SXSW Review: Garland Jeffreys, March 15, The Blackheart

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It’s Wednesday morning, pretty much right in the middle of South By Southwest and for some reason, I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to catch a show that starts at 9:30am. Yes, a show in the morning at SXSW, where it’s not uncommon to hear people saying “good morning” to a crowd at 1:00pm. And I must say, the streets of Austin at that time of the morning seem pretty strange … in that they probably seem a little more like what Austin’s like when it’s not SXSW. I saw people going to work, somebody jogging, and most shockingly, cars were driving down the main drag of Sixth Street. Then I saw a guy dressed all in black wearing what looked like a cloak and I could reassure myself that it was indeed still SouthBy.

By the time I got to the Blackheart, people were already milling about, enjoying some breakfast tacos and waiting for Garland Jeffreys to take to the stage. Jeffreys, best known for his 1977 single “Wild In The Streets,” was one of the veteran performers playing the festival this year, and like a lot of folks who’ve been playing for that long, he’s got a lot of stories. So it was great that his front porch performance was as much about him telling stories and reminiscing as it was about the music.

Between songs, Jeffreys told stories about growing up in Brooklyn, going to PS72, basketball, his father and grandfather (aka Daddy Ray and Shorty Boulder), and of course, his best friend, the late Lou Reed. (“Lovely guy. I know his reputation’s not so good, but fuck reputation.”) He followed that up with a great version of The Velvet underground’s “Waiting For The Man” and later played a cover of The Beatles’ “Help” wherein he convinced the crowd to all sing along with the high part. Of course, he also played his own stuff, showcasing a few numbers from his latest 14 Steps to Harlem. And when he was done, he simply ended it of by saying, “And that’s it, that’s the show.” And then I went back to my hotel for a bit, because I got up way too early. Totally worth it though.

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Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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