SXSW | 03.21.09 | Austin, TX - Day 4

Words & Images by: Sarah Hagerman

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer :: SXSW :: 03.18.09
In the intimate tent at the Paste Magazine day party, The Dresden Dolls front woman proved to me once again why she's one of the most unique and fearless voices in rock. Armed with her rambunctious keyboard styles and wicked sense of humor, she played stripped down selections from her fab Ben Folds-produced solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (score points for the "Twin Peaks" reference), including "Runs in the Family" and the controversial (at least in the U.K., where it was banned from radio airplay) "Oasis" with quick-witted stage banter in between. She was obviously having a blast, and the tent responded in kind, even singing along with her un-mic-ed ukulele take on Radiohead's "Creep." My buddy turned to me and said that although he usually hates that song, "I think I almost like it now." Believe me, coming from him, that's quite a compliment!

Heartless Bastards
Adding to my double shot of badass rock women, Heartless Bastards rocked the same tent at the Paste party after Palmer. When Erika Wennerstrom takes over the mic, just stand back and brace yourself for a storm. They certainly won over some new fans as I saw jaws drop the minute her throat opened and pure swamp goddess electricity poured out. The Bastards came on like strong Irish coffee, as the early afternoon sun baked the crowded tent. St. Patrick's Day hangovers were washed downhill on a wave of steel and droning guitars during "The Mountain," and then swept away during "Out At Sea." A kick ass set that raged like it was midnight instead of 2:30 in the afternoon.

The Devil Makes Three

Uncle Lucius :: SXSW :: 03.18.09
Some notes on the setting for this gig - Lovejoy's is the only bar I will go to in the 6th street area on a regular basis. House brewed beer, a crowd that usually includes tattooed freaks, gutter punks and rockabilly roughnecks, one of the best jukeboxes in town, all in an atmosphere that's too unique to be described as a dive, but dirty and busted enough to scare away those that would rather sip pinot grigio or do kamikaze shots. It was the perfect atmosphere for The Devil Makes Three, a trio from Davis, California whose rowdy string band energy falls more in line with the working class, hard living wit of Split Lip Rayfield. No pretty road songs in sight, instead we were served tunes about sleeping in attics, getting wasted and tales from strange times. They were rowdy as all get out, with gut-thwacking playing that had an old time swing in the heart. People were locked elbow to elbow in Lovejoy's, dancing on benches, balancing precariously on shaky tables, swinging arms and even crowd surfing at the end. This band is a reason to celebrate. Big cheers!

Uncle Lucius
Okay, so I went to see this band because "Uncle Lucius" is the name of a Bad Livers song, and I was thinking maybe they would be taking a page out of the book of Danny Barnes and Mark Rubin. So, I was slightly disappointed when I saw drums and electric guitars onstage. But no matter, this Austin group plays bluesy roots rock with dusty boots and a stirring spirit. Good stuff, and to answer the eternal question, yes my friends, they jam. Guitarist Mike Carpenter has some serious chops. Those of you who like your rock served soulful and Southern fried, check 'em out.

Hoots & Hellmouth
I was exhausted as midnight rolled around and I'd been running around for a good twelve hours, so I was lounging in a comfy chair upstairs at the Ale House, nursing a beer. Before the first song was over, I had picked my jaw up off the floor, shook myself off, texted everyone I could think of that was out and about to tell them to get down here and then joined the rapt audience in front of the stage to wear off some floor wax. Holy hell! I thought these cats were going to break the boards they were stomping on in half or pop some veins in their foreheads, especially with the intensity Sean Hoots and Andrew "Hellmouth" Gray leapt to their mics with. The explosive Philly acoustic outfit played possibly the best set I saw all day, revved up with genuine raw passion and performed with unrestrained head shaking, leaping fire goddamn glory. Considering how much they move onstage, they never missed a note on their instruments. This is acoustic music with a blazing rock and fucking roll spirit, infused with a wild fever.


