Joseph with Haley Johnsen at the Paramount Stateside 05.04.19

Haley Johnsen has these wooden tape decks at her merch table with download codes on the cassette liners. Do her fans even know what a tape deck is? Well yes, cause I’m a fan, and I had a tape deck in my car up until 2011.

Despite her youth, Haley’s voice is strong and her lyrics deep. She was on American Idol, making it to the top 24. No surprise, American TV didn’t appreciate her talent. The audience tonight did however! With a Brandi Carlisle like voice, she really was a pleasant surprise.

Jospeh is a band of three sisters. One plays guitar and seems to have the rhythm/melody voice. The blonde one seems to be trying to let her demons out, in a good way. The third is cute, with a kinda gravelly voice and told is she is touring with her Irish boyfriend who plays the fiddle sometimes and sells merch the rest of the time. It really works for them. I love sibling bands. These gals have major similarities with First Aid Kit and that’s not bad at all.

Brett Dennen at UT’s TX Union Theater 05.03.19

It’s storming on a Friday night in Austin but I’m out solo tonight to see Brett Dennen, the tall redhead who rocked my socks off at ACL years ago. That show was also in the rain so maybe it just fits that it’s pouring tonight.

Raina Rose opened. She’s an Austin staple. A female folk singer who’s paid her dues. She’s the real deal and if you’re into singer-songwriter female warbles, this might be tour jam. She sounded great tonight and told a story about her porch at her old place on e 9th was built from tombstones.

Brett took the stage and sang all the hits with stories and reflections peppered between. I sat near some of his high school buddies and these bros had so much love for their guy. It was sweet.

It would have been cooler if they hadn’t been dipping and spitting into water bottles. The guy sitting next to me actually offered me a pouch. He really honestly did and I don’t think he was aware of what was going through my head. I just calmly said no thanks and that’s kinda gross.

Anyway, the crowd was great. Full of love all around and in this small of a theater, that can really make a performance a show. The sound was beautiful and interaction with the crowd was heightened. Nothing like you might have in a dark, former porn theater, as Brett suggested to the audience.

SweetParty UtopiaFest Day 2

I slept pretty well and made it up in time for yoga. It was a nice, relaxing class taught by a local Utopian. Perfect way to start my day!

The weather is cloudier, windy, and a bit cooler than yesterday. The weather isn’t bad, we just need more layers.

SAPD… bagpipes 🙂

Emora

Jenny Parrot

Ley Line

Shane Cooley – we missed this show accidentally while hanging with these friends. It happens!

Sucka Please!

Mamahawk

The Deer

SirWoman

Commonheart

Superfonicos

Ley Line @ Good Times

Kelsey Wilson @ Good Times

Sweet Party 2019 Day 1

So my partner decided he was going to Sweet Party in Utopia to support Utopiafest.

Here I am on my way to Utopia Texas.

Cowboy Iris

What a lovely band to open! I like that fringe vest!

She opened with some nice versions of Patsy, then Dolly.

We took a walk up to the camp GoodTimes where fully acoustic shows start at midnight. They have a solar powered neon light that says shhhhhhh!

DJ Mr Rodgers played the Bahamas blended and their doowhop was all I needed to hear.

He played that Lucas Nelson song, Just Outside of Austin. It was perfect. Wildflowers blooming, perfect weather, nice humans. I ran into some of my brothers friends and made some new ones!

It’s so beautiful here. Approaching 76 and sunny with a few clouds. There is a rainbow kite flying high along a strong breeze. It’s a damn Utopia.

We missed a band.

Then this guy, Sid Fly.

And a really adorbs puppy named Bella.

I’m sure Sid is cool but he seems a little dickish. He was mad about bad sound, mouthed off to the sound guy, and then figured out that he needed to adjust his own equipment. His sound was notably better. The sound guy was ready for his set to end.

It’s hard to maintain Utopia. The suns come out and it’s a little warm. Bella bit a human. I mean, she’s a puppy, but also, no dogs, right. She’s fucking cute tho. As our bartender friend says, “Dogs are fucking cool.”

Sid showed us his year 2 t-shirt. Street cred. Their sound is good. It’s sounding a little Jimmy Buffet to me but I’m not totally sure if that’s the sound or the BYOB situation.

There are very few rules here but in Utopia people do what they should… it’s Utopia.

Wood & Wire

Gravel Tooth

Utopia Players

The Eagles Nest where DJs and single member artists make sounds.

Trouble in the Streets

This band was awesome. Great sound and a super fun performance!

Wood & Wire up at the Good Times stage

The Deer

So beautiful and special in this all acoustic silent setting. I wish I wasn’t so sleepy.

Goodnight!

SXSW 2019 Jammies Awards!

We saw over 50 bands play in 16 venues. (Andee saw 70 in 19 but it isn’t a contest, is it? Or is it?!?)

