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Tuesday, March 13

After perusing the schedule for the night and realizing that the two must-see shows for me this year would be The Jesus And Mary Chain and Bob Mould I met up with some dear business friends (is that weird?) to have a few drinks at the Driskill Hotel. This also has been a fairly ongoing tradition for not only myself, but a good few of the SXSW veterans. There is always business being done at the Driskill, and tonight was certainly no exception. With the Interactive segment of SXSW continuing longer each year and music beginning earlier, many more of the denizens of the bar were tech folks than music folks, but it's still one of the best places on 6th to grab a (quieter) drink and talk some business or just catch up.

After spending a bit too much time in the Driskill's fantastic bar and possibly having one too many Shiner Bocks I made my way over to the British Music Embassy, which for 10 years now has always been a fantastic place to catch some fantastic music. I wanted to catch Frank Turner play, as I had never seen him perform live but have long been a fan of his acoustic punk records. I arrived in time to hear a Welsh punk band finish their set, but not in time to catch their name. The crowd was really digging it, but it was a little too rough for me. Frank Turner played solo, as expected, and turned in a phenomenal performance. Turner has always reminded me of Billy Bragg, and he really lived up to that live. The crowd was enthusiastic about the show, and with good reason. Turner's guitar playing was bombastic, he was strumming the strings harder than I've ever seen anyone get going on a poor dreadnaught guitar. Turner played a good handful of new songs from his forthcoming record and then opened the show up to requests and favorites. While he didn't play "Hatcher Fucked The Kids" he did run through quite a few songs that the audience embraced warmly and sang along to quite well. The show was raucous and rowdy, lacking any refinement, and truly cementing Turner in my mind as the king of acoustic punk.

Closing out the night at the British Embassy was a great London-based band called fiN. They were hard too pin down soundwise, moving from growling rock to smoothed-out pop in the finest moments, without changing sound or making it seem odd. The singer put down his guitar and would grab the microphone, hop up on the bar, move into the audience, walk down the bar, and more, all without losing a beat in the song. The band was very charismatic, moving from My Bloody Valentine-esque walls of sound to clear, beautiful Britpop without a moment's notice. The songs were well-written and played very well; this band will be one I'll be looking for a full-length record from soon.

-David DeVoe


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