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Friday, March 29, 2013

It was Rainey for SXSW

That's right, it was Rainey St. to kick off what would be my last day of SXSW.


Rainey St. is the newest edition to the down town entertainment district. Located just on the south end of Red River, but still close enough to walk to several other down town venues. Rainey St. seems to have it all. There are establishments that serve food, some with lots of TV's, some whiskey bars, some beer gartens, and a great time to be had along this small stretch of road. All of the establishments are designed to maintain there original small, older home facade, but then you step in or step out back and you are blown away.


Bungalow (https://www.facebook.com/bungalowatx) was our first stop on our last day and is definitely one of those places. "Bungalow was inviting and is definitely set up for people to stay and have a cocktail (cocktail = beer or whatever else you drink).  It's a nice place to meet people or just hang out. There is a food trailer outback that provides tacos for good eats so they definitely don't want you to go anywhere. You can stay for drinks, a good time, and eat there too!" Mariza Cruz

With performances by The Dunwells (http://thedunwells.com/) and the Roosevelts on tap it would prove to be a great start to a great day. Although we did sit through the sound check for The Dunwells, (which doesn't qualify as a performance) it did keep the audience riveted. As they sound checked on several tunes to make sure everything would be perfect for the evening performance, the audience was definitely drawn in. I can say with the harmonies from the brothers that fronted the band, I look forward for an opportunity to check out a real set, and hopefully soon!


The Roosevelts (http://www.wearetheroosevelts.com) I did catch. Now that I have been privy to several performances already, including a late night fireside acoustic set (DAMN! There should be a BAD ASS video coming from that!!!!!! can you hear me James and Jason, can you hear me?) I am going to turn over the crowd source reaction to Ms Cruz.


I did catch The Roosevelts at a previous show in early February (http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2013/01/no-reservations.html), but there was much conversation, I was seated in the back, and the crowd was front to back and side to side. It was not easy to see the performance and sort of OK hearing it. THIS EVENING on Rainey St., in Bungalow, during SXSW was a whole different beast. Standing quite close to the stage and being able to enjoy the performance and see the crowd was wonderful. The full and true enthusiasm that The Roosevelts bring to the stage is completely telling. It tells of their joy in performing the music they create, it tells of their joy in performing on it stage, and most of all it tells in the audience reaction. The opportunity was definitely not lost with the band. To have many new faces in the crowd it seems that the band embraced it and returned the excitement ten fold. They have a new video they have released and it there was total crowd participation with "Everybody Knows" (http://youtu.be/TYMLzYJ-pt4). I hope 'everybody knows' about the Roosevlets soon because they are a joy to see and hear.


Laters

Written by:
M. Cruz
edited by:
William Tompkins



Monday, March 25, 2013

SXSW Bday pt 2

While reviewing the photos I was going to use for the previous post, I realized that there was yet a SIXTH band we had seen and listened to who wasn't included in my last post. So I will give you a rundown of this performance here.


Now although this performance was during the music portion of SXSW, this band actually performed for the Heart of Texas Rockfest. This runs event runs concurrent to SXSW and is located between 6th St and 7th St on Neches. It is free to get in, but they do ask for donations at the gate so if you go next year, please donate! A $1 donation is stupid cheap for great music and an amazing line up of bands they always have here. The set up is for Rockfest is pretty sweet as well. There are 2 stages side x side, so while you are listening to some awesome music on one stage, the next band is getting ready on the other stage. I would honestly say there is a 5 minute delay between bands starting from stage to stage, pretty fucking cool and efficient!

There is an upcoming blog from my day 5 of SXSW that will be dedicated to Heart of Texas Rockfest (http://www.texasrockfest.com/). This is what happened somwhere in between Super Water Sympathy and Winslow (http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-very-sxsw-birthday.html) we wandered over to see what was happening at the Texas Rockfest complex.

To my surprise, LA Velvet (https://www.facebook.com/LAVelvetMusic) was on stage. Yes! and Oh My! was the instantaneous reaction. I remember this band from SXSW 2012, so you know they made an impression. Here is what blew me away this time...there was a huge difference in the sound and the stage presentation of the band. There is absolutely no question in my mind that not only a year, but also location, can make a huge difference in the sound, presentation, and lasting impression a band can make on a crowd. If I just went off of my last experience with this band in 2012 (http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2012/03/kickin-it-sxsw-style.html) I probably wouldn't have hung out too long, but I wanted to give them another look. Okay! Well maybe I wanted to give lead singer Laura V another look, but so did every other dude with a camera, cell phone, or mental Rolodex.



