close to the stage. That was crowded too, but got be 20 feet from the stage. Tim Fite was one crazy mother! But in a good way. He puts on a theater of the absurd, and the drops in social commentary. The juxtaposition of social absurdities with actual randomness absurdities makes for an interesting show. And his delivery holds it all in the air until it crashes on your head. This is a totally different spin on Hip Hop (and could be classified as experimental) than I ran into the night before.

After that I bolted from the overcrowding and went to Lambert’s on 2nd. The band I wanted to see was setting up still on the patio, so I headed up to the upstairs where the Westside Horns from San Antonio were starting. They were good, all old blues players, but the show outside was much more interesting.

Astra Heights (from Palacios, they formed in Houston, and call Los Angeles home now – their selection of jeans tells you this) is a solid 5-piece band, 4 of which are brothers. The music would hold its own by itself, but you can tell that these boys learned to sing in the church choir and all of the pitch in to provide a rich vocal support. You can hear their parent’s music selection in their influences – ELO and the Beatles. They put on a tight high-energy show, too.

When that was done, I headed back upstairs expecting to see Little Joe Washington getting ready, but the Westside Horns were still at it. Not willing to wait, and really starting to get fatigued, I headed back to the Continental Club, not expecting to last long.

There was an excellent bluegrass band playing: the Chatham County Line from North Carolina. The four-piece ended thier set with two songs accousticly in the middle of the floor so the next band could set up. A very bluegrass band thing to do. I was humored by all the badge-wearers who were awe struck by this activity. Who are all these “music lovers” who don’t seem to see much live music?

Up next were the Sadies, who I haven’t seen in a long time. Thier show was much more upbeat than a normal show of thier (as it should be for a SXSW showcase). Though I prefer the moody/erie side of them, it was quite excellent, and halfway through the set Andre Williams came out to sing Agile, Mobile, Hostile with them.

As much as I enjoy the Iguanas, who were up at 1am, I was totally exhausted, barely able to walk, and I did see them recently in Houston.