SXSW | 03.15.08 | Austin, TX - Day 4

Words by: Kayceman

SXSW :: 03.15.08 :: Austin, TX

For many, Saturday is the last real day of SXSW. All the walking, all the beer, all the sun and ALL THE MUSIC really starts to take a toll, and the only way to push through is to go see more live music! Lucky for us, we live on that shit!


Dusty Rhodes :: SXSW :: 03.15 by D. Rosenheim
One of the final acts of SXSW 2008 was Black Moth Super Rainbow. Hailing from "rural Pennsylvania" their huge layers of beautiful psychedelic sound filled the room with ease. What really made these cats stick out was the hypnotic lead keyboard work.

Our number two slot is a shared affair. Going down at the JamBase/Press Here/Harp party at the lovely French Legation Museum, the back-to-back slot of indie rock guitar heroes J Mascis and Thurston Moore was a treat. There are few bands as influential as Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth. To watch these living legends perform in this intimate atmosphere in such a gorgeous location was amazing. The fact that they could pull off their respective styles in such a stripped-down setting was a testament to their power and skill.

Our final number one pick from SXSW is again broken up amongst two bands. Performing at the official JamBase Showcase at Austin's Smokin Music (which just may be the coolest new venue in town), Dusty Rhodes and the River Band threw down a passionate performance that proved their 2007 debut, First You Live (a top 20 pick from this writer) was no fluke. Featuring six musicians, three lead vocalists, violin and accordion, their tent revival atmosphere included a great cover of "The Weight" and one of the best frontmen I saw all week. Dusty Rhodes is onto something special. Coming on after Dusty was JamBase favorites Rotary Downs. Building the new sound of New Orleans one rock show at a time, this is one band that gets better each and every time they play. By mixing pedal steel with driving guitar lines, deep bass with perfect drums and just the right dash of trumpet, they set up a solid foundation for soaring multi-part harmonies to float above the fold. Layers upon layers of sound and just really cool songwriting continue to make Rotary Downs one of the most interesting acts rising from the Bayou.

Honorable mention goes to Howlin Rain. Although it was way too loud and they experienced some technical difficulties, this band melts the paint off walls. Their set could have been better, but seeing Rolling Stone stud David Fricke and super journalist Jaan Uhelszki was a nice reminder that this was the place to be at 11:30 on Saturday night.

Brad Barr (The Slip), Ted Kartzman (Rhapsody), J Gibson (reapandsow) & Zack Smith (Rotary Downs)
SXSW :: 03.15 by Kayceman

Looking back over this massive week of music, we decided to break it down one last time for y'all with an overall Top 3 from SXSW.

Bon Iver


My Morning Jacket, Tuesday night at The Parrish. This show has actually not been addressed on JamBase until this point, but it was by far the most overwhelming gig at SXSW. Playing a private gig for about 200 people with perfect acoustics and an open bar, this was impossible to beat. We could spill pages of ink as to why, but I reckon the words My Morning Jacket, 200 people, open bar pretty much sum this one up.

JamBase/Press Here/Harp Party :: French Legation Museum :: 03.15 by Kayceman

J Mascis at JamBase/Press Here/Harp Party :: French Legation Museum :: 03.15 by D. Rosenheim

Thurston Moore at JamBase/Press Here/Harp Party :: French Legation Museum :: 03.15 by D. Rosenheim

Thurston Moore at JamBase/Press Here/Harp Party :: French Legation Museum :: 03.15 by D. Rosenheim

Dusty Rhodes and the River Band at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by D. Rosenheim

Dusty Rhodes and the River Band at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by Kayceman

Rotary Downs at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by Kayceman

Rotary Downs at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by Kayceman

Rotary Downs at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by Kayceman

Rotary Downs drummer Zack Smith at SXSW JamBase Showcase :: 03.15 by Kayceman

JamBase | Austin
Go See Live Music!

Continue reading for Day 3 coverage...

Words & Images by: Kayceman

SXSW :: 03.14.08 :: Austin, TX

Friday was possibly the greatest single day of music to cross these ears at South by Southwest in all the years I've stumbled through Texas. Generally you see one great band, two average ones, a crappy one, then another good one, and so on. Yesterday, everything I saw was stellar; and for the sunlight hours, it all went down at Emo's.