The music has a strikingly 80's metal sound. There is NOTHING wrong with this, and judging from the people in the crowd jamming out, you can tell that LA Velvet is well received and appreciated for what they do. With front woman Laura V belting out the vocals (and sounding a helluva lot like Doro Pesch - props to the metal god she is) and shredding impressively on the guitar, it is no wonder the crowd pretty much stays glued to their spot. With definitive crowd control, the band puts the audience through the paces. "Put your hands together!" "Let me hear you out there!" "How are you feeling tonite Austin, Texas?" is the constant banter from the stage keeping the audience lively and part of the show. It seems this is a good thing, to have your crowd as the 'other' member of the band. LA Velvet did break out my least favorite song of theirs (the one with the harmonica) again for one of their last songs of the performance. However, this time it was so totally different, the sound was much cleaner and made sense with the music.

Overall I am glad to say I got to see LA Velvet AGAIN! What kind of music blogger would I be without saying that I would love the opportunity to meet the band...wink wink - nudge nudge...when they come down Texas way again!

Laters




Friday, March 22, 2013

A very SXSW birthday

So I got out of bed and got ready for the day. It was 03/14/13 and SXSW in Austin, Texas was in full swing. I had no clue as to how this day would unfold until my girlfriends computer took a crap. After some conversation with her IT department and a couple of phone calls later they determined she would have to go into the office....OH the HORROR! She then delivers the most horrible news of all, "Since I have to go in to the office, why don't you just go ahead and go downtown. I'll call or text when you can come get me."
oh yeah, that's alright by me!!!


So this day will cover 5 different bands. From L.A., Colorado (2), Shreveport, and Cleveland. I guess I do have to back up one second and explain this...there were WAY more bands I heard than this. It is just a simple matter of hanging out long enough to appreciate (or hate) what I was hearing, drop a card with the band, and take some photos. There were bands and musicians performing on street corners, in alleys, and on rooftops. You can not help but here and see bands every where you go during SXSW. If you have a love of music and live performances, then you should really get your ass to SXSW next year. Don't worry about those stinking wristbands or badges (HA! We Don't need no stinking BADGErS!) 
Badger, Mariposa, CA

My SXSW day three journey took me to Firehouse Lounge (http://www.firehousehostel.com). Located just off of 6th St and in the heart of the music/entertainment district. This little place is the other half of the Firehouse Hostel, right across the street from the famous, historic, and haunted Driskell Hotel. Firehouse Lounge is exactly that, a lounge. It has a tiny little stage in the corner by the bar (which you will definitely see in the photos) and second level seating with booths and tables against the wall opposite and facing the bar. It is a fairly small joint so don't plan having any conversation if there is a band on stage, because that is all you will hear. I particularly thought the bar design was stunning, it was just the look and set up of it. The staff was friendly and attentive enough that I will definitely stop here again, on any random given weekend, just to happily drink a beer there.

Band one; The Epilogues (http://www.theepiloguesband.com) from Denver, Colorado. With a very crisp sound and a great vocal placement, these guys had an edgy sound to their music. Whatever edge you want to label it is your call, but they were edgy. I liked them. The Epilogues blend keyboards well into their songs and music so that it fills just right. The drums and guitars were well balanced, and had a little bit of that rasp and edge, but really clean where it needed to be. For the short sets that every band is relegated to playing during SXSW, The Epilogues did an amazing job of filling every moment. It was not just the performance of their music, but a damn good arrangement of it. So when they walked off the stage it left you feeling as if you had just heard a full set. 


Leftmore (http://www.facebook.com/Leftmore) was right on...sorry I had to! He is also from Colorado. Before he even went onstage for his set, he came up to me (no damn idea who I was) and thanked me for being there. WTF! This dude is uber cool. This long haired guy, sporting the black rimmed specs, an acoustic guitar and some glasses of water on the floor in front of him for his set. This was the epitome of a 'show' and a 'performance'. He entertained those in attendance with his voice, his music, his sharp wit, and his talent. Leftmore pulled the crowd in and spoke to us. Told us about the music and chastised the idiots who spoke out of turn - Let me explain that last part. He elicited a response from the pretty ladies in the back of the lounge for a feeling or emotion that he would use in the next song he played. To our bemusement some chowder head dude down in front spoke up, "I was speaking to the pretty ladies in the back, and you are neither." How fucking awesome is this guy. After his set with the guitar...and I must say that 'Waltz #2' followed up by 'Paint' is just really cool, he did what he referred to as 'Paint pt2' on the floor with the glasses of water and spoons. Different, surprising and very Austin...Keeping it Weird, and it worked. Leftmore's music is very low key and subtle, but somewhere within his voice and the music it warms you.


