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SXSW Thursday

19 Mar

In Which Your Correspondent Gets God or Do People Still Say “Shoe Leather”?

Peter Wolf Crier

Life is a problem, a huge hurtling shitstorm of trials and tribulations, long treks, hard waits, frustrations, disappointments and anguish. Someone’s gonna get screwed, so it might as well be you and if you know that all this is going to happen to you there is no reason to get all down in the mouth abut it, especially when you can stand on a streetcorner with the sun shining on you and an ethereal breeze, listening to Dawes and the crowd sing out “When My Time Comes”. No use getting down about it, especially when it was yer dam self that left your ID and wallet at the hotel, just be grateful you didn’t lose the sucker and wait it out.

Wait it out and hit the road were themes of the day yesterday. And although I swore I didn’t come down to Austin to see local bands in the last post, there was too much Minnesota happening at SXSW yesterday not to pay attention and get some coverage. Vita.mn hosted their Minnesota music showcase, featuring Solid Gold (who have their own billboard right now in downtown Austin, courtesy of their record label, Green Label Sound) Lookbook, Romantica, Jeremy Messermith, City on the Make, We Became Actors and winners of their “Are You Local?” competition, dirty electro-rappers Bight Club. Staciaann spent time there shooting the event and eating up the free BBQ, so look for photos of that here and on Vita.mn.

Bight Club

Kitty-corner from that showcase, Dom Davis of Dearling Physique and Hilary Davis of Bella Koshka presented the 45th Parallel showcase that they organized, surprising the people who had come into the El Sol y La Luna restaurant expecting a taco and delighting the peple who had shown up for them. Dearling Physique kicked off the set with Davis performing in full-face glitter. They have an EP release coming up at the Varsity on Friday April 16th, so look for that. Anthem Heart were also on hand with a sweet portable screen-printing rig they had welded together over the weekend and were printing up custom “Austin” T-shirts. When we walked past six hours later, they were still at it, except out on the street and “living on borrowed time” in honcho Ken Hannigan’s words, as they were still stealing power from the restaurant!

Bella Koshka

It also feels like I shouldn’t complain about trekking across downtown and the river to catch Spirits of the Red City at the “All Yr Friends Are Here” showcase. Hell, that’s a local band that plays so infrequently in the Twin Cities that you almost have to be out on the road to catch them. When you do see them, though, they are so totally engrossing and worth it, with their nigh-spiritual chamber-folk. As @gimme_noise put it in a tweet, they are like “the eye of the storm” and despite whatever travails you may face, Spirits are a balm. Dark Dark Dark was also on that bill and they will be sharing the stage at the Cedar Cultural Center on April 15th, so add that to your already hectic April show calendar.

Spirits of the Red City from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

CakeIn15 pal Pezzettino was playing her show for the Muzzle of Bees blog in a lovely little spot by a canal but when I showed up (running late and running, as per the course) she was nowhere to be found. Turns out she had taken her little band of followers on a field trip to a nearby grotto to perform, and soon she was back on stage stomping her boots, wailing with her accordion and flinging her glockenspiel around. The joy of watching Pezzettino is the childish abandon with which she throws herself into her songs, and you are not immune from it at all- you will participate in some capacity.

Pezzettino from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Later, the potential for frustration mounted, mainly because the desire for the bands was high. The Dickie’s clothing company sponsored a day party at an intimate house venue just south of downtown that featured an excellent line-up, capped off by the one-two punch of Dawes and Delta Spirit. These two bands have made regular stops in the Twin Cities, and the first time they were on tour together, so it would have been a treat to see them both back-to-back again. Although the people who arrived early and have everything prepared got in right away, as you might have gleaned from the first paragraph, Nuts McRunner here unwittingly left his ID at the hotel, so though Staciaann got in alright to snap photos, by the time that was sorted, there was a line stretching down the block. The will to persevere will win out, though, and being grateful for the little things pays off in the end. As people began to lose hope or interest, the line diminished and many people who had been waiting out the line got in to catch at least part of Delta Spirit’s uplifting, populist folk-rock. The people, with their will and perseverance shall be victorious!

Dawes

From there, on to Emo’s, where Peter Wolf Crier were to play their third and most important show of the day. This was their official SXSW showcase, opening up an awesome line-up Miles Kurowsky (formerly of Beulah), Rogue Wave, Local Natives, Adam Green and Delta Spirit. The PWC boys didn’t show any signs of wear from the day, and what has been most fun in watching them ply live I how the songs off of Inter-Be have mutated in arrangement. Peter Pisano thanked the city of Austin for their hospitality and invited them all up to Minneapolis for cold weather and hot chocolate, so start saving up your Swiss Miss. After the show, Peter Wolf Crier’s crazy day was capped off with an interview by Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, who is in town for the IFC television channel doing musician interviews, so look for that awesomeness.

Peter Wolf Crier from Stacy Schwartz on Vimeo.

The rest of the line-up for that show was rock solid, any one of those bands is worth your dime live, Rogue Wave especially so. Kurowsky was extra effusive to the crowd, pulling up a fan and his girlfriend which whom he- was a “pen pal” to sing, and then inviting people to call out songs, on the condition they come up and sing them themselves. When one wag called out “Popular Mechanics” and then demurred to sing, Kurowsy fixed him with a stare and laughed, “You can’t just call it out and not do it. If you want it, you have to fucking want it.” Might as well be a life mantra there.

Rogue Wave

Cutting out of Emo’s (which is an amazing venue, like First Avenue only two times bigger and with most of the roof torn off) Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson at the Saddle Creek showcase was the target. MBAR’s first self-titled album contains a couple of my favorite tracks of the past few years, “The Debtor” and “Buriedfed” and he played both- “The Debtor” solo with his Epiphone and “Buriedfed” accompanied by synth keys, that turned it into a camp tragic opera, weird and compelling, death in the 80s. The songs themselves always stand up, whatever the arrangement, they have the ring of Dylan with Lou Reed’s junkie issues, and I’m glad he is alive.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

To end out the night, church seemed to be like an appropriate place to be and Central Presbyterian has opened its doors to intimate SXSW performances for years now. Norwegian songsmith Sondre Lerche fit the bill to a T, switching between a borrowed acoustic and plugged in Gretsch for his dynamic style that alternated between Paul Simon-sweet and Elliott Smith-angry. Cheers erupted when he tore into “Two Way Monologue” and he was self deprecating throughout, to the delight of the crowd. In noting the special nature of the venue, he remarked he was “not big on the church scene,” and when he introduced a song from his album Phantom Punch and people clapped, he joked that, “The label told me it didn’t sell well.” Although many people here are representing the labels, so many of the people attending are in it because they love the music and want to be here; all else in liefe can be between them and their god.

Sondre Lerche from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

Judgement Day/Zoe Keating street orchestra

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