Yes, you’ve probably been wondering where our posts have been over SXSW. Well, first off, only I was supposed to to do daily blogging; Levi and April were going to do theirs this week as recaps. So why no posts? Well, lets just say that the rest of my posse showed up Thursday and when you are in the middle of a hurricane you just try to make it through alive.

See here is the thing about SXSW, sure you have all the issues revolving around this big overblown marketing beast where small independent bands scream to be heard above the fray, but forget that. Put that aside and what you have at SXSW is this crush of humanity descending on our proud state capital every year to hear some great music and have a great time. I mean look at this fellow below.

Chris Gray – Responsible Writer
Yes, that’s our dear friend Chris Gray of the Houston Press working hard like the excellent writer he is. He’s got his press badges, his wristbands, and he blogged extensively throughout. Well, not us. No sir we are down in the trenches with you plebeians. While Chris was jumping from show to show in the evening, we had to pick our shows*, pay for each one, and drink like fishes at our homebase bar on 7th. While Chris was blogging extensively we were either too hungover to type in the morning or threatened with death for typing too loud at the early hour of 1PM. While Chris was bringing you the latest and greatest bands, we were discovering new uses for Guideon’s Bible that probably would fall under sacrilege in most denominations. So, no, you are not going to get the full SXSW musical experience here. Neither will you get a run down of all the silliness, weirdness, drama, and genuine party call me insanity of the weekend – this ain’t no personal blog. But here is a quick recap of what I got to see from Thursday and Friday. Blogger is being weird right now so Saturday’s recap will have to wait.

Thursday 19 April


Consider this a stand-in for all lame SXSW bands
Let this band take the place of all awful and middling bands of SXSW. Ya see, for all the good that you can find at SXSW, you can find something terrible. Now granted, the “Texas Rock” stage on 7th street is the worst crap you will ever hear at SXSW no matter what year it is and even these guys above couldn’t hold candle to that shit but in their own bar band/blues rock tropes kind of way they were pretty unbearable.

The Gary
The reason though I’d gone to Ms. Bee’s was to see Austin’s The Gary whose little CD I really enjoyed. The set was pretty good but hampered by the sound. I actually picked up one of their CDRs last time they came to Houston and really dug songs like Confusion and Damn Machines so I was able to fill in the gaps where the sound failed them but, hey, you know, it’s a free show; outdoor sound is always dodgy but the band still played with some great verve – tossing out aggressive bass and some sweet guitar lines. Fun and good to see these guys again.


Elaine Greer’s death metal set at Casa de Gallo
Next stop was Casa De Gallo and when I got there I had JUST missed Giant Princess play. The setting was pretty nice – a small little home in an obscure street on the east side and there was a good representation of all your music friends relaxing while enjoying some food and music. Elaine Greer played a great set with Travis on bass being his usual jovial self and Austin lending his skills on guitar, accordion, and backing vocals. The room sounded great, the band delivered, and Elaine’s voice carried all the melody, wit, and intelligence of her songs with a charming grace. Of course, if you’ve read my columns or blogs, you’d know that this is nothing new. Buxton was to follow Elaine Greer but I had to leave to catch an old friend from Austin. No worries, you know as well as I that it’s an easy bet that Buxton would take no prisoners. Need proof? That new single they have coming out KILLS! When it comes out buy a copy, then you will truly know of this band’s might.

Lou Barlow and Imaad Wasif – Cool Texas Night Awesomeness
After a short break, Lou Barlow and Imaad Wasif were performing outside at Ms Bees and, unlike the Gary’s earlier set, the sound was great. Perhaps the surrounding crowd did a good job of corralling the sounds – I dunno. It’s the first time I’d seen Lou play with Imaad and I have to say I really really liked what Imaad brought to the performance with his soft melodic phrasing complimenting Lou’s guitar and voice. Throw in a cool cloudless Texas evening and what more could you want? Excellent and worth racing out to see! Indian Jewelry followed but the way they were situated the crowd enveloped them to the point where I could not see them at all. Saturday, Erika told me they DID in fact have the strobes on that night but I didn’t see any from the back of the crowd. That right there tells you how packed it was. Still they sounded great so no complaints here.

And finally here is one last image of the evening…

Young Mammals and Ghormeh Sabzi (with Sandwich)
Funny enough this was one of the few times I ran into a Houston Band on the street. In fact, overall I found this year’s SXSW to have fewer people roaming the streets in general. Last year it seemed that you couldn’t turn around without bumping into another Houston band or scenester and even though this particular night seemed to have a good number of scenesters suddenly appear at our homebase SXSW bar that was more the exception than the rule. For what it’s worth, I’m gonna guess from what I saw that SXSW attendance dropped to some degree this year

Friday 20 April

Friday ended up being my Battan Death March. Let’s just say, I paid for Thursday all of Friday and leave it at that but, using every possible method available to me, I plugged through. Still we did see some good bands along the way.

Themselves
Themselves were pretty fun. They played a smart-ass electronic white boy hip-hop thing. One of the best songs they did involved using the drum machine (sounding like a typewriter) to type our what he was rapping to hilarious effect. My favorite song though was the third to last song which laid this heavy Kraut rock groove on the chorus. Unfortunately when I asked them what that song was their only response was “Oh sorry we fucked up the set. I have no idea what song that was.” Ha! Well fucked up or not it was fun and smart stuff.

Deer Tick
By chance Deer Tick was playing and given Tuesday’s show in Houston we figured we’d give them another chance and for me this was more a coming to terms with what Deer Tick has become show than anything else. I will say that the band opened with a version of one of the songs off his Jukebox Whore CDR that I hadn’t heard in ages so, for me, that was just one of those Oh man, I havent’ heard this in ages – I love this song kind of moments. And they closed with my favorite Deer Tick song which was played with all the ornamented beauty of the original. I think here is the thing about Deer Tick; they’ve become an Americana band. Gone is the signature subtle melancholy of his earlier work and in its place is a good Americana bar band. The kind of band that plays long aimless 12 bar blues songs and has frat guys high-fiving each other (Oh yes they did!). It’s a good band but it’s not the band I came to love. I’ll bet they get a bigger audience and they’ll be fine. So good sailing to you Deer Tick.


Jana Hunter
After that is was a race across town to see Jana Hunter at Domy books. I’d missed her Tuesday so I was glad to find that Domy was running a bit behind schedule. I mean c’mon you know Jana: that singular phrasing, that jangly guitar, the slow spacious emotional songs. Much like Lou Barlow’s set the prior night, Jana hailed in the cooler evening weather playing her haunting music as the sun began to fall and birds flew across the sky overhead. I couldn’t have asked for better.

Babel Fishh And Evak1
Last for the evening was Babel Fish and Evak1 which easily, hands down had the best banter of any band of SXSW I’d seen. I already dug the Babel Fishh stuff but, together, these guys were this brilliant non sequitur stream of consciousness . The whole routine about the Bono Hot Wings just had me rolling with laughter. It was like those two good friends everyone has who can just riff off each others silliness. Unfortunately, the sound didn’t do them many favors (the vocals were way too loud compared to the beats and samples). Nevertheless their music, wit, and nerdy charm was easily more than a match for the crappy sound and the fact that there was no room to dance because of tables and chairs. Fun music, smart guys, go see them!

My SXSW 2009 Posts:
Jameson and Lonsetar SXSW 2009 Part I: (
Link)

Jameson and Lonsetar SXSW 2009 Part II: (Link)
Jameson and Lonsetar SXSW 2009 Part III: (Link)

Also,
April’s recap (
Link)

*My band didn’t apply this year and so I didn’t ahve wristbands like I did last year.