Our favorite:

2019 Jammies Award Winner: The Artisanals

Winning with great sound, amazing performance, and also for being nice guys who talked to us before (and after) the show. These guys have professional rockism! They put it all out there on the stage for us before 3pm on a Wednesday at a bar on the corner of 5th and Congress. During their final song, shirts were taken off, glam rock knee bends were happening and we were smiling ear to ear. Our only complaint is that there are no women in the band… but that is a sad fact for most bands, although we do see it changing a little. Way to go guys! You rocked us hard!

Others in consideration:

  • Sweet Crude was a top contender! They rocked the little stage at Lucy’s Fried Chicken! And they had a woman in the band too! I wanted to give it to them, but I couldn’t get The Artisanals performance out of my head!
  • Darkbird (not eligible because Jenn didn’t see them) but a great female-led band that is reminiscent of Sweet Spirit and Heart
  • Stealing Oceans – a very close second. This was a very special find while we mistakenly tried to see a show a day early at the bar across the street. You really can stumble upon some of the very best shows at sxsw. There was angst! There was dancing! There was audience participation! They really had it all! watch the video here!
  • Illiterate Light – When did everyone decide light-theme band names were the thing this year? These guys, complete with the drummer’s bare midriff, were fantastic. They didn’t have the crowd; it was too early in the day and there weren’t enough audience members, but that didn’t mean we didn’t enjoy them with our spiked Topo-Chico’s
  • KOLARS – They won last year, but in our hearts they keep winning!!! They performed an excellent set in the Fairmont Rules & Regs bar for pretty much just us. We loved it a lot! They also performed a rocking show at Rachel Ray’s daytime party. It was phenomenal!!!
  • The Beths – sad and crying, but still rocking. This very popular band from New Zealand held it together after learning about the mass shooting back home.
  • Duncan Fellows – The crowd wasn’t there yet but we were digging this sound and hope to see more of this local Austin band.
  • Star Parks – this is another local Austin band that we would like to see more of. Jenn missed them play so we hope they make it to the Bay area soon or that she makes it back to Austin to see them.
  • Other honorable mentions would definitely include:
    • Hayes Carll — He’s amazing!!!
    • Matthew Vasquez Logan — He might have been a contender if he hadn’t taken the state directly after Sweet Crude rocked us hard!!

SXSW2019 Sunday Funday 3/10

 

So we started out headed over to pick up a friend who needed a pick-me-up after the loss of her grandma. She wasn’t quiet ready for us so we dropped by El Chile, El Chilito’s fancier sister restaurant on Manor Rd. We each had a puffy taco and I had a delicious Watermelon Spicy Margarita. It was Sunday Funday after all!

We picked up Shaun and headed over to Hotel Vegas on E 6th St where they have combined with Volstead to offer a fun backyard atmosphere with a large stage outside and two indoor stages. Bands would rotate from side to side of the stage outside and there was always some music playing. The place operated like clockwork and shows were meticulously on time. Bravo to whoever is in charge of all that. The place operated extremely smoothly and clearly, this is not their first rodeo!

First we saw a few songs by Lowin, a lovely female artist with fun pants. We settled in and got our bearings. This place is a bit of a maze, full of hipsters, bars, and stages.

We caught the last half of Shivery Shakes (Austin), a band I have heard of but don’t recall ever seeing live. I really liked the last 30 seconds of what I saw and will try to catch another one of their local shows.

Being Dead –  a screamy bother/sister duo? It reminded me of a sibling argument, immature and angry.

Teddy Glass – A little goovy, a little jammy, and great for a Sunday Funday. I’m all for being in the groove of things and into your music but the “o” faces that the band made to each other was a little much. It seems like something I would rather listen to at home than go see live.

The Lovely Sparrows – Well, just lovely. The lead singer told us his shirt is handmade by PolitePilot (his girlfirend). Check her out on Instagram. I especially enjoyed the flute and saxophone from the female member of this band.

Darkbird – Winners of the Jammies today. I imagine that this is what it was like to see the band HEART in the 70’s… fucking awesome! This is absolutely a live show you do not want to miss. See this band.

Abram Shook – I didn’t see a lot of this show but what I did catch was nice. The Lovely Sparrows saxophonist was in this band too!

She Sir – Not to be confused by Sir Woman, which actually has women in it, this is a band of surf rocking dudes.

Quiet Company – More dudes rocking out. I have been hearing great things about this band but found it a little underwhelming. It wasn’t bad at all, just a little generic.

The Black & White Years – For me this was a little Count Dracula and Weird Al meet Emo rock but my husband loved it. It was his favorite show of the night! It was certainly entertaining and the band really put their heart and soul into it. Well done.

Moving Panoramas – These gals continue to show the boys how it is done, crowd surfing and all!

 

 

SXSW Day 1 – Friday 3/8

It’s not officially music SXSW time but there are still plenty of great free shows to try to see already!

