SXSW Day 3 Recap – South Congress

by Woody on March 18, 2012

Couldn’t quite muster the Day Three Recap yesterday. Was battling an acute case of a hangover. Day Three started off with Jefe, Shirk and I guzzling salty dogs at Guero’s and ended with Jefe being politely asked to leave Antone’s. Here’s what happened in between. As always, there is zero fact-checking and moderate effort put into these.

The daytime portion was spent over in South Congress which has become HearYa’s favorite part of town over the year. We started off at the Bloodshot party to catch Southeast Engine. Southeast Engine plays a pretty rocking brand of folk inspired music, mostly centered around depression era. We were all anxious to catch them and they played a great set heavy on songs from their excellent release, Canary.

From there we went over to HomeSlice and started guzzling IPAs as we waited for the new version of Strand of Oaks (now with more rocking!!!). Tim Showalter is one of the nicest people in the industry and I was really hoping that his new stuff would be OK. I was a little worried that with him stepping out of his comfort zone that the songs would be forced or lackluster. Um, couldn’t have been more wrong. Tim and his four piece band tore through a torrid 30 minute set that has all the folks at HearYa itching to hear the full release. Tim’s looking for a label to release it later this year and I would have to imagine that he’ll have a number of suitors after Austin.

Next up was the clusterfuck of humanity known as Typhoon. I lost track of how many people poured out of that van. It went on forever, like a bad Kevin Costner movie. Unlike Waterworld or The Postman, their set was outstanding. In addition to sporting some new ink, they also had a few new tunes as well. I’m expecting some big things on their new album.

A quick word on Homeslice. Last year they had some issues with the city. The new and improved set up was great. The alternating stages was a great idea and the sound was great. Still remains our favorite venue during SXSW.

From there we made our way over to the San Jose and caught up with SafariMan and his crew, and we proceeded to start downing micheladas. The first act up was some cats from Baltimore called The Business. Turns out they brought along a guy named J. Roddy Walston which was fortuitous as their set was blinding. Mixing in 4-5 awesome new tunes along with favorites like Full Growing Man & Don’t Break The Needle, the crowd was in full throat.

We had an hour to kill in between their set and Alabama Shakes. We were joking around that the poor bastards that were stuck between J. Roddy and the Alabama Shakes had the worst set of the fest. How do you fill that slot. I guess by being a bunch of brash kids from Chicago that blend rap, blues and jazz. They were called Kids These Days and they kept our attention for an hour. I think the thing that really appealed to us was that while the MC was quality, the backing band was excellent.

Next up were the Alabama Shakes and at this point; what else can be said about their meteoric rise. I read a review of their show at Stubb’s that took place on Wednesday. It said that they should have played a cover. While I enjoy a good cover as much as the next guy; people should be covering them. Oz put it best, “Sun in your face, a cold cocktail, and the Shakes are taking the stage. Just doesn’t get any better.”

We made our way back across the river for the night time activities. I went solo for a couple of acts. First up was Field Report. I had heard a couple of tunes prior to heading to Austin. Led by Chris Porterfield who used to play in DeYarmond Edison, Field Report was a full 6 piece for their set at Central Presbyterian. It was the perfect setting for a great set of folk with tinges of twang mixed in. Prepare to hear plenty about them in 2012.

Next up I swung over to Red 7 to catch the Fleet Foxes side project, Poor Moon. As expected, the harmonies were lovely but the real treat was the liberal use of a vibraphone. I knew nothing coming in but left quite impressed.

After that I met up with the whole crew at Frank for a raucous set by The Love Language. The NC outfit led by Stu McLamb is as good as ever. Their set was rocking and the crowd was bouncing off the walls. They mixed in some new tunes that our finely tuned ears deemed worthy of a third LP. I would expect a follow up to Libraries later this year.

Lastly for the evening, we made our way over to Antone’s for a set by Pickwick out of Seattle. We caught a little bit of Glen Hansard’s set which was a nice surprise. I was expecting the room to empty out after Hansard emptied his set but Antone’s remained fairly crowded. And luckily for those who stuck around as they witnessed a fantastic set by a band on the rise. Oz, for one thought that lead singer, Galen Disston’s vocals were amongst the best he heard all week. And the rest of the band is nothing to sneeze out either – they were as tight as a band that’s been doing this for 20 years. They are unsigned for now but I can’t imagine that labels won’t be knocking down their door soon enough.

Soon thereafter we very nicely asked to leave Antone’s and frankly speaking, it was probably good for all of us as it had been a long day of beer drinking in the sun; and out of the sun for that matter.

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