This is the final day of SXSW music and I am both sad and ready to see it go. This year’s event flew by so fast it will take some time to process all the new music that I have heard in the last few days. We started the day off by the annual Saltlick BBQ trip located in Driftwood, Texas. The Saltlick has family style BBQ where you get all the meat and sides you can eat. Two massive plates of ribs, brisket and sausage later we head back into Austin.
We drop the car off and head over to Cedar Street Courtyard to catch the final day of the Filter day show series. We get there just in time to catch a good chunk of DeVotchKa’s set. DeVotchKa plays of blend of rock and old world music (gypsy-esque) that is incredibly catchy. They have been around for a long time but public awareness of the band has grown since they were heavily featured in Little Miss Sunshine. They played a killer set and the crowd was thick to see them. As soon as they wrapped up the venue cleared out so that we could head to the front of the stage.
Grand Archives were up next and brought a rocking set for us to enjoy. Grand Archives was founded by Mat Brooke after leaving Band of Horses once their first album was released. Grand Archives has a similar sound to Band of Horses, but you would expect that from one of the founding members. I would hardly call it a BoH clone but its a good way to give you a starting point on their sound. The drummer handled a lot of the banter and you could tell they really enjoyed playing together and to the crowd.
Sea Wolf took the stage after Grand Archives and brought a more mellow sound to the stage but they also brought the rock when called for. Sea Wolf is a large six piece band with keys, cello, lead guitar, bass, drums and singer/rhythm guitar. They constantly revolved positions adding to the mix different percussion instruments when called for. Another great live band to add to the must see list.
The final act of the night was Kate Nash with guest Billy Bragg. I first heard of Kate through Entertainment Weekly. Yeah, I read EW… wanna fight about it?! Anyway she got a nice writeup in EW and on the drive down Niki was playing her music because he is a big fan. Kate is a singer/songwriter from the UK and her album reminds me of Lily Allen, although they are pretty different stylistically. I think its the girl with an accent thing that makes me link the two.
Kate played her guitar and sang to the audience. Her banter was spot on, her voice was great and her performance is going on my highlight reel for sure. She was not in town for a showcase, she just wanted to see SXSW. Since she was here Filter and Q magazine convinced her to play some gigs.
For the last three songs Kate was backed by Billy Bragg on guitar while she played piano. They did a great duet piece and he backed her on two of her tracks. If you are familiar with both Kate and Billy then you probably are wondering how they can work together since they have very different sounds. Well, they work beautifully and it was awesome to be front row center and catch it all.
After the Filter party we had some down time. Xina and I watched the bats leave from under the Congress bridge, it was an awesome experience. Niki headed off with some friends in town and we decided to meet up later for the final round of showcases.
Xina and I first headed off to catch No Kids at the Anitcon showcase. I heard of No Kids online and really liked their sound. They are extremely quirky and their sound is catchy. The show was a little… well, a lot rough. They appear to be a rather new band with limited gigging experience. I may be wrong but that was the impression I got. The last song they played was awesome and I want to see how they evolve over the coming year to see how they shape up.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat between shows and then caught Lord T and Eloise. Xina knew of them from a friend of hers and had seen their videos online. Xina mentioned that they dressed the part but I had no idea what they did musically. I assumed it was some kind of folk or rock thing but they ended up being a three MC hip-hop team out of Memphis. They brought the “Aristocrunk” (as they called it). Its very tongue and cheek but the beats were bouncing and they know how to flow. It was a hysterical show and the crowd ate it up. Very much a unique act and if you can see it I recommend it just for the experience alone.
We then trucked it up to the Daytrotter/Park The Van showcase to catch the Spinto Band and Dr. Dog. The badge line was 30 deep to get in and they were doing one out one in. The Spinto Band took the stage as we were in line but we were able to see and hear them since they were set up at the outdoor Eno’s Annex. I was the last to get in and we headed to the front to catch the highly energetic show. I first heard of them Spinto Band via Seth over at wHYMe. Ah Seth… how I miss your show.
After the Spinto Band brought it, and boy did they, Dr. Dog took the stage. Blending classic power pop rock, psychedelia and a splash of Reggae they rocked the stage and the crowd really hard. It was a fantastic way to go out on my 3rd annual SXSW. All and all this has to be the best SXSW I have been to. The music was non-stop stellar for four days. So much new music to dig into when I finally decompress.