SXSW | 03.20.10 | Austin, TX - Day 4

Words by: Kayceman | Images by: Scott Dudelson

SXSW :: 03.20.10 :: Saturday :: Austin, TX

She & Him at Rachel Ray's Party :: 03.20.10 by Dudelson
We celebrated the first day of spring with some of the coldest weather Austin has experienced this year. With a bitter wind and temps dipping down into the 30s, the cold definitely affected the music experience on the final day of South by Southwest. Prior to the really chilly evening, I spent my day at the 40 Watt/JamBase Party located at the Side Bar. With one indoor stage and two outdoor ones, it allowed for a nice flow in-and-out of the elements that kept patrons warm(er). Each stage took the name of a departed Athens artist with the Vic Chesnutt Stage serving the headliners, the Jerry Fuchs Stage being the secondary outdoor venue and the Jon Guthrie Stage set up inside the bar.

Kayceman's Top 3

#3 - Camper Van Beethoven

Psychedelic folk rock, alternative ska pop, alt-country and whatever else people call Camper Van Beethoven, the band was able to warm the huddled masses at the 40 Watt/JamBase Party with "Take The Skinheads Bowling." Mixing a polka shuffle with a neat little violin line (that could have been louder in the mix), they twisted deeply into weird Americana/country rock landscapes and it wasn't hard to pick up on the Leftover Salmon cross-breeding found through bandleader David Lowery's work with Salmon in Cracker. What's even cooler, the band funded their trip to Austin by letting fans donate $100 in exchange for selecting a song to be performed at the fest.

#2 - The Tenant

Street Sweeper Social Club
Rachel Ray's Party :: 03.20.10 by Dudelson
Named after Roman Polanski's movie The Tenant, the quartet played inside the 40 Watt/JamBase Party to a filled bar. Working a moody, dark, dream-pop motif with warm textures, they won me over quickly, even though I'd never heard of them before. One can hear the influence of Manchester bands like New Order, Joy Division and Stone Roses, but it still came off as original. Heavy on electronics but juiced with real guitars and drums, it was easy to dance with. Another band that fans of Phoenix or M-83 should really check out.

#1 - Dead Confederate

There were a lot of big, distorted guitar squalls at the 40 Watt/JamBase Party, but none knocked the crust from our tired, cold bones more than Dead Confederate. Built upon slow, patient grooves that erupted into slamming cymbals and walls of noise, it was remarkable that they could paint such a picture in the light of day. This is dark music, both in content and delivery, and it's best experienced in a loud room with weird lights, where you can hide in the shadows. But none of that mattered during "The Rat." Looking around the converted parking lot, heads were slamming back and forth and fists were pumping. A serious achievement considering how freaking cold it was.

Bonus Coverage by JamBase CEO David Rosenheim - Big Star Tribute

The remaining members of Big Star joined special guests to perform an emotionally charged tribute to frontman Alex Chilton, who died suddenly on March 17. Big Star was scheduled to play a fest-closing set at Antone's, and instead of canceling the gig they brought in friends to help celebrate Chilton and his music. The capacity crowd was treated to 100 minutes of Big Star classics from the band's influential 70s albums #1 Record, Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers. Performing with original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens were current Big Star members Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. Special guests ranged from original Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, Chris Stamey (dB's), M. Ward, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Sondre Lerche, Chuck Prophet, Evan Dando (The Lemonheads), John Doe (who sang a lovely version of "I'm In Love With a Girl"), Amy Speace, The Watson Twins and Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets.

Kayceman's Top 3 Overall for SXSW 2010
1. Sleepy Sun at IODA Party
2. Kayceman's Treehouse Party
3. Big Light Private Late Night Show in Hilton Suite

Continue reading for Sarah Hagerman's SXSW Day 4 highlights...


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