Hoots & Hellmouth :: SXSW :: 03.18.09
John Johnson can probably boast to having the coolest drum set ever – lots of buckets and cans and all matter of clatter, stitched up with some duct tape and a Split Lip sticker. Meanwhile, Henry Kammerer switched between striking banjo and slip 'n' slide electric guitar styles. It was a fantastically muddy, at times brutal, mix, as Johnson's dense, propulsive rhythms would make you shake while Kammerer's vocals gave you chills. There's something ominous lurking at times in their whiskey and gasoline fueled music, and I like it.

Bonus: Buskers
Finally, I have to give some props to the fine pickers representing from Green Mountain Grass (Dave Wilmouth on mando, Trevor Smith on banjer, plus original GMG guitarist Turtle) and Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang (Amanda Kitchens on accordion, Andrew Pressman on doghouse bass) for getting out there in the scrum on 6th St. and busking. A great take on "I Know You Rider" inspired several drunken passersby to stop and sing along, get rowdy and dance in the streets. Take it to the pavement folks - that's where the brave musicians go.

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toestothenose starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/19/2009 12:38PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Heck yeah! - Is it just me or does everyone else get hella-pumped during SXSW. The onslaught of splendid new music is amazing. Hagerman - I'm so pschyced you caught Hoots and Hellmouth - they rule the stomp. Great coverage to both of you - bring on the new artists

If you two get a chance - check out

Benjy Ferree

Thu Mar 19 2009, 1:30pm

French Legation Museum

Other Music Lawn Party (acoustic stage):

Army/Navy - 12:30pm

Benjy Ferree - 1:30

Alela Diane - 2:30

A Hawk and a Hacksaw - 3:30

Rebecca Gates - 4:30

Viking Moses - 5:30

Thu Mar 19 2009, 1:00am (late night)

Buffalo Billiards

Billions Showcase:

David Martel - 8:00pm

Young Galaxy - 9:00

Herman Dune - 10:00

Emily Wells - 11:00

The Tallest Man on Earth - 12:00am

Benjy Ferree - 1:00am

Fri Mar 20 2009, 1:00pm

Okay Mountain

Forcefield PR/Asthmatic Kitty Party:

Shiny Around the Edges - 12:30pm

Benjy Ferree - 1:20

Tune-Yards - 2:10

Jookabox - 3:00

Dent May - 3:50

DM Stith - 4:40

Bosque Brown - 5:30

rchasei Thu 3/19/2009 01:13PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


No mention of the Avett Brother's set and the debut of their new song from the upcoming album???


utkochster Thu 3/19/2009 02:03PM
Show -17 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
allthink Thu 3/19/2009 02:13PM
+9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


^^^ How the hell is the concept lame...its hundreds of bands for a week...I do not value your opinion at all as I imagine many don't - please go away.

mikemac9317 Thu 3/19/2009 03:55PM
+9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



mikemac9317 Thu 3/19/2009 03:56PM
+10 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


SXSW is a show case for new bands with bigger bands to headline bigger venues. I think the concept is on point

technopagan Thu 3/19/2009 04:07PM
+7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The idea is to get newer/lesser known acts together so that record companies and producers can put on a showcase of the music they provide.

This festival really is not directed at the fans, and I don't mean that negatively. I live in Austin, and for the most part the people at sxsw do not reside in Austin.

It draws from all over the world, many different genres.

It is a festival for the music industry, and you gotta have some fat pockets to get access to most of it.

**I would like to tell all you sxsw'ers that there are several rumors flying around about a free Metallica show (and no I don't give a damn if you think all metallica fans are methheads and old)

Motorhead played Stubbs for free at 3 in the afternoon last year.


ketchup Thu 3/19/2009 04:31PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Very happy Green Mountain Grass slipped in there towards the end. I'd keep an eye out for a band name Theodore if I were you.

brooklynite84 Thu 3/19/2009 04:55PM
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Go check out Sleepy Sun from San Fran...I caught two of their shows in PHX and Flagstaff last week and they are the real deal for Psychedelic Rock, especially if you're into the whole Black Mountain/Black Angels'll definitelly love these guys...