Yeasayer :: SXSW :: 03.14
I happen to practice at the Church of Reverb Nation; therefore, number three had to be Seattle, Washington's Fleet Foxes. There's something rootsy and Americana about them but they also sound like the thick, moist Pacific Northwest moss that hangs from trees in the dense forest. The tight song structure, four-part harmonies and reverb drenched vocals wowed the crowd, causing roars of applause and undisguised praise to overwhelm singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold.

Holy fucking Bon Iver. Eyes closed with reverb pouring over my soul, this is where I hear the spirits. Taking a page from the world of acoustic My Morning Jacket (frontman Justin Vernon even looks a lil' like Jim James), "Skinny Love" and "Flume" had me on the verge on tears. With the huge, looped-out, feedback guitar meltdown to end the set, Bon Iver was second to no one... except maybe Yeasayer.

Yeasayer is some tribal, ancient, futuristic shit. Somehow both earthy and space age, these four cats are bridging some serious gaps. With hypnotic songs like "2080" and "Sunrise," this band is capable of appealing to the coolest hipster and the dreadiest hippie. Electronic drum pads, stacks of gear, fretless bass, Middle Eastern guitar progressions, walls of rock, samples out the ass, a convulsing David Byrne-esque frontman - Yeasayer is absolutely the real deal.

Today's honorable mention goes to two bands. First up is the darkest act I've seen in Austin: A Place To Bury Strangers. With almost no lights on stage, oceans of feedback and a My Bloody Valentine approach, this is one heavy band. Our second mention goes to Helio Sequence. Like the Black Keys earlier in the week, whenever two guys sound like four, you can't ignore them. This is dream-pop on overdrive. Go see Helio Sequence, you will not be disappointed.

Fleet Foxes :: SXSW :: 03.14
Continue reading for Day 2 coverage...

Words & Images by: Kayceman

SXSW :: 03.13.08 :: Austin, TX

MMJ :: SXSW :: 03.13
The dark, thick, droning heroin jams of Black Mountain at two in the morning proved to be the perfect end to a day packed full of music. Although the vocals can at times be grounding, when the instrumental sections get going it's like traveling into a wormhole deep in outer space.

Coming in at number two is Dr. Dog at the FADAR Fort Party celebrating the music of the Velvet Underground. With Lou Reed in the audience (he was the keynote speaker at SXSW this year) the Dog busted out beautiful, well rehearsed versions of "Who Loves The Sun" and "Ride Into The Sun" with gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Number one was a no contest: My Morning Jacket. No explanation is really needed as to why, but in case you are living under a rock here's the deal: MMJ are capable of moving from huge rock anthems like "One Big Holiday" to intimate, spine-tingling acoustic numbers like "Golden" and they just so happen to have a slew of new songs (Evil Urges comes out June 10) like "Highly Suspicious," which sounds like Prince on serious LSD. This band gets better everyday and they always deliver. Gawd bless the Jacket. They give us energy and hope when we need it most (like during a two week bender where we've barely slept and really need some solid food).

Honorable mention goes to young Ezra Furman for his passionate reading of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin" at the FADAR party.

Continue reading for Day 1 coverage...

Words by: Kayceman

SXSW :: 03.12.08 :: Austin, TX

It's that time of year again kids. SXSW is back in action. Over the next five days well over a thousand bands will be playing in every nook and cranny in Austin. As it would clearly be impossible to see even a fraction of this action - and as it would obviously be unwise to spend too much time blogging in our room - we're here to bring you our Top 3 Moments from each dirty day.

JamBase CEO Rosenheim & Saul Williams
SXSW :: 03.12
On the first official day of SXSW, coming in at number three was Wax Fang. This Louisville, Kentucky freakout trio brought the noise to a packed bar of amped-up rock fans. What made this act special was the relentless drumming and huge, loud, psychedelic sections that exploded without warning.

Coming in at number two was Dark Meat. With what appeared to be 19 people with painted faces, they couldn't even fit on the stage and spilled out to fill in the floor with six horns, a flute, all kinds of percussion, two drummers and lots of guitars. If Frank Zappa actually ate acid and fronted the Polyphonic Spree, this would be his band.

The Black Keys. Whenever two guys sound like four, they win. With heaps of feedback and a stellar batch of new songs, this was the most overpowering gig of the night. Bouncing from frantic guitars to pummeling Rhodes electric piano, Dan Auerbach is slowly growing into a true rock hero.

Honorable mention goes to The Weather Underground who set up their anthem-pop with well placed hooks and passionate delivery, not to mention a nice lil' "Dear Prudence" cover.

Check back soon as we'll be reporting each and every day from Austin...

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djseraphim starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 03:20PM
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That first photo rocks... I love that I can keep an eye on all the JamBase crew and get daily updates from SXSW since I can't be there. Keep it coming!

toestothenose starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 03:38PM
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Kayce - you are one busy man my friend! Love the sound of Dark Meat and keep an eye out for them. Can't wait for the Black Keys tour thru the east.

Hope you get a chance to see Son Lux. I listened to the NPR music showcase today w/ Shout Out Louds, A.A. Bondy, Jens Lekman, Yeasayer, Bon Iver, and Vampire Weekend.

Damn good stuff from Jens Lekman, Yeasayer, and Vampire Weekend.

You can tune into these broadcasts online here -

tourfan starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 03:49PM
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Yup, I echo JK's sentiment, KC! From Langerado to SXSW !!!!! Hot Diggity Dog! Thanks for the reportin'. Enjoy your time away from the office. And the live music. Wish I could be there ....

MaseBase starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 04:07PM
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That photo with Saul Williams is awesome! I think Saul is one amazing dude, wish I was able to catch him here in the Bay coming up.

@toestothenose -- I also have been digging Jens Lekman, Yeasayer, Bon Iver & Vampire Weekend... playing those 4 lots lately.

danalog starstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 04:56PM
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Don't miss Kaki King!! Snap a shot of her and put it up. Her new CD is killer!! She's doing like 6 sets down there. Not to be missed if you're in Austin (wish I was this week).

freetime3 starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 09:22PM
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OAKHURST is a freaking great time~! Check them out if you are there!!! ALL HAIL THE BIG OAK!!

joshmillerphoto starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/13/2008 11:37PM
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Ha! Kayceman, I am laughing my ass off in Alameda right now! Sounds like one helluva time in Austin. Have fun and keep the highlights comin'

Gary starstarstar Fri 3/14/2008 09:07AM
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Saul Williams is a genius, but what the heck is he wearing? Ha!


Conjugal Burning starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/14/2008 11:48AM
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Conjugal Burning

You are all fooled... that is Niggy Tardust. "When I say Niggy, you say nothin"

Jukebox Hero Fri 3/14/2008 01:11PM
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Jukebox Hero

Good to see Louisville well represented here. Wax Fang at #3 for Wed. & MMJ at #1 for Thurs. Everyone should check out Wax Fang's recent album La La Land. They sound like Queen, Wall-era Pink Floyd, & The Pogues all wrapped up in a badass power trio. And everyone should know by now the thunder that is MMJ. I can't wait for the new album and a tour.

kyjed48 Fri 3/14/2008 01:49PM
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JackStraw4, I couldn't agree with you more. And June 10th is too far away!

mikemac9317 Fri 3/14/2008 03:35PM
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Ol Benny, your tha man dude! Can't wait to see you again. Of course the Ville respresents everywhere we go! Wax Fang, the Jacket! The album will kick ass, and you know the Fang has something else that they will bring. Also, Dr. Dog is the shit. One of the best new acts out today. They are great song writers and they put on on hell of a live show! WORD to the Ville!

1048 starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/15/2008 12:05PM
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Fleet Foxes new EP is amazing!! Grab it if you get a chance...

QuantumTuba Sat 3/15/2008 06:17PM
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I heard the MMJ show through NPR. As expected, it was absolutely phenomenal, and Yo La Tengo wasn't too shabby either! I'll have to look up some of the other bands mentioned.

soulink starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 09:47AM
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RothburyWithCheese star Mon 3/17/2008 03:33PM
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This is ridiculous! 4 amazing days of music in austin and all you can write about is Thurston Moore and MMJ??? WTF??? has a chance to really fuck shit up with a great of review of possibly the best 4 days in the history of SXSW and we get this slop??? Let me tell you what I saw (all for a total of 25 dollars): Wednesday---an amazing tripple bill of Mason Jennings, Kimya Dawson, and Langhorne Slim for free on South Congress. Thursday---Grand Ole Party (the best band at SXSW this year) at Emos Lounge for free, The once in a lifetime Body of War Show: Serj, Tom Morello, Mason Jennings, Kimya Dawson, Billy Bragg, Ben Harper. Followed by a great Mason Jennings set. Friday--Black Keys destroying at Zona Rosa for free and the once again magical Kimya Dawson mesmerizing the crowd at Waterloo Records. Saturday--Grand Ole Party and Langhorne Slim at Waterloo Park followed by a trip to the (and i agree with you Kayceman) gorgeous French Legation Museum. J. Mascis and Thurston Moore were fucking awful. The snore inducing Thurston Moore's "band" sounded like a bad tribute band to Moore's horrible Sonic Youth. Boring. Every song sounded the same with absolutely no energy. After those two peices of garbage finished the real music started. first the suprsingly solid Okkervil River rocked thru some solid tunes. Then She and Him did their best Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins impersonation and delivered a great show. M. Ward and Zooey whatsherface impressed the shit out of me. The Garden Party was closed out by the once again amazing Kimya Dawson. Not only is she the most down to earth and humble musician I've ever encountered but the woman can write a fucking song. Sure I might have been the only non teenage girl with a eating disorder there, but her short yet powerful set put a smile on my face. The night finished at some dive bar on the east side of town. Foot Patrol and the Nouvellas equally wowed the 15 or so people that were there. All I can say is that if you werent at that show you missed out on a night of foot fetish themed funk and the chance to see the most beautiful woman in music Jamie from the Nouvellas. year you should get me to throw together a SXSW review. I at least saw good artists unlike most of the throwaway nobodyisgoingtocareaboutthisflashinthepanbandsixmonthsfromnow crap that your fearless leader wasted his time on.

sleewell starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 04:10PM
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^^^ this moron is under the impression that anyone still pays attention or remotely cares about one thing he says. sad. if you dont like the reviews go somewhere else, something i am sure the vast majority of people around here would celebrate.

mcarroll starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 10:53PM
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I'm glad you appreciated the fact that Kimya Dawson was down to Earth and humble, Liberals. Now the key is to try to instill those qualities in yourself. I also thought The Black Keys show at La Zona Rosa and Okkervil River at Stubb's were pretty great. MMJ and The Whigs at Austin Music Hall were #1 for me, though. Other performances that stood out were Duffy at Stubb's and Liam Finn at Volume.

cocheese starstar Tue 3/18/2008 06:01AM
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"There are few bands as influential as Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth" are you serious??????

KCReb starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/18/2008 07:13AM
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I love this city and this festival! I caught some excellent music this weekend while enjoying some free nachos and free lonestar during the day parties. I got turned away from the showcase with Ben Haper on thursday and the solo Jim James set on saturday, but it's all good. DeVotchKa, Man Man, O'Death, and Destroyer were new bands that made the week for me.

Ned8 star Tue 3/18/2008 07:54AM
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LiberalsForMichaelSavageIn2008 ... One of the rare times I would have to agree with you. There was a ton more to write about.Kayceman... Its your web-site and you will do what you will with it as we have seen but rather then photo ops with provincial, effete, snobs why don't you get in the mud and review some bands we don't know of? It is SxSW after all.

j-bizzle Tue 3/18/2008 11:45AM
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"sounded like a bad tribute band to moore's horrible sonic youth"

you have no credibility because your taste in music absolutely sucks. no one cares about your opinion anymore. please stop posting your annoying comments that are written purely to get a negative reaction out of the other readers of this site.

Conjugal Burning Tue 3/18/2008 12:54PM
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Conjugal Burning

"Body of War" show sounded illmatic. thanks for the different perspective on what sounded like a dope weekend all around

jonathanleeder star Wed 3/19/2008 02:14PM
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I'm with you Ned8. It is SXSW, a fest built to break indie, or unknown bands. Not to go see MMJ. I guess that is what homeboy is into though, but yeah, ughhhhh yawn. I guess there is something to be said about going where you are comfy, but to me these types of fests are about going to see and discover something new. The DC bands playing a showcase was my highlight.

ramblintrav Thu 3/20/2008 08:39AM
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Great time. Some of my favorites were van morrison, fleeting foxes, blitzen trapper, billy bragg, and the body of war show with tom morello, billy bragg and ben harper.

moejoerisin Sat 3/22/2008 07:22PM
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black moth super rainbow is sick.