Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SXSW 2007 recap- not enough sleep and great new bands

Surely you must have seen the typical SXSW report by now: the writer didn't sleep enough, drank too much and ran around a lot. Somehow, they enjoyed the warm weather and the BBQ regardless. Sure I had blisters on my feet when I came back from Austin but that's part and parcel for such a music festival, especially when all of the venues are so close together that you're tempted to run around to see as much as you can.

Going through a tally of what I did (and mind you, I had to look at my notes since it's kind of a blur now), I saw a lot of good stuff. Excellent things included the Stax Review (with Booker T and MG's, Isaac Hayes, William Bell, Eddie Floyd), the Ponderosa Stomp, the first half-hour (oldies part) of the Stooges show, Swamp Dogg (who rarely plays out anymore) and Bob Mould doing "Makes No Sense At All" solo acoustic. There were also quality shows by Imperial Teen, Kinski, Thunderbirds Are Now, Ponys, Architecture in Helsinki, Hoodoo Gurus (touring here for the first time in a while and sounding great), Galatic (with a stellar guest list including Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born and Boots Riley), Daniel Johnston (off-key, off-time and great), Erase Errata, Buzzcocks (blasting thru their oldies) and the Waco Brothers.

But really, the biggest treat is finding out about a great band that you didn't know about beforehand. In between running around to see some of the bands above that I already knew and loved, I was lucky enough to catch a few groups that I hadn't heard about before and wanted to share that sacred info here with everyone.

  • Noverillo- a great power pop band from Canada with really catchy, distinct tunes. Only problem was that when I went to the mersh table to buy a CD, their label said that they forgot to bring any with them.
  • Black Tie Revue- another really good power pop band, this time from Pittsburgh. Only caught 1/2 of their set but I'd definitely go to see them again and luckily since they're an East Coast band, I might have the chance.
  • Health- kind of a blah name I admit but once I saw them (briefly unfortunately), they were the first group I fell in love with at the festival. I described them to friends as no-wave/post-punk- they also remind me of early Sonic Youth and Savage Republic. They call themselves "noise" and they're that but they're also doing something interesting, dangerous and reckless with their music and you got to admire that.
  • Powersolo- when I listened to some of their music beforehand, it seemed like this Danish trio was a bizarre rockabilly/boogie band. And after seeing them, I'm happy to report that's exactly what they are. Really fun too.
  • The Emeralds- if you ever hear that something called Japan Nite is coming to a town or city near you, make sure that you go. I promise you that you won't be sorry- they alway book a lot of good bands for this. At the tail end of JN at SXSW was this lively garage group that riled up the crowd nicely.
OK, now it's time to get some sleep...


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