Friday, March 16, 2012

Bruce Springsteen in Austin

A few quick and random notes about the show. I've got pictures. They will come later.

Bruce played a whole show, just about 2.5 hours. Very similar set to Apollo and Michele Moore was there to do the rap. Tom Morello was there too and along with the 2 songs he does on the new album, he did Ghost of Tom Joad. Seeds with a horn section will blow your clothes off (sorry, couldn't resist the movie reference). With Bruce trying to mix despair with fun, some segues didn't work. The energy from Seeds into E Street Shuffle was good, but a little weird. Jake did a great job. The solo on Thunder Road though is actually a quartet of horns playing all at once. He liked to trot out the horn section, bringing them up front 3 times I believe. With a five foot stage and a foot and a half from the audience, Bruce couldn't resist stage diving. Actually it was more like falling backwards and praying that people would catch him. It worked both times. Then, he jumped on the railing were there was a big guy (two separate places) and held hands with the guy to keep his balance. Visualize that for a minute if you can. It was pretty fricken scary to watch a 60+ do that right in front of you. Jimmie Cliff came out and played 3 songs including No Woman No Cry and The Harder They Come. At the keynote speech, Bruce called Eric Burdon the ugliest singer in rock and roll history. He didn't know Eric was in town. Obviously, Eric didn't hear what Bruce said about him because he came on stage and they ripped through a great version of We Got To Get Out of This Place. The finale was This Land Is Your Land. Jimmy didn't come out but everyone else did, including Alejandro Escovedo, members of Low Anthem, Garland Jefferys, members of Arcade Fire, Joe Ely and Tom Morello.

Some personal notes... The crowd wasn't typical with plenty of virgins there. Still, the place is so small, I think everyone, even in the balcony, felt like they were in the pit. So the whole place was singing; at least the ones that knew the lyrics. I really miss the mandolin and the stronger beat on Land of Hope and Dreams. Still, it works. At the Apollo, you could hear Bruce huffing and puffing after the first set of songs. Austin confirmed that Bruce is getting a bit older. Still, he was jumping off the piano; so his knees are still intact. He put on a hell of a show (always great when you're on the rail I suppose) tonight; one of my favorites. There were 3 virgins around me and they were all blown away. That's what it is all about, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steve Poltz, Matt the Electrician and Southpaw Jones at Whip In

I finished off the night at Whip In, a.. uhmm… Oh just Google it. The place was packed as they had group after group of singer/songwriters come up and sing in the round. I was there to see Steve Poltz and Matt the Electrician. The third person in the group was Southpaw Jones. So, Steve is supposed to be the funny one, but I think Matt and Southpaw out did him tonight. They were all really good though and if I wake up early enough, I’ll give Steve another chance tomorrow.

Bruce Hughes and the All Nude Army

I left the dentists to their music and headed out of town to the Saxon Pub. This may be my only visit to a favorite of mine, but the lineup, now that they are an official SXSW showcase, didn’t seem as interesting as last year. Still, I love seeing Bruce Hughes and the All Nude Army. No one was naked, but the sounds of his Sly and the Family Stone based funk got us all intoxicated. This is one tight band as you will see in the video. It’s funk with great soloing.

Charlie Faye and Will Sexton at MXMW

Charlie Faye and Will Sexton where up next. Their Americana sounds blend so nicely together.

Dan Dyer and David Garza at MXMW

First up were Dan Dyer and David Garza. I’ve seen David a few times over the years but this was my first time seeing Dan. They only played Dan’s songs as David played guitar, drums and some backup harmonies. Dan is a great singer and David was playing some fantastic moody guitar licks. A great way to start SXSW for me.

After checking out the convention center, I walked half way across town to see a dentist. No, my teeth are fine. Authentic Smiles Dental Studio puts on Mouth By Mouth West every year. It is a benefit for the Health Alliance For Austin Musicians. The place is very very small as you’ll see in the pictures and videos.

SXSW 2012 Tuesday

Last year I only hung around the periphery of SXSW. This year I’m doing the whole thing. I have a badge and this morning hit the convention center to see what I missed last year. The convention center floor is a unique place serving both the music makers and the geeks. There were lots of social media apps being sold as well as high tech marketing for media people (music/film/whatever). For years it has been obvious to me that tech and music speak the same language. For the first time, I really got to see it in action. Not a lot of physical products here, but my favorite was the iPhone cover that they would either drop on the floor or through into a tank of water. Pretty cool and available at Best Buy. I haven’t been upstairs yet (there are 4 floors here!) but will be doing that on Thursday to see Springsteen talk. I have entered into the lottery for his official concert. If the rumors are correct, it will be in the hall where Austin City Limits is now taped. It holds 3000, but every seat is right on top of the stage. I find out Thursday at 10am if I got in.

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen