Decemberists in Austin play Whiskey River to thank the audience for showing up when Willie and Beto are in town

The opener Kacy & Clayton were slow and pretty. I was prepared to struggle in the dark seated theater. (For the record, this is the place that fired me as a volunteer because I didn’t wear pantyhose and am insubordinate. Hehehe) They were best when harmonizing. The female singer seemed like she enjoyed a few too many edibles before the show and told awkward jokes (at least I think they were jokes) but once they started singing it was great. Nice guitar rhythms and melodies with pretty male/female harmony. Yeah. I would see them again.

In 2005 Rob went to Cleveland to see the Decemberists with Slagor, Guich and two guys I don’t know. It was an epic night and this is one of his all time favorite bands so we had to go see this show!

When I bought the tix in June I didn’t know Willie Nelson and Leon Bridges would decide to have a Rally for political candidate Beto O’Rourke on the same night. The band thanked the audience for turning up and played Whiskey River. Check out the video!

They ended the show with the Mariners Tale and a giant inflatable whale floating around the theater. The audience screamed their heads off and it was fun. This band is getting older and they are changing but they remain as smart and creative as ever.

The SXSW 2018 Jammies

The 2018 SXSW Jammie Award for BEST PERFORMANCE goes to…. KOLARS!

Congratulations to these overall nice people. They are the real deal. For the record Calliope Musicals was a very close runner up and takes home the award for best SXSW 2018 AUSTIN BAND and SXSW 2018 BEST SATURDAY PERFORMANCE.

BEST TUESDAY PERFORMANCE – Caitlyn Smith, who impressed us with her belting voice and fresh performance.

BEST WEDNESDAY PERFORMANCE – Kernel, who should consider changing their name to Mother Klucker! The real winner today was the Weather Up bar who hosted a fantastic lineup in a great environment with lovely free drinks!

Also, if we hadn’t been so exhausted we may have chosen Okkervil River‘s performance at Stubb’s. Those who stayed said it was stellar.

BEST THURSDAY PERFORMANCE – KOLARS, who won best overall performance as well. They have the talent, the showmanship, the sound, and are actually really nice people. See this band! They will be in San Francisco @ Bottom of the Hill March 28. Expect a crowd!

BEST FRIDAY PERFORMANCE – Paul Cauthen, country musician from Austin, he is a hipster cowboy who says that he is on a mission: to make music he can be proud of that also serves a higher purpose. “On this album, I wanted to push a message that tells people that life’s short. Love the ones you’re with. Just take any opportunity to run with it––don’t think twice.” That fit’s well with how we feel this week too.

BEST SATURDAY PERFORMANCE – Calliope Musicals, an Austin band that brings the fun of a Flaming Lips show (complete with dancing animals and confetti) and combines it with a strong female front woman with incredible pipes! Woo! This is a party!!!

BEST SUNDAY PERFORMANCE – Shinyribs , another Austin band, formed from the ashes of the Gourds, has created a major following. Seeing them play the small stage at Lucy’s Fried Chicken during a rainstorm was perfect.

The 2018 SXSW Jammie Awards are sponsored by sitting in our pajamas (aka “jammies”) on Sunday morning after SXSW with a big pot of coffee.

Who was your favorite band of SXSW?

A few of ours are:


We also heard these folks were great:



SXSW 2018

I’ve been making a cheat sheet for years to guide my sxsw adventures and now you have access to my notes. Go to the menu link above and check out the SXSW Shows to Watch page. Have fun!

SX (south by) is kicking in gear and I’ve heard some sentiment that there aren’t a lot of bands playing that are well know, which might seem like a bad thing. It isn’t. When too many bands you’ve heard of are playing it gets too crazy. Though counter-intuitive, it’s actually better when there are a few bands you like that direct you toward other bands you never expected to hear. That’s how you end up at the Imagine Dragons show with 25 other people who dragged themselves out on day 4 of SXSW, on a Saturday morning, pumping your fist and nodding after saying, “that band was pretty good”. (Jenn, I need you to look back and tell me what year that was.) It was a few weeks before we heard them on the radio and they blew up. That’s what make sx so special, the unknowns.


The Lone Bellow at the Fillmore, 3/6/18

The Lone Bellow is another Hardly Strictly Bluegrass ‘find’. There are a few ways that I find new music and that list includes recommendations from friends, as well as supporting acts.  However, the number one way that I find new music is festivals — SXSW, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Red Wing Roots.

The Lone Bellow was a HSB 2014 discovery. When they were announced as a part of the line-up, Peter mentioned that we should check them out and so I did.  I liked what I heard and so found myself on the Sunday of HSB 2014 with a group of my favorite people, including Andee, being completely blown away by this band. They took the stage and they owned it from the first note. Everything about them is rock -n- roll and while they have become a bit more theatrical as they’ve grown (lots of hair flipping and posturing and lights when I saw them at RWR), they are still bringing it every night.

This is a band that deserves your attention. If you want real inspiration, read the story of how the band became a band. Reading interviews with this band almost always brings a tear to my eyes. They’re pretty too, but I can’t seem to find any pics of them and sadly I have to go to the place that pays me (cause otherwise how would I afford my rock and roll lifestyle?).

Wild Child @ Waterloo Records

Austin’s own Wild Child played a full set at the local record store, with owner John Kunz looking on like a proud uncle. Again, this is why I love Austin. See this band when they come to your town. Their x-country tour starts next week and they will be in Europe in May. Perhaps we will run into them in Amsterdam!

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