Saturday, March 19, 2011

Austin 2011: SX San Jose & Yard Dogs

A trip to SXSW is always a bit of a barometer of the year for me: where I'm at as well as what's happening in the music world at large. This year, I'm here for a few days of pure listening and catching up. Friday was spent immersed in the South Congress area of Austin, which is really more about Austin music than official SXSW showcases. We split our time fairly equally between Yard Dog Art Gallery which was playing host to the Bloodshot Records party and SX San Jose party in the back of Jo's Coffee and Hotel San Jose.
The Bloodshot Records line-up demonstrated well its 'insurgent country' ethos. Bandmate Kwame's brother Kwab Copeland energetically played drums for Eddie Spaghetti; Exene Cervenka asked the crowd to reclaim the best 'power to the people' aspects of early punk rock, and Denmark's Maggie Bjorklund rocked the pedal steel to back the Cobirds Unite as well as Exene.
One of my favorite things about South by Southwest is going to a venue for one thing and making a new discovery. My hero Alejandro Escovedo and his Orchestra were headlining SX San Jose which definitely got me there (and were fantastic as usual), and along the way I was taken with the bit of the new-to-me The Autumn Defense set I caught as well as the spirited, great harmony singing of The Belle Brigade.
So, per usual, good music, new sounds, inspiration (with a dose of tacos). I went to bed with ringing ears and sore feet.

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