Thursday, March 15, 2012

#SXSW 2012 - Wednesday

"I was in the Right Place, but it musta been the Wrong Time."

The good news, we got to see the legendary Dr. John rip through that classic track last night at La Zona Rosa. The bad news? You'll see...

Got to Austin without incident. In fact, other than having a hotel room that's in a neighboring ZIP code with a mile+ walk to 6th Street we're good. Filled up on Mexican food, headed to the Convention Center, picked up badges in a ridiculously fast moving line, got the swag bag, loaded it up with more trinkets from the trade show & hustled it back to our room before heading to Austin Music Hall to see local Austin legend, Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns.

After a ripping set by the Crowns, we looked over the next 3 hours at AMH and with the highlight before a closing set by Alejandro Escovedo being a "special" appearance by Christopher Cross (!?!), we decided to skip seeing Al this time for the Warner Sound showcase down the street at LZR.

The theme at LZR turned out to be talented musicians who just might not be great songwriters. For the most part, the performances outshined the material. L.P. is the chick who wrote that "Somebody Left the Gate Open" song ("Into The Wild"). Punch Brothers feature Chris Thile, formerly of Nickel Creek, and their performance was pure virtuosity. Kimbra's high energy, but the hoped for Gotye sighting never materialized. Those guest rumors NEVER come through... Heh.

The set of the night came from UK up-and-comer, Ed Sheeran, who tore through what was officially an acoustic set, but with loops and layers turned into a high-energy romp. Next came the ironic hipster dance band with the awful name, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Ironic use of a bubble machine? Barely redeemed themselves with a fun Whitney Houston 'tribute' , I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

About this time, I made the mistake of checking Twitter. Ugh! Bruce Springsteen had just finished up joining his pal Alejandro's set just down the street. Seriously? Sadly, yes. So there's was a twinge of irony as we sang along with Dr. John's first song, the aforementioned "Right Place Wrong Time". John was solid and the material from his upcoming record sounds like some of the best of his legendary career.

We closed the night with a set from Gary Clark Jr, Austin's newest favorite son. He's a tremendous blues guitarist, the real deal there. But I'd say he's a little underdeveloped vocally and none of the songs really rose above off-the-shelf blues stuff. Time will tell if he's yet another Austin music act who never really sustains orbit outside of Texas.

Yesterday's rankings...
Worthy: Ed Sheeran, Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr., Punch Brothers, Joe King Carrasco.
Meh: L.P., Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Kimbra
Regrets: Other than missing Bruce joining Alejandro? That's enough for one night.

Ed Sheeran:

Gary Clark Jr.

That damn commercial:

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