I spent this day exploring the music side of SXSW. While I don’t recommend going to concerts after spending a week at a film festival, I’ve got a job to do. Don’t worry, I’ll be back Monday with a final recap of movies I catch over the weekend.
Dot Com Day Stage
While checking on something in the convention center, I walked by the Dot Com stage while Erland & The Carnival were playing. They sounded great and their melodies carried down the hall. I’ll definitely look them up. So even the Convention Center venues provide solid music at SXSW.
I had dinner at the world famous Austin BBQ place, and their brisket and turkey was better without sauce, that’s how tasty it is. The cheesy creamed spinach had an awesome spice. Downstairs in the club was standing room in front of the stage, an intimate block of space. Ben Sollee was on with his cello rock. How cool to incorporate classical instruments. North Mississippi Allstars was a country rock band, with some full on blues. In between sets, the crews were total pros carting instruments out the side door.
God bless Emo’s main room for having seats. After standing and walking around all day, on so little sleep all week, I needed the rest. John Maus played and he was just wailing and flailing around. Kind of appropriate for a bar called Emo’s. There was easy access to their side stages though. I’m not sure which band was playing inside because they changed the listed order, but the amps were pumped way too loud. I don’t think it does a band any justice to have their instruments blown out and distorted. The atmosphere inside was palpable though. For example, one of the many framed photos on the wall featured a pretty lady bent over with her pants down and the photographer’s hand on her tattooed ass. Emo’s is that kind of place.
The comedy club becomes a rock club for SXSW, and I just wanted to see what it would be like. Raised rows of seats would be good for staged comedy, but My Jerusalem said there’s nothing funny about sitting down for their show. They didn’t have to say anything. The first bars of their music command dancing on their own. My Jerusalem totally rocked. They’re a complete band like you’d expect to hear on the radio, only they’re too good. They’ve got horns, a cello of their own and the sound is all balanced so you can hear the nuance of it.
After that successful discovery, I stayed for one more show at Esther’s. December Boys played their first ever show as a newly formed band, and only the production hiccups gave them away. The music is solid, more traditional guitar rock, but catchy melodies. If they become the next Justin Biebers, I saw them first.