SXSW Review: Marnie Stern, TORRES, March 13, The Main

From March 13 through 16, The Main (formerly known as Emo’s) played host to the Brooklyn Vegan day parties. It was a venue I found myself at every day of the festival, not because of the free Jamesons available (though that didn’t hurt), but because the lineup curated by Brooklyn Vegan was quite solid. Amongst those playing during the week were Robyn Hitchcock, The Polyphonic Spree, Toy, Death, Palma Violets, and an afternoon put together by metal blog Invisible Oranges, where I saw this awesome sign at KEN Mode’s merch table:

Starting things off on the first day were Nashville singer/songwriter TORRES (aka Mackenzie Scott … or is TORRES the name of the whole band?  I’m never quite sure with these things anymore) and Brooklyn guitar hero Marnie Stern. TORRES had a good sound, with her folk based songwriting augmented by a full band. Her voice and songwriting style reminded me a bit of PJ Harvey with a little Lucinda Williams thrown in there too.

While Torres was a pleasant discovery, Marnie Stern was already a known quantity. Her latest album, the excellently titled The Chronicles Of Marnia, takes a bit more of a straightforward approach than her previous releases, but Stern’s version of a pop record still leaves plenty of room for finger tapping and Yoko Ono-esque vocalizations. Stern’s sense of humour was also on display quite a bit throughout her set, with gleefully crude bits like urging her bassist to talk about his penis, using the word vagina (one of her favourites) a few times during her set, and even a “that’s what she said” (or actually a “that’s what he said”) joke after Stern, pulling her hair back in a ponytail, said, “It’s hard to play with all that hair hanging down.” Juvenile, yes, but still somehow amusing.  Don’t ever change, Marnie.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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