March 20:

3pm - Wave On 6th St. (Rooftop Stage)

7pm - Mohawk

11:45pm - The Art Project

March 21:

12pm - Mess With Texas Festival - Waterloo Park (Free)

8:30pm - Trailor Space Records

ENJOY and check them out at

if rhymes were valiums... Thu 3/19/2009 05:14PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

good job aaron, go on and get yours...

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Thu 3/19/2009 06:34PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


the tagline / bumper sticker for SXSW should be: "Wow! who is this band again?" ....................the whole point of the festy is to explore, perform, excite and surprise. According to Kayce and Sarah, it appears the mission is underway. thanx for the updates.

delaneyira star Fri 3/20/2009 09:07AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

You guys should check out the new world order movie that premiered there. I heard it was sick! HEH, the main guy they focus on was driving around town with a bullhorn attached to his truck ranting about world govt and the new world order. Alex Jones, guy is an animal. Hate him or love him hes right! Check out the Obama Deception on youtube or google to check him out. Within 10min of watching that movie you will be hooked...

utkochster Fri 3/20/2009 12:55PM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
oldfartatplay Fri 3/20/2009 02:25PM
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i think kayceman has just a tiny bit of a crush on dave navarro. sorry, i know the guy tears the shit up, but i'm a little bit put off when i see him whoring his rock star ass around on every piece of crap television show that'll have him.

PickinKind starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/20/2009 02:33PM
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i wanna see some ohtis

PooDolla Fri 3/20/2009 03:19PM
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I can not wait to see Jane's Addiction this summer.

crazynate Fri 3/20/2009 05:00PM
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Dave Narvo is a bad ass too! I can't wait for Janes Addicition this summer. And those Playboy bunnys gave a good touch to the artcile today.

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/20/2009 09:23PM
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Ucockster = phruitcake

moemoe6434 Sun 3/22/2009 07:29AM
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Hooots And Hellmouth are an AWESOME live band.... I agree.

lsamuel3 Mon 3/23/2009 02:41PM
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i'm sure the marco show was golden

i just conducted an interview with mr. benevento, part 1 can be read over on my website A discussion of all things music

RothburyWithCheese starstarstar Mon 3/23/2009 05:42PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
RichardHaley Mon 3/23/2009 06:05PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

^how anyone could think an event with this much music is "weak" is beyond me. We're talking about thousands of bands here. And shit, if you've been there before, as your comment states, then you should know there's nothing "snooze fest" about SXSW... that shit is exhausting. As a fan and not an "industry guy" I'd prefer to go other events, this is more of a biz thing, but man, every time I've been it's been amazing, and with so much music there's just no way it could be "weak." Well, then again, your name does have an SCI reference, so perhaps it's all relative.

5boro87 Mon 3/23/2009 07:14PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


the bottom line is that SXSW is the biggest festival in the world, and that aint just for music. if your not a complete idiot and you plan it out as well as you can before you get too hammered than you can drink free booze and see free shows at free parties for free all week. me and my crew just had the best week of our lives at SXSW and it was our 3rd year. pow!

marionc starstar Tue 3/24/2009 09:16AM
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ra ra riot is on point. rest of bands - mehhh

gz99 starstarstarstar Tue 3/24/2009 03:24PM
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Good Article.

It was my 12th SXSW and its still fun but as john dee graham says "SXSW is the festival of broken dreams." A lot subpar bands head to SXSW and get torn up. A lot of the bands these days just don't have it. C'mon the slurping high hat stuff and crybaby "rock" has run it's course. Time to get back to the fun stuff.

The best for me this year was:

- The Oakridge boys covered White Stripes "Seven Nation Army"

- Little Stevens party at Antones was great with Roy Head and the Bo-Keys, Living Things, and Chesterfield Kings.

- Monotonix like last year played about 10 times

- ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at the Justice Records Party

The only tip I've got is to ditch the car for a bike, wear comfortable shows, and throw the schedule out the door because you will get diverted.

bigchris starstarstarstar Tue 3/24/2009 06:22PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

great pics, those playboy bunnies look hot! Can't wait to see Jane's this summer.

no DJ Shadow rightup for his show at Stubbs? Come on!