Today, I had to ponder whether to see my favourite Austin based band “Buffalo Gals” @ Sagebrush & miss some of the hottest ticket in town (more later) or not, but that’s so regular at SXSW. Bare in mind I’ve not got a wristband or badge & have big problems with even the free shows been ran at exactly the same time! However my day started with a 30-minute wait & late breakfast at The Magnolia Café. You had to use your code on your phone to book but I managed to perplex them with my accent. I did that again for the private party they were having midday for a San Antonio based record label at The Continental Club
It’s nearly 30 years since I bought the small accordion master Santiago Jimenez Jnr album “Cancoines De Mi Padre”. I wasn’t even aware he was alive let alone celebrating his 78th birthday here at C Club. I was so happy being with him to party. His traditional Tex Mex /folk music is unique & for his 78th birthday he could well have brought out a 78 record, it was so authentic. His set lasted 50 mins & I think he went through 7 bottles of beer. That was nearly as impressive!
Darden Smith @ Lucy’s Fried Chicken. I waltzed up here with my Lucy’s t-shirt on and was warmly greeted in. They have free music on all week & this was the first day. It was quite full for midweek afternoon show & Darden Smith was entertaining with his quartet. He too was celebrating a birthday (2x 30 years) & his music is sounding more mature like vintage Van Morrison. I liked it. He has a new album out soon which should do well. He’s a very nice chap too.
Western Youth @ Lucy’s Fried Chicken. There’s quite a few young Austines in Western Youth & they make a glorious rock sound. They had Jaimee Harris as special guest & the more they played the more they reminded me of someone. At their very last tune I got it… Lucero
Hot Club Of Cowtown @ Continental Club. High class western swing from the local trio with Whit (guitar), Elena (fiddle) & a new bassist. Another celebration too, 25 years of playing together. I was lucky enough to see them from the start & their music hasn’t changed. It hasn’t really needed too
Joseph @ SXSan Jose. This is basically a car park made over for SXSW with a stage at the back. The program is more indie than anything else & it has a much younger audience. With a folk rock basic guitar sound & cool sisterly harmonies, the Closner sister Natalie, Megan & Allison attracted a huge crowd. However it was a bit too, over the left field for me.
Bob Dylan @ Bass Concert Hall
Well I bought a Belgian beer to console myself for missing Buffalo Gals & entered the upstairs 6th floor recess to find my seat for my first ever Bob Dylan show. The University building was impressive & the concert hall held 2000 cap. Id already been searched & my mobile phone turned off before I entered the building. It was 30 min’s before the show & I nearly couldn’t get to the stairs as the queue was absolutely huge for merchandise ($40 the cheapest t shirt…come on Bob, you should be giving us one for free with the cost of the ticket). When the show started it hit me like a brick. That voice was actually Bob Dylan. Id heard it from a teenager upwards & couldn’t quite believe it. Singing great too. My mates told me he couldn’t sing. WRONG. The band was incredible & the stage presentation was first class (lights coming from the floor) they played 1 hour 45 mins of blistering & groovy blues based music. The entire new album “ Rough & Rowdy Ways” which was fine by me, as I’ve got that one, & lots of old tunes that you cannot fathom out until half way through, by sussing the lyrics. Ill Be Your Baby Tonight & To Be Alone With You being two classics that sounded equally good as down home blues rockers. I also loved the way on four or five occasions, Bob slowly meandered out from his keyboards to the front, just stood there, took the applause & returned to duty hammering the keys & singing like the devil. Id saw Tom Waits with a similar type band doing “Mule Variations” in Austin but this show was even better.
Le Ren @ Swan Dive. It was hard to come down after Bob Dylan concert but I just happened to call into an official SXSW showcase on 7th Street, pay my $10 entrance and listen to the wonderful songs of a 26 year old folk songstress from Montreal – Le Ren. Afterwards I told her that she sounded just like Kate & Ann McGarrigle. She loved that.