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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