SXSW Song Of The Day: Austin Lucas – Immortal Americans

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Photo Credit: Chad Cochran

Every now and then a song just jumps out at you and demands your attention.

Such was the case with “Immortal Americans”, the title track off of Bloomington, Indiana alt country singer-songwriter Austin Lucas‘ latest album. Upon hearing that tune as part of a playlist, I had to stop what I was doing, listen, and find out exactly who was behind it. And then I listened to the song all over again.

First it was Lucas’ voice that caught my attention, then the melody, and then finally the lyrics: a portrait of American heartland culture and a celebration of the power of rock and roll that elevates it all to a new sort of gospel – “the sound of immortal Americans.” Check it out.

Austin Lucas plays the Continental Club on March 15 at 11:00pm.

Concert Review: High and Mighty Brass Band, Galactic, February 15, 9:30 Club

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

There are some things in life that are just downright unfair:

1) Bringing a knife to a gun fight.
2) The fact that Gwen Stefani doesn’t age.
3) Showing up on a stage with a sousaphone.

Obviously High and Mighty Brass Band killed it when they took to the 9:30 stage in DC Friday night – they showed up with a trumpet, a trombone, a sousaphone, and an incredibly charming frontman to belt out any songs with lyrics. At one point their vocalist yelled out to the crowd, “I have a confession to make. I have a family member in the crowd. And it’s the day after Valentine’s Day. So I apologize for what you’re about to hear.” He then launched into the most brass-filled version of Ginuwine’s “Pony” I’ve ever heard. (Also, which family member is there? You’re gonna make Grammy blush!) The crowd absolutely loved it. And then the band did the only thing that could make the crowd love them more – they jumped down into the audience and played a cover of Mac Miller’s “Come back to Earth.”

A hard act to follow. But if anyone’s going to do it, it’s Galactic, fearlessly led by Ms. Erica Falls. Ms. Falls took to the stage in a sparkly shirt, cut-off shorts, tights, and very cute high-heeled, peep-toe boots. She was backed by a saxophone, a pocket-trumpet, two guitars, and drums, and she immediately captivated the crowd with New Orleans-infused funk, starting with “Heart of Steel” (sung on the band’s previous albums by Cyril Neville and Irma Thomas). Galactic has a groove-infused, feel-good, high-energy vibe that got the crowd moving and jumping in no time. “Heart of Steel” was followed up with “Dolla Diva” and “Going Straight Crazy” (sung by Princess Shaw on the original album).

There are some things that are pretty much universally appealing: chocolate, cookies straight out of the oven, the smell of baking bread. Every once in a while you’ll find the outlier who doesn’t like those things, and you’ll look at them in shock and disgust, shake your head and move on, but for the most part, everyone’s gonna love it. If you haven’t seen these bands before and you want to take a chance on something new, 99.9% chance you’re going to love them.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Robert Ellis – Fucking Crazy

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Photo Credit: Alexandra Valenti

When people talk about Texas singer-songwriters, a certain type of sound comes to mind – the sounds made popular by the likes of Guy Clarke, Steve Earle, or Townes Van Zandt. But Austin’s Robert Ellis brings to mind a different kind of sound with “Fucking Crazy” – the easy, breezy sound of ’70s soft rock.

Yes, with his latest, Texas Piano Man, Ellis doesn’t just dip a toe into the sort of sounds made famous by the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, and other songwriters of a ’70s/’80s vintage (I detect a hint of Bread’s David Gates in his delivery on this one) – he dives in head first. And the results are fantastic.

And though he’s serious about his music, Ellis also injects a certain sense of humour into his tunes (as you might expect from the man who entitled a previous album The Lights From The Chemical Plant), from “Topo Chico“, his drinking song about Texas’ favourite sparkling mineral water, to the aforementioned “Fucking Crazy”, which is probably the best piano-based pop song to feature the f-word since John Grant’s “GMF.” Check out the video below.

Robert Ellis plays the Mohawk on March 15 at 9:00pm.

SXSW Interactive and Music Beginners Guide – Some tips

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Albert Hammond Jr, March 17 2018

This will be my eleventh year at SXSW, so it’s time to pay it forward with some tricks of the trade that I have acquired during my time there.

Don’t eat inside the conference center
You have failed if you do this. Austin is an amazing place for food. Don’t eat conference food. Go out and explore. Which leads me to the next thing:

Aside from Casino El Camino, skip 6th Street
Sure you might be tempted to jump to the street that everyone is on and eat there, but the food there is very average. You might be like, oh, there’s a lot of people there so it must be good. Look at those people – they are just kids.

Rainey Street food truck park is your friend
They usually set up a food truck area just south of Cesar Chavez and Red River. It’s pretty good.

Don’t Eat at Stubb’s
Stubb’s is great for shows and parties, don’t let that be your bbq experience. That’s like going to East Side Marios for Italian food. Opt for La Barbecue or rent a car and go to Salt Lick.

If you need to get somewhere fast, don’t walk across 6th street.
This will become obvious.

Line up early for popular talks
SXSW Conference rooms aren’t that big, even the biggest ones fill up quickly. If there is someone super popular talking this year, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you will most likely have to skip the previous hour’s talk to be comfortable.

You would think it goes without saying, but walk around and just look for the crowd. There are a lot of well marketed parties to go to, but there are also a shitload of good parties with shitty marketing. These are the goldmines you stumble across with free top shelf liquor. Take the time to explore – don’t be afraid to go to East 6th, or Soco (South Congress)

During Interactive, you don’t need to pay for alcohol
UNLESS you want nice microbrews. If you are okay with your typical Lonestar, Austin Beer Works and Shiners, then you shouldn’t need to pay for any drinks.

Lineups are never worth it.
There’s really no point waiting an hour to go to Mashable so you can get your 1 free rum and coke and an Instagram picture of whatever is topical at the moment.

Do go to some of the nicer restaurants
There’s lots of good food in the places away from the core, so you should definitely go to them

Hopefully that helps.