Changing directions, gears, and speed, the set at Firehouse lounge jumped to Countless Thousands (http://www.facebook.com/countlessthousands). Somewhere out there, the family of Indie/Punk/Rock/Metal music lost their bastard love child called Countless Thousands. Yup! I think I covered my bases there. These guys are from L.A. and although they seem quite young in age (fuck I think all bands are kids at this point in time) they have been kicking it out for a few years. It was raucous, but harmonious at the same time. The co-lead singer appears to be the newest member of the band, but you wouldn't know by how well the whole project just melds together. Definitely hard, loud and what the small crowd was really itching for. I would love to see these guys again, and maybe even on a bigger stage (watch out Texas Rockfest - this one is for you!) I happily passed on a couple of the extra Cd's I got from these guys to some friends of mine. Worthy of a second listen and second look.


Who the hell is this Super Water Sympathy (http://superwatersympathy.com) you keep speaking of? Dude, I swear it won't be long and everyone will know that name and no one will ask that question. I can keep talking all sorts of glory about SWS from Shreveport, La. and posting about them (yeah, I think I will), but you are going to have to get off your asses and go see them. A friend of mine turned to me after a recent performance and said 'What the hell are they doing in Shreveport." Agreed sir, agreed. Their videos do them slight justice for their live presentation. The music sure as hell does not capture the vocal beauty that is Ansley Hughes. Quit being a bitch and just buy the album, and go to a show. SWS is just great music!


Winslow (http://www.winslowsoul.com) was probably the-biggest-surprise-find-of-the-day-by-accident kind of scenario. Just walking down 6th St and stepping into a venue that was all ages (they did not serve alcohol), and here they were. A funk/rock style with the sax and keyboards playing a prominant part against the vocals of the frontman. It was fabulous music. This is the band you get excited to go see on a weekend. You get dressed up and plan to dance to! The music was completely energetic and the small crowd that gathered quickly built up, as Winslow continued to perform. They have some great guitar licks that are placed well within their songs and the band does a great job of keeping their front man (Maurice Martin) just that...Out In Front.
There does not seem to be an age with their music and it is truly an infectious groove. This is one of those bands that does such a wonderful job of having a good time on stage that the audience can't help but be consumed by the energy and vibe. I fear that the next time around I won't get to the opportunity to see these guys for free, I am sure I will buy a ticket and I will be prepared to have a great time.


Laters





Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SXSW 2013 The Kick Off pt.2

So I leave Macy's (from their American Rag Showcase sponsored by the Vans Warped tour) and head to the East side of Austin for a Portland Music Showcase. Now this is on E A S T 6th St, like way, way, way EAST 6th St. A small bar called The Grackle (http://www.facebook.com/thegrackleaustin). I didn't know it was there and would have never known or passed by, had it not been for SXSW. This is part of the energy and dynamic that is SXSW. I live here and this is such an amazing opportunity to go to new places and experience a whole new piece of life that would have been otherwise overlooked.

The bar is on a corner with a decent little outside lot. There is a food trailer for some good eats outside, a screened in patio for enjoying the outdoors. The inside space has a stage in the left back corner as you enter and the bar wraps around on the right. It definitely has that lounge type of feel with the decor inside.

On to the music.

I had no idea what I was going to hear, nor whom. To my wonderment and surprise, I  saw (and heard) Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside (http://sallieford.com/site)! What a fun band and a great time. Sallie and the band are totally entertaining on stage and lively.  Sallie Ford's vocals are heavy and full. In no way does the sweet, innocent looking, and unassuming Sallie Ford that you see, match the voice that kicks you in the ears and pulls you by the guts. That sweet, innocent look gives way to some strikingly naughty lyrics. My girlfriend was cracking up a couple of songs into the set as she pointed this out to me. Oh My! How great it is to be in the midst and company of some pretty ingenious writing and performance at this level. To think, here we are checking this band out for free in a dirt lot! Seeing The Sound Outside is nothing but a great time.

In the  late afternoon Texas sun, everyone in the crowd had their eyes on Sallie and many in the crowd were dancing...dancing by themselves, dancing with others, or just grooving along. The guitar sound is twangy and unique for today, it is not that radio pop bullshit we hear. It is original and it is interesting, if you pay attention. The stand up bass only adds to the whole performance aspect when they bust it out. The music is somewhere between rock-a-billy and a fifties-ish rock and roll sound. EEhhhhh, fuck the pigeon hole, this is absolute fun, a good time, and great music.




Make sure you jump to the band's web page from the link I provided. Go to YouTube, do whatever to check out Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside. We did and we were so very pleased with it all.


