Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Clueless Outsider’s Guide to SXSW, pt. duh

Zounds! Two days, two posts. I'm bordering on the prolific here, although that border is still an ocean. Anyway, rock 'n' roll and a ravenous – albeit minute – readership demand more guidance on where to its wrists stamped at South By Southwest. With Wednesday's SXSW installment in the can, onward to Thursday's meager-by-comparison South By shenanigans.

The Austin Music Hall brings a triple dose of Alejandro Escovedo – quadruple when you count Buick MacKane, which you should. The AE String Quartet starts things off at 7 p.m., followed by Jon Langford and Sally Timms "recalling the Mekons" (no indication of whether that means a live dose of Fear and Whiskey or just some fond remembrances). Al retakes the stage at 8:15 for what looks like a 15-minute solo set, followed by Future Clouds & Radar (again, no description given). At 9:30 Al takes the stage again, this time with his acoustic band, for 30 minutes. Poi Dog Pondering plays an hour set at 10 p.m. And then we get our rock on, as Buick MacKane, Al's erstwhile glam-punk project, gets on at 11 p.m. I missed Escovedo's set with Ian Hunter at SXSW '05 or '06, which I'm sure was epic. But this might be the next best thing for those of us who love Al's Stooges-Velvets-Mott side.

The Blender Bar at the Ritz features The Sights, Robbers on High Street and Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. I've heard good things about VietNam, who are playing as part of the Kemado showcase at Bourbon Rocks on 6th.

Buffalo Billiards is noteworthy for featuring '80s indie vet and '90s alt-rock casualty Bob Mould, who will go on at 9 p.m. Following him is a showcase for Barsuk Records, who gave the world Death Cab for Cutie. I don't know any of the bands playing this time around, but that's nothing new. Chances are, if they're on Barsuk, they'll be a good name to be dropping six months from now, or sooner.

Yep Roc will bring their customary dose of Americana thunder to the Continental Club, with Jim Lauderdale, John Doe and Los Straitjackets closing things up in that order, starting at 11 p.m.

Thomas Dolby, of "She Blinded Me With Science" fame, will be at the Elysium on Red River at 9 p.m. Sheesh … did I mention that the new season of The Office starts on Thursday night? I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin' …

There are signs of life at La Zona Rosa, where Architecture in Helsinki and What Made Milwaukee Famous are playing. Also, someone who took a sensational name from right under my nose – Elvis Perkins – is playing as well.

The Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and Dead Oceans labels are hosting an interesting showcase at Mohawk Patio on Red River at 9th, featuring I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness and Okkervil River.

Ah, here's something worth coming out for: The Norton Records showcase at Red 7 on East 7th. I want to give special mention to the Reigning Sound, gods of the Memphis garage rock scene who apparently relocated to Asheville, NC, in 2004. Given Asheville's hippie leanings, I'm a little mystified by the move, but, judging from the band's MySpace page, the granola doesn't seemed to have dulled the band's edge. Frontman Greg Cartwright also founded Memphis legends the Oblivians and the Compulsive Gamblers. Fans of Mitch Ryder-style blue-eyed soul and Nuggets-style garage-psych will anoint the Reigning Sound the best thing that's ever happened to them. Also on the bill is the Dexter Romweber Duo, which I would expect doesn't venture too far from the footprint of Romweber's old band, Athens stalwarts the Flat Duo Jets. And then there's Sam the Sham of "Woolly Bully" fame and The Alarm Clocks, who you've probably never heard of but who gave us "No Reason to Complain" in 1966. Seems like a can't-miss show all around.

Bloc Party are at Stubb's. I'm kinda over these guys, not that I'd be able to get in there anyway.

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