Archive for SXSW

Video Du Jour: Rick Springfield

Posted in Rock Moment, SXSW with tags , on April 3, 2013 by 30daysout

We’re taking a little time off from the blog so we can get caught up in our day jobs. We will drop by occasionally in the next week or so with some good stuff.

Today let’s go back to SXSW, with an acoustic performance by rocker Rick Springfield. He played at the 2013 Southwest Invasion at SXSW on the roof of Whole Foods Market, presented by Quantum Collective, Amazon MP3, and IROCKE.

Rick Springfield official web site

More videos at IROCKE

 

Video Du Jour: The Mavericks

Posted in Rock Moment, SXSW with tags , , , on March 27, 2013 by 30daysout
Mavericks Waterloo

The Mavericks, partyin’ in the parking lot at Waterloo Records.

More stuff from SXSW: The Mavericks, a country rock band fronted by Raul Malo, have a new album out – In Time is their first studio work in about a decade. It’s heavy on the melodic, danceable stuff for which they are best known.

We caught their free set during SXSW at Waterloo Records. They played acoustic, and they quickly turned the record store parking lot into a party zone. Here’s “Back In My Arms Again,” from the new album.  Thanks to headonfire1105 for loan of the video.

The Mavericks official web site

Video Du Jour: Iggy & the Stooges

Posted in Rock Moment, SXSW with tags , , , on March 22, 2013 by 30daysout

We learned a lot of things at this recent SXSW music event: you spend more time walking from venue to venue and standing in line, than you do actually hearing music. If there is a huge, famous act playing during SXSW, you probably won’t get in to see them – unless you have connections. But actually, we knew both of those years ago. It doesn’t deter one’s fun at SXSW, at the very least.

And the other thing we learned: as soon as Iggy Pop leaves the stage after a show, he gets into a car to go away. And he doesn’t even bother to put on a shirt! We caught his exit from the Mohawk club after Iggy and the Stooges’ SXSW show. Here’s a new song from that show, “Burn.”

Thanks to freddycannonII for loan of the video.

Video Du Jour: Vampire Weekend

Posted in new, SXSW with tags , on March 21, 2013 by 30daysout

It’s going to take a few days (weeks?) to flush this year’s SXSW out of our systems, so please bear with us. On the plus side, much of that involves us sharing new music we heard at the event.

One of the official events was a Day Stage where invited acts could perform short sets for conference attendees. One of the acts playing was Vampire Weekend, which hasn’t appeared in public for about a year. They performed a five-song set that included a new tune, ‘Unbelievers,” from the new album Modern Vampires of the City, due May 7.

Bonus: “A-Punk”

Vampire Weekend official web site

SXSW Day Three: I’ve Done Everything For You

Posted in SXSW, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by 30daysout
Rick Springfield web

Rick Springfield, lookin’ good at age 63.

Friday is usually the craziest day of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. By this time, any rational plan or schedule has gone out the window as one gets caught up in the hurricane of music, madness and sweaty humanity.

We had the noblest of intentions to serve you, dear reader, on Day Three by volunteering for sea duty aboard the U.S.S. Lone Star Riverboat, a party that was to be regaled by the metal band Goatwhore. But alas, as we approached the dock along Austin’s tranquil Lady Bird Lake (actually an easygoing reservoir of the usually fast-rushing Colorado River), we saw that about 500 other intrepid souls had the same idea.

The crowd’s color of choice for t-shirts, body ink and Death Metal was black – for the next few hours these would be our people. But a deck hand for the Boatwhore cruise, apparently looking for curvy cruise mates, strolled to our part of the line and told us: “There is no way you’re getting on the boat. About 18,000 people signed up for this, and it holds only 90 people.”

Blue Sky Riders

The photogenic Blue Sky Riders, from left: Loggins, Middleman and Burr.

And so our ship sailed, with us still standing on dry land. Passengers and crew sailed off into the Texas night, dancing under the stars to the roar of Goatwhore. We hope and pray they made it safely back to shore.

The day was not without its pleasures, and surprises. Atop the sunny and breezy patio of the big Whole Foods Market flagship, people nibbled on vegan tacos and sipped coconut water while listening to a decidedly mellow lineup of musicians. Then, a last-minute addition: Rick Springfield.

Lookin’ good at age 63, Springfield busted out of an L.A. jail last week and performed with Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players at a big show on Thursday evening. He apparently wanted to play a little more, so this short set would be solo acoustic.

The crowd’s color of choice for t-shirts, girlfriends and recyclable totes was pastel – and for the next 20 minutes this would be 1981 all over again. Springfield flailed energetically on his guitar and invited the crowd to sing along on “I’ve Done Everything For You” and “Love Somebody.”

