Thursday, March 13, 2014
year I was able to get myself out of bed early enough to get to the
Austin Convention Center to catch a solo acoustic set by Rhett
Miller, erstwhile frontman of one of Texas' greatest musical treasures,
the Old 97's. Rhett treated the early audience to a set built
out of a couple of his solo tunes, a couple of classic 97's tunes
and a good handful of songs from the forthcoming 97's record. Rhett,
even this early in the day, proved himself to be a dynamic and engaging
performer. Of course some might argue it's not too difficult when
playing these great songs, but Rhett really got the energy of the
small crowd up and pumping and this served as a great primer for the
release of the new record. And as for that record, it seems it is
going to be filled with the best sorts of songs, those about love
gone bad and whiskey drinking hell raising. I can't wait!
of my day was filled with playing another set with the boys of Zookeeper
at a great little party out on the east side, as well as seeing some
good friends and doing a bit of hanging out before getting into the
mess on 6th Street to catch a blistering set by Two Cow Garage.
It's been a few years since I've caught Two Cow play a set and I was
happy to see that they continue to purvey their edgy style of Americana
that skirts the line between alt. country and punk rock. The band
draws from the same musical well as Lucero, but they do it
with a much more punk rock sound, much rawer energy, and an energy
that is so vital that at any time during the set the band could simply
explode into noise and chaos. Micah and Shane occasional swap lead
vocal duties which adds to the variety of sounds the band can produce,
but the energy remains high and hardly constrained regardless of who
might be taking the vocals. Such a great live band... and I believe
they have a new record that has just been released so look for them
to be on tour in your town soon.
schedule for SXSW this year didn't seem to contain much British music
outside of the newer bands playing the British Music Embassy, so I
took the opportunity to head over and catch a set by a favorite of
mine, Turin Brakes. This band continues to amaze me live, especially
with their brilliant grasp of harmony vocals and doubling. Their sound
remains centered around that all important acoustic guitar, but has
evolved over the years from a looser, baggy Britpop sound to a much
tighter, vibier, rhythm-centric sound. This new batch of songs are
ones that I am wholly unfamiliar with and so it was great fun to hear
them performed live, simply reinforcing to me that I need to find
the latest record that has been recently released. These songs are
high energy and filled with ample amounts of groove and jangling guitars
until they break apart and the waves of sonic glory come crashing
through. And they do get blissfully sonic at times. These new songs,
and even the couple of older tunes, are really great; just smooth
enough to be easy to listen to, but plenty energetic and engaging.
The bass lines are thick and weave among the drums flawlessly, keeping
everything moving along purposefully and perfectly underpinning the
sonic guitars, acoustics, and brilliant vocals.
of my favorite bands that currently call Austin home is My Jerusalem.
Their last record, Preachers, was filled with aggressive, dark,
indie-ish rock and really set the stage for what will hopefully be
their rise to stardom. The band played an abbreviated set, instigated
by the total fall-apart of the backlined drum set on the stage, but
their set was glorious and strong. They played one of the new songs
that looks to build on the strengths that the band displayed on Preachers.
The excellent rhythm section anchors things very nicely, keeping the
songs pulsing along while the keys and guitars make everything noisy
and great, all neatly offsetting Jeff Klein's vocals and imbuing
them with a keen and wicked power. I'm looking forward to hearing
their new record. You should be too.
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