SXSW Report: Folk and Metal

madness2

Madness, indeed.  The weather can’t be more perfect, and the crowds cannot be any larger.  Chicks with boots are everywhere, so are hipsters in black skinny jeans and those haircuts found in the special section of the picture book.  More than 1,600 bands (acts) are performing this weekend, and any effort you make to take as much of in as you can is eventually pathetic.

telekinisis

Telekinesis

Our highlights so far include this nifty band from Seattle, Telekinesis, which has a sort of Death Cab for Cutie pop sound.  They did one song, “Tokyo,” which plants its sharp little hooks in your fleshy parts.  We saw them at the great Home Slice Pizza and had a slice, too.

That showcase is just one of the many, many free things you can do at SXSW.  In fact these day parties or side parties easily outnumber the so-called “official” events and are much more fun.  Our buddy Ken Shane is a fully accredited member of the press, and although he’s weary from catching bands and schlepping all over town, he’s also going to hear speakers as part of the music conference.

gary-louris-mark-olson

Gary Louris, left, and Mark Olson

Fellow 30 Days Out blogger George and his band Orange Is In, are in town to play along the bustling South Congress strip Saturday, we all linked up Friday in the parking lot at Jo’s Coffee Shop (next to the San Jose hotel) and caught some great bands.  A huge crowd turned out for Gary Louris and Mark Olson, founding members of alt-country grandpas the Jayhawks, and their acoustic set was gentle and well-sung (and well-played, particularly by the deft Louris).  They even played “Blue,” a Jayhawks classic from the days after Olson left the band (I think) and really had the crowd going.  We saw our old buddy Tito Larriva (from the Tarantulas and from Robert Rodriguez movies), who’s now living in Austin; Rodriguez’s actress/singer sister Patricia Vonne; and fiddler/singer par excellence Carrie Rodriguez.  Next up was Alejandro Escovedo, playing with his 15-piece orchestra, and the few songs of his we caught were excellent.  The great “Always A Friend” sounded awesome with those horns behind it!

metallica

In the streets outside Stubbs; that light in the distance (center)? Metallica.

We left early to schlep back downtown for the big Metallica show at Stubb’s.  We had no chance in hell of getting in – they admitted about 2,000  so-called VIPs who, if you ask me, just wanted to be seen being admitted this hard-ticket show.  That left thousands of badgeholders, wristband wearers and more milling about in the street around the venue.  So we staked out a spot about a block away … and of course we could hear with crystal clarity.  “We thought we’d join your party,” said lead singer James Hetfield.  “The best kept secret in rock” (He said, sarcastically).  They played “One,” “Harvester Of Sorrow” and from the latest album, “Cyanide.”  About 80 minutes later, they left for good with “Search and Destroy.”  Yeahhhh!

YouTube: “Tokyo” by Telekinesis

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