South by Southwest Week on Insight
On the final full day of SXSW I saw the former
Sacramento band and am happy to note they've only gained steam
since moving to Austin. Agent Ribbons released
Chateau Crone in 2010 which followed their self-released
record On Time Travel and Romance (2006). They
performed songs from both.
Other bands that performed were natural fits with the 'Ribbons
including Foxtails Brigade, Emily Jane White, Nick Jaina and Y La
Bamba. They closed the Antenna Farm/Tender Loving Empire/Self
Group showcase at Maggie Mae's with a personal favorite.
Briefly, Agent Ribbons was a trio but are now back to the
original duo of Natalie Gordon and Lauren Hess.
The evening ended with me and Antenna Farm co-founder Paul Koehler walking out of the venue to
discover a cadre of Austin horse cops scrutinizing the scene as a
St. Patrick's Day crowd mixed with the weird, swirling galaxy of
They shouted at random passersby to keep moving, to get out of the way. It seemed the real world finally caught up to the previous week's atmosphere. I wandered into the night.
The Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist ran a tight set on the roof of Maggie Mae's on Saturday night. Most of the songs came from her recent studio release Always Want but she ended the night with a blistering cover of The Stooge's "I Wanna Be Your Dog." She spoke with me after her set.
Brooklyn's Class Actress lit up the stage as
the sun went down Saturday. They played the second night of WNYU's two day showcase
on E. 12th St. Despite its distance from the SXSW
hot zone the show teemed with enthusiastic music
The band is Elizabeth Harper, Mark Richardson and Scott
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any of your friends have come home from a concert, bewildered look
of joy in their eyes and speaking in broken sentences like: "He
made some dude start a conga ...thing and … it was … he talked to
us a bunch…a dance contest and … I can't BELIEVE HOW COOL IT
They're just back from Dan Deacon.
his show was my personal highlight of SXSW. DISCLAIMER!!: If you've
only heard the stories of a Dan Deacon show, this blog simply can't
give you the full experience. Contained is my noblest effort.
Let's start with the Dance Contest: A staple of any Dan
As you just heard, Dan interacts with his crowd; more than any pop
music performer I've seen. It's a risky move as the safe assumption
is to play the songs and get on with it, that's why they bought the
ticket, right? These shows have a reputation for more. Deacon
Yep, that Francis
The music is an infectious stampede and Deacon is as potent as a
charismatic preacher but gentle, lacking any sense of pretension.
For my money that's more effective.
The music of Dan Deacon is quite a conversation starter.
Sean Stout spent much of his life in Sacramento. Today you'll find him in L.A. working as resident videographer at Sargent House Records (Tera Melos, Zach Hill, Chelsea Wolfe). That choice gig (and his SXSW showcase) came about through a schedule of ceaseless touring with bands, shooting video, editing and blogging at TerrorEyes.TV which he founded and oversees.
The crowd of dedicated
music fans grew through the afternoon. The showcase included a
powerful performance by
B L A C K I E
(Michael LaCour) who, amid distorted and deafening samples,
screamed, rolled shirtless on the ground, choked himself red and
beat his fist on the pavement. It was the kind of performance
that if you saw someone doing this anywhere else you'd run
to their aid. I wanted to do just that at several points in
his set even though I was
(…mostly) certain he was in control.
Stout's finger firmly on the pulse of what's up and coming, the
T.E. showcase included a meet up with rising blogger (and public
radio host) Anthony Fantano founder of The Needle
Other bands on the bill: Zechs Marquise (featuring members of The Mars Volta), AU, Hooray for Earth and Delicate Steve.
David Liebe Hart
Maybe it's fitting I found the David Liebe Hart Band by
accident. While not a household name, Hart is beloved by the cult
audience formed around Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great
Citing a list of television, film
and music credits dating back the mid 70's Hart is a force of
proliferation and one of the more difficult to describe.
Comparisons can be made to the charisma and musicality of Wesley
Willis and some of Hart's music has the religious saturation and
quirky brilliance of Daniel Johnston.
I spoke with David after his show about how he came to found a punk band and the many, many topics about which he writes:David Liebe Hart - Interview - Song Inspiration
If that last bit surprised you, consider it a primer for the
nature of the his music overall. If you can keep up with
his line of logic, the music of David Liebe Hart may be
some of the most genuine story telling you've ever heard.
Polica is a rapidly rising Minnesota quartet (synth, drums,
guitar and vocals) featuring members of Bon Iver and Vampire
NPR Music's Stephen Thompson told me The Current spoke so highly of the band he had
to check them out for himself. Cut to SXSW and Polica found
itself performing during the NPR Music Day Party.