He even played one from his new album Songs For The End of the World, a bit of anxiety called “I Hate Myself,” which of course he also turned into another singalong.

And then, “Jessie’s Girl.” How can you resist? SING ALONG! “Lovin’ him with that body/I just know it!

At this point you may be wondering: Why would someone like Rick Springfield appear at SXSW, which is designed to showcase and break out new artists (and suck up to superstars)? Well, SXSW is also a good vehicle for established artists to play and get their new projects in front of audiences and hopefully, get their careers back on the rails again. With that short acoustic blast on Thursday, Springfield may not have propelled himself back to the top of the charts but he got his name on the minds of a few hundred people (and in front of you, dear reader).

Right up next was another act, Blue Sky Riders. A Nashville trio playing smooth country pop, the band consists of husband-wife Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman, both country hitmakers. The third voice belongs to Kenny Loggins, who divorced from Jim Messina in the 1970s to become King of the 1980s Soundtracks.

The Mavericks 4

Raul Malo, center, rouses The Mavericks on the outdoor Waterloo Records stage.

BSR sailed into “I’m A Rider (Finally Home),” the parenthetical title track from their debut album. Uptempo tunes like “Just Say Yes” and “You’re Not The Boss Of Me” went down well with Middleman’s ballad “Little Victories.” The voices blended seamlessly, making a musical meld slick enough to slide painlessly into country and adult contemporary playlists. The breeze wafted BSR’s delicacies like dandelion florets, away from the Whole Foods patio and across busy Lamar Street where yet another resurrection was about to take place.

The Mavericks, also a slick country rock outfit, played Waterloo Records’ outdoor stage behind the new In Time, their first studio album in a decade. The band played acoustically, accompanied by mariachi horns, two accordions and the soaring tenor of front man Raul Malo. The Tex-Mex menu included “Back In Your Arms Again,” “Dance In The Moonlight” and “Come Unto Me,” all from the new work.

There were a lot of people standing in the afternoon sun, so Malo kept the party going with an extended run-through of the band’s biggest hit, “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down.” Malo thanked everyone for coming out, and said it was cool to be playing at a real, live record store. “Help ’em out, because they’re really hurting,” he said of record stores in general. “Frankly, I’m tired of buying all my music at Walmart.”

St Paul and the Broken Bones 2

Paul Janeway, right, fronts St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ soul revue.

We did see some worthy new talent: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, a white-boy soul/R&B unit from Birmingham, Alabama, fronted by Paul Janeway. Screaming and shouting the soul like James Brown was his babysitter, Janeway ripped through a set of Southern R&B that went down well with the morning’s first tacos. His closing punch of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, then a selection from the songbook of Tom Waits, was mighty fine.

Today (Saturday) is the final official day of SXSW, and the day when all of the week’s rumors come to roost. This we know – Justin Timberlake is playing someplace tonight, as are the Smashing Pumpkins and John Fogerty. Vampire Weekend shows off its new material this afternoon at the Austin Convention Center, a whole bunch of hip-hoppers are here and the 1,200-person-capacity La Zona Rosa club hosts an artist currently known as Prince. Hoo boy.

Check out SXSW 2013 photos on our Flickr page

SXSW Day Two: America(na)’s Favorite Indie Record Label

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by 30daysout
Richard Thompson 3

Richard Thompson played songs from his new album.

Gotta tell you – the weather’s great here in Austin, Texas. Thursday was a bright, sunny spring day that topped out at about 80 degrees. And it was too nice outside to stay cooped up at all the official events of South by Southwest (SXSW) so we played a little hooky.

We did our official bit by attending Dave Grohl’s keynote address but the sunshine streaming through the glass at the Austin Convention Center was just too alluring. So we split, and stumbled upon something really great.

It was an outdoor party by the New West Records label at Threadgills, a restaurant built on the site of the old Armadillo World Headquarters and run by some of the same people. New West showed off some old and new members of its artists’ roster.

Austin Lucas

Austin Lucas is the one with the guitar.

New West has been in business since 1997, when founder Cameron Strang signed Billy Joe Shaver, Delbert McClinton and the great Austin musician Stephen Bruton. In the years since its inception, New West has found a place in the hearts of lovers of roots music, as it has signed legends like Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, John Hiatt, the Old 97s, Ian Hunter, Dwight Yoakam and many more.

Strang has since left, and partner George Fontaine Sr. is now the label’s president. We didn’t catch up with Fontaine Sr., but we managed to corner George Fontaine Jr., who also works at New West and runs Normaltown Records, an affiliated label.

