South by Southwest Week on Insight


South by Southwest Week on Insight

Agent Ribbons

AgentRibbons01On 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 SXSW attendees.

Y La Bamba 01 Y La Bamba 02 Y La Bamba 03 FoxTB01 Fox Tails Brigade 00

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. 

Antenna Farm 01 Antenna Farm - Paul K AntF03 Nat & Lauren Hess' Aunt
Queries, Comments, Recipes

Grace Woodroofe

The Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist ran a tight set on the roof of MaggieGraceW01 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.

Grace Woodroofe - Interview

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Grace Woodroofe - I've Handled Myself Wrong
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Class Actress

ClassActress06Brooklyn'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 fans.   

The band is Elizabeth Harper, Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal.

ClassActress00 ClassActress01 ClassActress05 ClassActress03 ClassActress02 
Comment or question? Click here


Dan Deacon

DanDeacon01If 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 WAS!!!

They're just back from Dan Deacon.

With a mile-a-minute-stream-of-consciousness-of-concentrated-positivity 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 Deacon show.

Dan Deacon - LIVE - Rules of Dance Contest

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 explains:

Dan Deacon - Interview 

Yep, that Francis Ford Coppola.

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.

Dan Deacon - LIVE - Final Song of the Set

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The music of Dan Deacon is quite a conversation starter.

TerrorEyes.TV Showcase

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.

TerrorEyesTV - Sean Stout - Interview

BLACKIE01The 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 Drop.

Other bands on the bill:  Zechs Marquise (featuring members of The Mars Volta), AU, Hooray for Earth and Delicate Steve.

Zechs Marquise "Getting Paid" from TERROREYES.TV

Comment/Question/General Noise

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 Job.

DLHart01Citing 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. 

David Liebe Hart - Live - Take My Life & Let It Be

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.

David Liebe Hart - Interview - Gospel + Punk



Polica is a rapidly rising Minnesota quartet (synth, drums, guitar and vocals) featuring members of Bon Iver and Vampire Hands.

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)

PolicaChannyCasselle  PolicaFullBand

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

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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

DanaFalconberry01Sharing 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.

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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. 


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And Sound Advice from SXSW:


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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 (Austin).

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. 

Listen now:

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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 Records
- Sea of Bees plays everywhere
- a chat with Stephen Thompson from NPR Music

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. 


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Insight is at the SXSW Festival!

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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SXSW on Insight 2013

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