Inside The Grackle we caught the sounds of Quiet Life (https://www.facebook.com/QuietLifeBand). The set started a little down tempo with the two guitars and vocal harmonies, but as the room filled with people, it quickly changed. With an acknowledgment from the lead singer, the 3 piece kicked it up a notch and really found their groove within the crowd. It only took two minutes and the room was packed.  There was nothing quiet about this performance. With really great skills by both of the front men, Quiet Life, so brightly and brilliantly breathed some life into the crowd. Sorry, but I couldn't help the puns. Look them up on Facebook and find them on the road...Hell if you are lucky you will catch them with Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside.

p.s. - two days later we are walking down a side street looking for some more SXSW shows and who do we see sitting on a bench...SALLIE FORD! It was the coolest shit, she was totally nice and even seemed a bit shocked that she was recognized. So we got a picture with her...thanks Sallie!

Laters


Sunday, March 17, 2013

SXSW The Kick Off

Wednesday has always been the official kick off to the music portion of South By Southwest (SXSW). The entire SXSW conference has become a beast of a whole different proportion in recent years, and I definitely don't crab about the giant commercial entity it has become, hell I look forward to it whole hearted. All of the things to see and bands to experience, I love it.


 Of all the places I could go to kick things off, how about Macy's? Right! My thought also. Macy's American Rag collection sponsored by the Van's Warped Tour. As a special event, Macy's had a stage in their store with special acoustic performances by Super Water Sympathy (SWS) and Breathe Carolina. I, unfortunately did not catch Breathe Carolina, but look forward to that in the near future, but was wowed by the SWS performance.



Super Water Sympathy (http://superwatersympathy.com/) was here in Austin, Texas as recent as February for a full on show at the One2One. These young kids from Shreveport. La. brought a big time touring show to a local venue and it was heart stopping. Their sound is clean, crisp and full of energy. Fronted by the vocals of Ansley Hughes, it is truly stunning. They do what you want when you go out to see a show. They put on a show! The way that SWS stands on stage and becomes one with the crowd is unbelievable. The guitars and keys mesh together into a sound that can only be described by the band as 'Water Pop'. The big bold vocals and the haunting sounds of the rhythm section are only topped off by a light show that you just don't see, unless you pay big money and go to the event sized arenas. To think they are still doing this on a small scale seems unimaginable, but then you snap back to reality and realize, "Oh Shit!" They are gonna be on the Vans Warped Tour for a second year in a row. There is definitely something special within the bands collective beating heart, and how they give that to the audience in a performance is just beautiful.



This leads me to SXSW kick off at Macy's. It was an acoustic performance. This could possibly be a crack in the foundation of a lesser band, if they were not prepared, but not SWS. Taking the stage and blasting through their set list in slow motion was wonderful. Here again the vocal performance of Ms Hughes was more than enough to make the crowd of young, eager on lookers just shut up and listen. Though they may not have known the songs of SWS, the crowd liked what they heard, clapped and swayed to a phenomenal sound. I don't think there could have been a better performance to introduce a whole new fan base to what is already a great band.

Handing out little business cards with free downloads of some SWS songs was just the perfect thing to do to work the crowd into a frenzy after hearing the haunting, but stunning performance.

I had the pleasure of catching them yet a third time the next day, but will save that blog for another part to my SXSW excursion.



Laters

SXSW Local at the Lucky Lounge

Like I said in my video post, 'there is music here all the time!' SXSW just brings the musical spotlight and the world to our doorstep. It is our duty to make it fun, worthwhile, and exciting while you are here. With the preponderance of musical venues and an outstanding live music entertainment district, that is usually not difficult. So, here I am with this blog and the impossible quantity of music to write about compacted into one short/long weekend.

"Local at the Lucky Lounge" was simply the pre -SXSW kick off party featuring a few of the best local acts that Lordship Ent (http://www.lordshipentertainment.com) has to offer.

The Moonshiners (http://www.moonshinermusic.com/) kicked things off with a set of bluesy type rock. The singer has a very distinctive, big voice that pushes through you as you listen. Wonderful and passionate story telling interwoven with a lead guitar that seems almost sublime until it is time to solo, then you had better pay close attention because the lead guitarist is 'Wow!.'

I had an opportunity to speak with the lead guitarist for a moment in between sets and learned he is self taught. He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him his sounds and styling were reminiscent of Eric Clapton. The keyboardist and guitarist are the two mainstays in the group. With rotating bass and drums keeping it fresh, you need to check them out when you get a chance. Smooth, mellow, soulful,and rocking (when they want), The Moonshiners are a good bet any night of they week you can catch them in Austin, Texas.


