Carter: SXSW Week

SXSW week

Richard Carter

I recently got a message from Gellert to let me know that Jac Damsel is going to reform one last time to play a going away show for lead singer Jac who is moving away. The band will play at Fat Albert’s at 9:30 p.m. on Friday March 23. The cool thing is that members of Outspire and A.A. Bottom will be involved in the show. If you miss you some Jac Damsel, this will be the place to be. Also, it would be cool to see a great attendence as there are not a whole lot of great venues for live music in town. If people flood Fat Albert’s, that might convince management to feature some more live music. The venue seems tailor made to host bands, and I can think of a few bands that never get to play nearly enough in town because of the lack of venues.

Last week, I got to watch the members of The Affiliation figuratively kill on stage. I had written “literally kill,” but obviously there wasn’t that much blood left behind. The band was the tightest I had seen them play, and the two guitar players ripped lead after lead. It was the first time I had watched a band play with Legion-like intensity in a non-all ages venue. They seemed to enjoy themselves very much.

Following the Affiliation, I went down 8th Street to a series of band practice places where several groups opened their jam spaces to the public to watch them play. Cody Magana’s band Jumping Point had one spot where they had Bryson Lawrence play. Next door, the space featured the Doppelgangers and Blue Light Special. It was a really great turnout and I hope this summer we see some more things like this. Again, with so few clubs featuring live music, groups need to get somewhat inventive, and this is good policy for everyone.

One thing I did discover over SXSW week was that some of the Austin clubs such as Stubb’s (really a barbeque place) allow the performances to be streamed online, so I had the opportunity to watch a live show by Nick Cave and the Seeds, a band which some people will find pretentious and other people a sort of controlled chaos. It was a good performance but there were a few too many camera angles for me. If you wish to capture a club experience, it’s best to have one well-situated camera and then run with it. That experience was captured much better when I switched to watch Iggy and the Stooges play a live SXSW club show. While the performance was a little ragtag, the view was perfect. It was like being 20 feet back from the stage and elevated about 8 feet up. I loved it. Finally, I waited for Yeah Yeah Yeahs to play and they did a good show. A little disappointing after seeing the band play live in Trees four or five years ago. There is no substitute for live music, but I wouldn’t have travelled to Austin and paid that kind of money for anything. Do stream some SXSW and see what you think. You can always light a package of cigarettes, invite some loud neighbors and friends and open a beer cooler or two if you miss that element of the show.

Words about St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday and Sunday) next time around.