These photos were taken at the IFC Showcase the following day.
(Click for larger versions)
Sea of Bees
Sea of Bees (Sacramento) put on a brief and lovely set Thursday afternoon at Swan Dive. Out as a two piece (Jules Baenziger and Amber Padgett), they drifted between Songs for the Ravens, Orangefarben (due in April on Crossbill Records) and a cover of John Denver's "Leavin' On A Jet Plane."SXSW - Sea of Bees - GONE
Lefse Showcase | Skinny's Ballroom
Lefse Records owner Matt Halverson caught up with me yesterday outside Skinny's Ballroom. He spoke about the tricky nature of day showcases vs. those that happen at night, turnout being chief concern.
I stepped in late, missing an early show from Youth Lagoon but
on the plus side was introduced to a band called Dana
Bouy (Skinny's was only their fourth show as a band).
Ganglians (Sacramento, at least for the moment, it's rumored a
relocation to SF is in the works) took the stage next with all the
echo, reverb and buried surf pop you've come to know from the
band. Here's a cut from early in their set.
I caught up with Adrian Comenzind & Ryan Grubbs about their upcoming shows and tried to find how the band might appeal to HGTV (their playing the networks showcase tomorrow night).
Lawn furniture, beware.
Wednesday, March 14th
Sharing a bit of yesterday's set by Dana Falconberry (Crossbill Records, Davis). It gets a bit windy here and there but the harmonies and gentle guitar notes stand out in this clip from Cheer Up Charlie's in Austin.
Insight Check-In: Wednesday at SXSW
I talk with host Beth Ruyak on today's Insight about Sacramento bands G Green and Ganglians, the Lefse Records Showcase and more.
And Sound Advice from SXSW:
Tuesday, March 13th
Oh man, what a day! The music portion of SXSW isn't even
24 hrs old and has already exploded. I spent a good chunk of
today at E. 6th Street's Cheer up Charlie's. Crossbill Records Dana
Falconberry & Matt Bauer were playing this afternoon and I
was introduced to Alexis Marceaux (New Orleans) and Lonesome Heroes
NPR Music's Stephen Thompson stopped for beer and interviews as
well ... more about that Wednesday morning during Insight. Plenty of
pictures and sounds coming to the blog tomorrow afternoon, in the
mean time I HIGHLY recommend you look up Dikes of Holland. Watch their videos, see their shows. The Austin
natives came out swinging early, as one of THE most impressive
groups I've seen!
Been to SXSW yourself, want to know more? Tell us about it
in the comments.
Insight Check-In: Tuesday at SXSW
I talk with host Beth Ruyak on today's Insight about happenings at the Festival, including converstations with Dana Falconberry and NPR Music's Stephen Thompson.
Monday, March 12
After two planes, one time zone and zero breakfast I'm in the
city of music, BBQ and the Alamo Drafthouse. If you forget for a
second that Austin is all music all the time, the airport is an
immediate reminder. Lit signs, a stage and plenty of SXSW banners
greet you before you even pick up your bags.
After a quick city tutorial with my cab driver, Jorge (South of
the river is South Austin, East of Congress Ave. is East Austin,
San Jacinto St. is pronounced "San Jack" etc.) it was off to
downtown. There I met the street musician you Tuesday
on Insight called Johnathan Siem. An Illinois native, he
sold everything and came to Austin to live the dream. Here's a
rendition of his original song "Star Pilot."
Down the street is a pub called Darwin's - a dark whiskey bar with Black Flag on the stereo - the kind of place any biker would want to call their watering hole. That's where I met Brock, the lead bar tender who told me that SXSW for all of 6th street is a "Week of Saturdays." I also met Goose and while he declined to be recorded for Insight he talked eloquently about the benefits of metal music.
It's still early and most of the Sacramento/Nor
Cal artists won't perform until the middle to end of the
week. Even still there's a TON going on:
- Crossbill Records'
Brass Bed performs at Cheer Up Charlie's
- A Cuckoo Chaos
show w/ Matt Halverson, owner of Lefse
- Sea of Bees plays everywhere
- a chat with Stephen Thompson from
Finally, a bit more from Jonathan Siem
Insight Check-In: Monday at SXSW
I check in with Insight host David Watts Barton as the Interactive portion of SXSW ends and musician, record labels and music fans start pouring in.
Insight is at the SXSW
Capital Public Radio's Nick Brunner is in Austin, Texas this week (March 12-15) for one of the most influential music festivals in the country. The Sacramento region's music scene is well-represented and Brunner is filing daily reports on Insight and blogging here, chronicling the festival and the local bands looking to make it big.
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