Jess and The Echoes (http://www.jechomusic.com/) are getting some heavy stage time here in Austin, and it is well spent. This young lady has a huge voice. Her vocals grab you by the ears and turn your head towards her. The band is wonderfully level across the stage, no overpowering ensemble here. This unit is designed to support the fabulous singer that Jess Kellner is. Jess and The Echoes has a certain something that can be felt, but is most difficult to describe. The crowd loved there stage time and pushed forward while they had the stage. I kept hearing statements of "They are great", "She is amazing!", and "I really love this band." throughout the crowd as I pushed through here and there to take some photos.

Word on the street is that starting March 25th, 2013, we may all want to watch the new season of The Voice (http://www.nbc.com/the-voice). Sounds special to me!


Michael Dillard (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Dillard) is a little more difficult to catch here in Austin, but if you are lucky you can see one of his performances. Here is an artist whom I have seen and tracked for a few years now. He is another person with the most distinctive vocals you may ever come across. I hate to make comparisons because what I hear and you hear are not going to be the same. Let's just say that he puts so much passion into his singing you would swear his head is going to explode. This young man gives it all when he sings and that is, every bit, worth going out to catch him when a show comes up. The steady in this group is the amazing guitarist Ty Read. Here, again, is another six string talent in Austin that is subtle in the group, but his performance soars when he solos.

Like most bands in Austin, there is a rotating field of musicians that passes through the groups door, but for Michael Dillard and Ty Read, they are the core that makes this performance a pop/rock/hip hop extravaganza! What I have said about live music in Austin and will repeat again here! It is not about going to see a band live, it is about going and experiencing a performance. You never know what will happen and you will always be glad to say you were there. Tonite was no exception with a brilliant cover of Peter Gabriels 'Sledgehammer', just be happy I caught it on video for you to see here (http://youtu.be/6eJogPp1P2Q)

 

MC Overlord (http://www.overlordmusic.com/) is he a myth or a legend. Maybe you should check out this Austin music icon for yourself. He seems to be an intimidating hulk of a man, but behind the exterior of the building that he is, lies the genius of hip/hop. MC Overlord has cool , catchy rhymes, an unbelievable live hip/hop presentation that just can not be beat, and the impressive ability to lay out the rhymes. His music is, for the most part clean and positive, but he keeps the party vibe intact with tunes like 'Bartender Keep 'em Coming' and 'I'm in here'.

As iconic as MC Overlord is, as storied as his career is, and as vast as his catalog is, I think it would be amazing to have him perform a fan scripted show. ARE YOU THERE OVEY>>>YOU READING THIS? That's right, do a contest where the fans vote on what songs they would like to hear from the long catalog that is you career. Put on that show, leave the core songs of the show in and play some fan favorites.

For those outside of Austin reading this, for those in Austin who haven't gone, an MC Overlord performance is as much a must see as the Capitol building, Lady Bird Lake, or Mt Bonnell!

here is the photo album from this show https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.517035628347965.1073741825.239625756088955&type=3


Laters

Thursday, March 14, 2013

SXSW 2013 edition

So it has begun. The South By Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive conference. The biggest draw and portion of this event is by far the Music conference. Although, the film is coming on strong, AND the interactive portion is HUGE when it comes to the launch of new things, i.e. Twitter and Foursquare!
I will make my way to the DT Austin area and surrounding parts to explore new venues, here tons of new music and hopefully interview some bands.
On just a small little jaunt to the downtown area for a couple of hours on 03/11/13 (for my girlfriends birthday) I did meet some new friends, Ismael (facebook.com/oldmaninthepeanut) and Tom. Hopefully I will see them around over the next few days. During a conversation last night with Ismael, we both made the observation that it is not a preponderance of social media representation and presence this year...(such as the Mashable venue) it is the camera person! I have seen folks with cameras every year and all the time, but this year everyone is breaking out the tri pods, the large camera bags, and lighting. It seems that everyone wants to capture their memory, make their mark, and show the world while they are doing it. You know what I say about that....HELL YEAH! Bring it on! All of you, them, us. This is what makes modern social media fun, exciting and great.
I did upload an intro video to my YouTube channel and to G+, so if you would like to take a moment and check it out ( http://m.youtube.com/user/soundfiend001?feature=guide#/watch?v=c8_7HFS1vpU) . Nothing spectacular, but it is just a short intro of myself, Austin, and the SXSW event that has enveloped the city. To tell the world your story in words and video is awesome, and of course everyone dreams of fame, fortune, and maybe even a little noteriety.
Oh well, be back at ya soon with some video and words of my own, about the music and events that will unfold over the course of this week.....and maybe I will get my shot at fame.



Laters