Saturday, February 27, 2010

B. Benson + A/Fam Follow-Up + Vids

I never got back to y'all after my Wednesday debacle. As you may recall, I had tickets to two shows on the same night and I didn't know what I was going to do. Well, I ended up attending pieces of both shows. It was pretty stressful, but I need the practice for SXSW when at any given moment there will be a billion bands I want to see all playing at once in different venues scattered across multiple zip codes. I went to the Parish room first Wednesday night. I only caught 1.5 songs from Warpaint but it was enough to make me want to seek them out when they're here for SX. Akron/Family went on afterward and they started their set out in a pretty low-key way. They started about 30 minutes later than I expected so I only got to hear them play 4-5 songs and I wasn't really feeling it. They were getting a little avant for my mood that evening and crowd was very chatty. I did manage to capture their opening tune in this sub-par video though.

Akron/Family - River video via YouTube

I left the Parish as soon as someone on Twitter posted that Brendan Benson was on stage at the Independent. Now, it's kind of unfair to compare B. Benson and Akron/Family since they are sooo different but it was a welcome shift for me on Wednesday night. Akron/Family challenges their audience to find the beauty and participate in the moment of the show experience. Brendan Benson churns out perfect pop-rock at break-neck speeds, effortlessly shifting from one beautiful melody to the next. Needless to say it was pleasant to not be challenged in a rock setting after having been awake for 10+ hours. I had never been to the Independent but I highly approve. It's pretty much a bare-bones warehouse space with a stage in the corner. The audience was pretty thin, the room was full but not packed tightly, so I was able to stroll right up to the stage.

Brendan Benson - A Whole Lot Better video via YouTube

Austin was Benson's last night of his current tour so he took the opportunity to do some cover songs in the encore. He ended up doing 3 different one, 2 of which I would have expected and 1 of which I didn't. Remember that song, "Who Sucked Out the Feeling?" Well, I had forgotten all about it until Brendan Benson covered it and apparently that's not an unusual cover for him since he also did it at his Daytrotter session. He also did a Graham Nash song as well as this one originally by Tom Petty.

Tom Petty - Listen To Your Heart video via YouTube

All in all both shows were good but completely different vibes. If I hadn't had other places to be I would have enjoyed Akron/Family more but I just wasn't feeling patient enough to be enveloped in their vibe that night. All of my Twitter friends who stayed for the whole show had nothing but positive things to say. Just goes to show, if you end in a big way that gets people involved that's what they'll take away from the show as a whole. They won't even remember that you played a shitty, slow, boring song as the SECOND song in your set?!?! Seriously, bands let's keep the energy high for the first 2-3 songs then you can dial it back and preserve your energy ok?

Speaking of dialing-it-back, don't forget you can catch the hypnotic sounds of Warpaint at SXSW2010.

Warpaint - Stars video via YouTube

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Brendan Benson and Akron/Family are both in town Wednesday and I have tickets to both shows! What's a Bloggy to do y'all? It might be possible for me to catch pieces of both headlining acts, but do I really want that stress? Besides it would be kind of rude to B. Benson or the A/Fam if I just walked out of their shows. They might stop performing and call me out, "Whose that extremely handsome man putting his jacket on?!?!". Most likely, what will happen, is I'll give away the Akron/Family on Twitter and end up going to see Brendan Benson. Not that I don't like the Fam but they play Austin with much more frequency than B. Benson. Specifically, a solo Brendan Benson show is a particular rarity 'round these parts. If you're interested I believe tickets for both the Akron/Family and the Brendan Benson shows are still available.

Brendan Benson - A Whole Lot Better video via YouTube

This B. Benson show will be my first time at the Independent but I seem to recall that Joel over at Ultra8201 told me the place is tiiiight. For those of you who are all, "Who the eff is B. Benson? A/Fam is WAAAAYY better!". I say to thee, "Whilst I 'respect' your opinion, B. Benson is a pop-songwriting machine who should be preserved in some sort of glass case so he may write distraction free for the rest of time". Hell, let's throw A.C. Newman in there too. Actually I'd love to hear that collabo, you hear me Universe? Oh, also, you probably know Brendan Benson better as "that other guy in the Raconteurs".

the Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely video via YouTube

For those of you not familiar with Akron/Family...I'm trying really hard not to judge you right now but seriously? You're not down with A/Fam? Where you been dawg? They've been making ripples since their song Running, Returning hit the interwebs 3 blog-decades ago. Their reputation as a stellar/transcendent live-band precedes them and if you know anything about Bloggy you know I loves me some Parish Room. So, if you're really not feeling Brendan Benson, fear not dear reader, you will also have a GREAT time at the Akron/Family show. Who knows, maybe you'll see me there getting yelled at by Akron/Family for being tardy.

Akron/Family - Everyone Is Guilty video via YouTube

In case you didn't get my A.C. Newman reference it's the dude in this BEAUTIFUL Black Cab Sesion video:

New Pornographers - All the Old Showstoppers video via YouTube

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Four Tet Video + jj Mini-Preview

I really had no idea what to expect from a Four Tet show but last night at the Mohawk was pretty much superb. The show was sold-out and we were packed in there tightly. I checked out sight lines from all over the venue but all of the best spots to see were jam packed. I was pleased to see that most of the people were at the show to hear the music although there were people talking over the music in certain crowd pockets but that's to be expected. When I arrived around 10pm Nathan Fake was already on and had the crowd moving, but he was done by 10:15 or 10:20. Four Tet was on by 10:45 and played till at least 12:15am but the set didn't seem long to me. I managed to get a good point of view for video during the encore.

Four Tet - Smile Around the Face video via YouTube

In a totally un-related note, I'm excited that mysterious Swedes, and recent Secretly Canadian signees, jj will be here in Austin for SXSW this year. I was kind of late to the party on their, hard-to--find, 2009 release, jj n° 2 but since I've acquired it I can't get enough. Be forewarned there really aren't any official videos but I want you to hear some of the songs from the LP, so here's a non-video or two for your enjoyment.

jj - From Africa to Málaga video via YouTube

Personally, I don't have a badge or wristband for the official SXSW events, nor do I plan on purchasing one. So, this means I'll be restricted to catching jj at a free event outside the festival, but something tells me that won't be a problem given the tsunami of hype they'll be riding in on. My brethren in blogging over at Do512 have put together a great SXSW section and if you create a profile and tag jj you'll have their complete SXSW schedule as it's revealed/modified.

This song is from their third album and first on Secretly Canadian to be released on March 9th, just a few weeks before SXSW.

jj - Let Go video via YouTube

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