“We want to bring people quality music and quality artists,” said George Jr. “We had been known for signing more heritage artists, but in recent years we have signed some new artists and hopefully build them up to be the next generation of Steve Earles and John Hiatts.”

Some of those new names performed at the party. Austin Lucas showed off his folk/bluegrass lineage with some fine tales of sin and hellfire, and history and death. We got off to the steel guitar-and-twang of Daniel Romano, a Normaltown artist who has a Gram Parsons vibe and the straightest looking band this side of Merle Haggard’s Strangers.

John Hiatt greeted everyone with a short solo set, kicking off with “Thing Called Love,” which Bonnie Raitt turned into a thing called a hit back in 1989. He got around to a new tune from an album he’s working on, which he promised would be out around the beginning of next year.

New West has had great success with the “roots” artists but Fontaine Jr. said the label’s on the lookout for artists that will expand the range past a strictly Americana category. “We have really broad tastes. We have a number of different people that make up the A&R team and everyone likes different stuff,” he said. “What we’re doing now is seeking artists who write their own songs and have that unexplainable, intangible quality to them.”

John Hiatt

John Hiatt, relaxed and acoustic.

One of those artists is Ronnie Fauss, a Dallas-based singer. He was playing an in-store set at Houston’s Cactus Music that Fontaine Sr. attended. “I was doing a cover of a Slobberbone (a North Texas band who was on New West) song and (Fontaine) came up after the show and told me how much he liked it and how he signed them and worked as their A&R guy,” said Fauss. “We got to talking and hit it off immediately. A year later I signed and a year after that my record (I Am The Man You Know I’m Not) came out.”

Max Gomez is another new artist on New West. “Two years ago I went to SXSW on a whim and played a little dive called the Chuggin’ Monkey. I played my whole set to 20 people who were there and during my last song in walked a guy named Gary Briggs. About six months later we’re talking about making records and it’s a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier about how I got to make it,” said Gomez.

Steve Earle is the pattern, and his new album The Low Highway (out April 16) has Fontaine Jr. excited, as does the recent signing of Austin singer/songwriter Patty Griffin. Will New West also sign Griffin’s new husband and “driver” (guy named Robert Plant)? “Ah, that would be nice,” Fontaine said.

New West has a Plant associate – Buddy Miller, who co-produced and played on the ex-Zep’s last studio album Band of Joy. Miller, a great singer and songwriter and a shockingly good guitarist, is promoting the new album Buddy and Jim, a collaboration with veteran Nashville singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.

The Buddy and Jim band easily stole the show at the New West party, mixing some rousing originals with well-chosen covers including “Down South In New Orleans” (Johnnie and Jack) and the rockabilly stomper “The Wobble” (by Jimmy McCrackin). The originals rocked, too: “I Lost My Job of Loving You” and especially “Vampire Girl” featured some sizzling guitar from Miller.

Lauderdale Miller 1

Jim Lauderdale, left, and Buddy Miller.

More great guitar work came next, from one of the greatest guitarists ever. Richard Thompson, who many people feel could be second greatest British rock guitar player, played tunes from his new Electric. And electric they were – from the Celtic stomp of “Sally B” to the rocking “Good Things Happen To Bad People,” to the just great tunes “Salford Sunday” and “Stoney Ground.”

Austin is just the place for this all to happen for New West. The label has a very successful series, “Live in Austin TX,” which features performances from the venerable TV series “Austin City Limits.” Although the time for introducing new performances has run out, New West is reissuing some of the old performances on vinyl and as CD/DVD combo packs.

Easily the most successful release New West has issued is kind of odd: it’s only the second movie soundtrack offered by the label, and it doesn’t feature too many artists on New West. It’s the Crazy Heart soundtrack, issued in 2010 and sent into the stratosphere by the Oscar-winning song “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham.

“When we agreed to put it out it had been shopped to every major label. No one even knew if the movie would see the light of day,” said George Fontaine Jr. “Then Fox Searchlight bought the movie and the offer came across Cameron Strang’s desk to do the soundtrack and he jumped on it.

“Buddy Miller was involved in some of the producing. The late Stephen Bruton, who was a friend of Cameron’s, was sort of the musical inspiration and wrote some songs himself and coached Jeff Bridges throughout the movie. So it sort of made sense that it came to us. An Oscar also helps.”

Check out our SXSW 2013 photos on our Flickr photo page

SXSW Day One: If You Look For It, (Maybe) They Will Come

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , on March 15, 2013 by 30daysout
Des Barres 1

Michael Des Barres was a rock and roll superhero.