I headed downtown to see what kind of trouble I could get into while Rob headed south to Radio Coffee where the folks from Utopia Fest were having a party.

I got into a long line at Antone’s hoping to see Duncan Fellows, Mt. Joy, and Bishop Briggs. Meanwhile, Rob headed downtown to meet me and joined me in line. We decided that it probably wasn’t going to happen for us before Mt. Joy went on, so we bailed out of line and headed toward the Barracuda for another great lineup. This is the #1 lesson for SXSW. If you have a plan, have 2-3 backup plans because sometimes (oftentimes) the line is too long, the traffic is too much, the last band was too good to leave, whatever the problem, you might have to adjust your plans. It’s okay. This is how you end up seeing the best stuff anyway. Go with the flow.

I got to the Barracuda a little before 10pm, just before the line started to build up and made it in time to see a few songs from All Eyes. I don’t know much about this band. They were okay. Honestly, compared to the rest of the night, it was a little unmemorable. They weren’t bad at all, just hard to remember against such a fantastic lineup.

The Moving Panoramas (from Austin) played outside. Being International Women’s Day it was great to finally see a female fronted band. I’ve really enjoyed the songs of theirs I have heard on the radio but the sound was a little off to really do their harmonies and lyrics justice. I am excited to see that this band is “hitting” this year and what they will come away from the sxsw marathon with. I think the festival has a special way of preparing performers to deal with bad sound, shitty schedules, stress, fatigue, you name it. Pay special attention to the bands that rock their 9th sxsw show on the last day, Saturday morning. Those are the professionals with the drive to “make it”.

Star Parks was indoors. I really like this band. They’re Austinites and sound a lot like Dr. Dog and sometimes I hear a little Paul Simon in there. It’s really great and I need more of their music in my life!

Alex Mass from the Black Angels was next. Was that thing a sort of electronic sitar? His music was rock but what was that an electronic/Indian vibe? Yeah, that was fun.

Next up, Smiile. I liked this band. Female harmonies with a lead male vocalist gave this band a similar sound to the Dirty Projectors. Shout out to my new friend Paul from Glasgow. The Baracuda has a sort of pedestal that people can stand on to watch a show. It is black and tucked in the back. However, it was really dark and I didn’t realize how close to the edge I was. As I went off the side, I grabbed Paul, who helped me not face plant into the ground. Thanks for saving my ass Paul. Also, thanks for laughing it off like it was totally normal.

Finally the Golden Dawn Arkestra… the sun worshipers from Austin. The crowd was exactly what you might expect for a 10+ person band of musicians, dancers, and performers. A couple, clearly on something like X was making out in front of us the entire time which actually was less awkward and kinda just fit the vibe. Again, it was a weird and wonderful way to end the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Full Moon Medicine @ The Southern Heights Brewery 02.10.19

The Southern Heights Brewery was a pleasant surprise on a cold and rainy Sunday. They were hosting an artist collective with a local writer, natural stone bolo-ties, vintage clothing, pottery, jewelry, and girl scout cookies. Plus they had a delicious Raspberry Sour on tap. Oh, AND live music!

We were only able to stay for one set, Full Moon Medicine, but really enjoyed it. They were having sound problems. First they were in a warehouse and second the sound board wasn’t really being run by anyone. It was a little bit of a mess but the band pulled through and made some great bluegrass-country-folk music with a banjo, stand-up bass, guitar, drums, and harmonica. I would absolutely try to catch this one again sometime.

Neko Case @ Bass 02/08/19

Neko Case is one of those artists that from first glance looks like she doesn’t give a fuck and has everything. She’s beautiful, her long thin legs stretch out tonight on the Bass Concert Hall stage in black leggings with white leg bones printed exactly where her own are under her skin. Her untamed, wild red hair is down and free. Her voice echos around the hall and the acoustics are perfect.

She seems perfect, yet all you have to do is listen to her to understand that she is like all of us, fragile, fighting to have the courage to be ourselves, to love and be loved. She said out to the audience more than once that she was nervous and working to get her rhythym. You couldn’t tell it though. That’s what makes her so incredible to watch and to listen to. You can feel universal struggle struggle that we all have in every one of her songs. Whether it’s an upbeat song like “I’m a Man” or a slower song like “Calling Cards”, she manages to make me feel like every song has a personal attachment.

The venue (not my favorite in Austin because they love rules for no reason and are very stuffy) was nice but it ate up the opener, Jennifer Castle, who just had an acoustic guitar and harmonica. I would like to see the Toronto based singer in a smaller venue. Her Joni Mitchell-like voice and folksy songs were just too slow and small for the large dark room.

I don’t have photos of the event because they threatened to kick you out if you took any. It didn’t stop the lady sitting next to me from using her flash and shooting video but whatever. Knowing my history, I would have been the one who got caught and I was with my rule-following man.

Check out Neko Case at the NPR Tiny Desk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwRcPEg1MyE

 

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