Brendan Benson is one of the finest singer-songwriters of my generation; I think of him as a modern day Paul McCartney. He consistently releases amazing records to critical acclaim, but somehow still manages to ride under the radar of the mainstream. It’s truly baffling to me that he is not a household name.
With that being said, the packed courtyard at Cedar Street last Thursday got to see Benson at his finest. Granted there were one or two miscues from the band (which I assume is because they are rehearsing for a long overdue, upcoming tour) but when all was said and done, this was the best showcase I had seen at SXSW 2012. The harmonies were flawless, the band was tight, and the songs sounded better than ever.
Benson releases his new album What Kind of World on his own Readymade Records label on May 1st. He treated the capacity crowd to a couple of new gems from the record which will continue to make those happy who celebrate his genius catalog of work to date.
Day 1 of music at SXSW was absolutely incredible.
I started the evening off watching the always impressive Fiona Apple dazzle a packed house at Stubb’s. Next stop was the Austin Music Hall where we caught Patty Griffin as she treated the crowd to a brief but stellar acoustic performance before accepted her admission into the Austin Music Hall of Fame. And then next was Christopher Cross, who was surprisingly good, but I have to admit I was disappointed that he didn’t play “Arthur’s Theme.”
The real surprise came later in the evening during Alejandro Escovedo’s set. Alejandro brought Joe Ely out first, and they did a song, and then Joe asked if there were any other guitar players in the house. Curtain popped open, and here comes the Boss. Springsteen performed four songs with Escovedo’s all-star band, starting with “Midnight Train,” followed by Woody Guthrie’s “Blowin’ Down This Road,” Escovedo’s “Always A Friend,” and then finishing up with the Stones’ “Beast of Burden.”
SXSW Interactive ended last night, and the music portion of the legendary event kicked off in high style at Stubb’s BBQ. Kasabian played to an at-capacity crowd, and they sounded better than ever.
The show was absolutely incredible. It begs the question why Kasabian play arenas in their home country of England when they are still only able to fill theaters stateside. There is a disconnect, but it wasn’t apparent at this show.
Showcasing tracks from their last three records, these Brits showed how to mix elements of Oasis and the Jesus and Mary Chain with a T. Rex-style blast of high energy rock ‘n’ roll. The clear highlight of the night, though, was when the band revisited their now-classic self-titled first album and blew the crowd away with “Clubfoot,” which I consider the band’s defining moment. Clearly one of the finest live bands around today, I would see these guys live every day if I could. Check out the photos below and stay tuned for more updates from here in Austin!
Austin Texas’ up-and-comers Gold Beach are set to release a gorgeous white vinyl 7″ via Velvet Blue Music next Tuesday (2/28), but pre-orders start shipping today.
The two tracks included feature powerful kit work over subtle vocals and a lovely chord progression fleshed out through acoustic guitar, some piano and theremin-like swelling tones. Sandwiched between two records, this single is a fantastic snapshot of where the Texans have been and where they are going.
With purchase of the 7″, music enthusiasts will also receive a download card with the material on the release, as well as an additional four songs.
Like other purposefully common titles (The Who and The Band come to mind) Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX never has to worry about overusing its namesake. After all, the self-described “relaxed, creative and pioneering” event is just that, and everybody knows you can never have too much fun.
“Our goal is to keep things fun and to consistently deliver a unique and memorable experience every time fans come to this festival,” said FFF Founder Graham Williams.
This will be the 6th year for the festival, and it faces a new location in light of increased interest and attendance. There will be four stages at Auditorium Shores from November 4 – 6 showcasing some of the best independent, underground and progressive acts of today.
This weekend, here in the town that delivers nightly open-mouthed kisses to the rock & roll lifestyle, there’s this big, huge, sold-out festival. Yep, the Austin City Limits Festival was sold-out before they even announced the performers — Yanni, Jimmy Buffet & Kenny G, FYI.
While contemplating the number of ways one could hacksaw / chisel though the layers of steely fencing surrounding Austin’s only performance by Stevie Wonder, the OTHER fests this weekend gave me pause. You can Ditch the Fest, even though with this summer’s drought you won’t have to worry about the Dillo dirt, at a number of venues on Red River and the Eastside. Or you can attend Art Disaster 13 at Beauty Bar tonight, or you can “cornfuse the acronym” by attending the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta at other venues around town.
I have been seeing the name Roxy Roca popping up a lot lately so I decided to head down to Threadgill’s last weekend to see who this Roxy Roca is. It turns out Roxy Roca is not a who, but a what—and the “what” is a nine-piece powerhouse of southern soul. Fronted by green-eyed soul shouter Taye Cannon and backed up by a crack team of veteran players, this band is the real deal.
Roxy Roca | Ain’t Nothin’ Fancy (It’s Love)
Roxy Roca delivered a tight, gapless set showcasing their obvious affinity for late ’60s southern soul like Al Green and Joe Tex mashed up with a slightly more modern pop sensibility, as heard in their Internet-only single, “Ain’t Nothin’ Fancy (It’s Love).”
New TVD Austin Editor Buckley Wineholt remembers why live music is life’s blood.
Growing up in Baltimore in the mid-’70s, it was easy to see why a gritty scene like punk could develop. My tastes ran more towards the blues bars, and one Nighthawks show at the Famous Ballroom on N. Charles one New Years Eve really got me hooked. Arena shows that followed, like Zappa on the Overnight Sensation/Apostrophe tour, and Little Feat with Lowell George cemented my attraction to the live music scene.
Decades later, here in The Live Music Capital of the World, a yowza set by ’60s psych-era icon Arthur Brown (“Fire”) backed by Austin’s own Flounders Without Eyes, opening for DeadEye at Ruta Maya for a Jerry Garcia birthday show kept the fire burning this past weekend. (Ruta Maya, sold-out, at about five hundred degrees… ouch.)
Seeing Arthur Brown, so many decades on, and hanging out with this R’nR vet, watching him work his magic both onstage and off, really made my night. This cat played with the Dead, Zappa, and many others at the Atlantic City Pop Festival, the week before Woodstock. And he remembered it! His inspired vocals, many of them improvised, were wild, wild, wild.
Summertime, especially in the heat of Austin, TX, seems to inspire an almost unquenchable desire for good tunes and good times. Reminiscent of those eras that produced mastered pieces of working man art and music, chalk-full of sex appeal and urban style and slang, this band’s music keeps it classy and cool.
Combine creative musicians- who have an obvious and admirable knowledge of soul and funk music from the greats- with irresistible move-your-body music and invade-your-brain catchy lyrics, and you have T-Bird and The Breaks‘ new album Never Get Out of This Funk Alive. Like a perfectly mixed cocktail, T Bird (Tim Crane) & The Breaks (billed as 19 musicians over various tracks on the album) have stirred together groove, break-beat, funk, soul, hip hop, and garnished it with a modern twist.