Finally hitting the streets of Austin for the sprawling South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is a relief of sorts, because the machinery of fun is finally set into motion. One may have a plan, or a schedule, and of course that just gets thrown out the window once the music starts flowing from all directions.

We tried an experiment of sorts on our first full day of SXSW: we thought we’d stick in one general place and see what would come to us. We chose a two-or-three block area along the city’s West Sixth Street, a decent distance away from the epicenter of madness closer to downtown. An open-air club called the Dogwood and its next door neighbor, the Molotov, served as our ground zero for Wednesday music, with a side trip to the great Waterloo Records in-store (actually outdoors) stage a block or so away.

The Austin-based soul singer Nakia (yeah, the Team Cee Lo guy from the first season of “The Voice”) was not a bad way to start the day. Wheeling through some horn-drenched covers (correction: NOT covers – see the comments), he drew an enthralled crowd off the street who appreciated his histrionics. Nakia has a wonderful, soulful style and we thought his was going to be the best voice we’d hear all day. We were wrong.

Nakia

Nakia

Then came the full-frontal rock and roll onslaught of Michael Des Barres, the actor/singer who fronted Power Station for a while back in the 1980s. Des Barres is an old-school rock guy. As he explained to us, “The best rock is below-the-waist music,” says Des Barres. “Plain and simple, rock and roll is a synonym for f***ing. It’s not a synonym for meditation … it has to get your body moving and your fluids flowing.”

And that he did, with a crack Austin pickup band that Des Barres admitted he had rehearsed with only once before. Rolling in to “Carnaby Street,” his rock manifesto and title track for his latest album, the Marquis blew our hair back with a short but intense (and loud!) set.

It all rolled to a stop with Des Barres’ own “My Baby Saved My Ass,” mixed into a medley with “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” and a tantalizing taste of “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” done up Power Station style. Des Barres made good on his promise: his set hit hard below the belt and for the record, our ears are still ringing.

Upon strolling next door to the Dogwood, we encountered the great Texas singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver on the sidewalk. Billy Joe, carrying his University of Texas tote bag with god knows what inside, said he was going to push up his short set to fill in for the scheduled act who was stuck in traffic.

Lucky us. Billy Joe’s set was nothing but classic: kicking off with “Heart of Texas,” he then rolled into “Georgia On A Fast Train” then slowed it down a bit with “Honky Tonk Heroes.” With the audience in the palm of his three-fingered right hand, Shaver unleashed the gorgeous “Live Forever” before ending on a up note with “Old Chunk of Coal” and the singalong “Try and Try Again.”

Billy Joe’s an American songwriting treasure; at age 73, he’s in the twilight of his epic career so catch this great performer live if you get a chance.

We also liked a raucous country rock unit, American Aquarium, out of Raleigh, North Carolina. They had a nice throwback sound reminiscent of early Steve Earle, or the Gin Blossoms. We couldn’t pick out any of their song titles but it all went down as smoothly as the day’s third-through-fifth beers.

Then, back to the Molotov for a surprise: a pop-up set by the great Raul Malo, frontman for the newly revitalized band The Mavericks. Raul told us he’s going to play with the Mavericks today (Thursday) and Friday in Austin, but his little set at the Molotov consisted of some old rock covers designed to showcase his utterly out-of-this world voice.
Raul Malo 1

Raul Malo, right, with the great Danny B. Harvey.

He rocked “Shake, Rattle and Roll” then put a velvety texture on the evening with a beautiful take on Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou.” A few songs later, he was off into the night – and we are going to try really hard to catch The Mavericks, who incidentally have a great new album, In Time.

It was fairly jarring to step over to the Waterloo Records stage for an overcrowded performance by the rap act Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, currently riding the hit “Thrift Shop.” Starting 15 minutes late, the rappers entered to the ponderous “Thus Spoke Zarathustra/2001 A Space Odyssey/Elvis” intro.

Macklemore mumbled a few unintelligible words and then the sound system blew. After a few minutes delay, they came back and said “let’s pretend this never happened. Should we start the show over?” Oh, please do.

So they start over and stumble through their first tune which received less than enthusiastic response. With their 45-minute allotment quickly draining, they went to their smash “Thrift Shop.” Halfway through a trip to Goodwill, the sound system blew again and the enormous crowd that had been standing in the hot sun in the parking lot, on the street, across the street, on top of buildings and anyplace else they could find, were restless and fed up.

Soon as the hit was over most of the crowd dispersed. On the way out, one guy said it best: “I can’t get those 25 minutes back.”

Check out our SXSW 2013 photos on our Flickr photo page

Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver, left, is an American treasure.