@ZackTeibloom A delightful afternoon set feeding into a secret show that met expectations fed into a night full of headliners at Stubbs on a memorable Wednesday night at SXSW.
3:15 p.m at a meeting, sipping an Amp, my boss says, “Really? An energy drink? You’re done in 45 minutes.” “I have a lot of rocking to do,” I said. It was true. My day started at Fader Fort where I came for Freelance Whales.
Freelance Whales: A banjo, a xylaphone, a couple guitars, an accordian and a batch of glasses-clad singers. It worked. Check out “Starring” and then I have a feeling you’ll want the whole album. They’re spry, soft and gentle indie-rock. They feel like a young band. Grow with them. 8.5/10
Damian Marley and Nas: Shockingly, no one knew who the special show was Wednesday night at Fader, though I did hear the Nas rumor earlier, but no mention of a Marley. Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley traded lines and songs from their solo albums effectively and their new stuff sounded fast, had both rapping and is making me look forward to their upcoming May 18th album. The sing-a-long to “One Love” was epic, but nothing tops Green Man crowd-surfing to “Welcome to Jamrock.” 8.8/10
The Walkmen: Looks like a high-energy show, eh? Not so much. Incredibly boring. Crowd wasn’t into it for a second. Was this the same hard-rock band I saw at ACL? I’m not sure. Even bringing out an 8-piece brass band did little for them. Disappointing set. Nothing to hold your hat on. 7.0/10
Sharon Jones was a triumph as always. She sashayed across the stage, got low and worked her band into a tizzy. They really found their groove halfway through their set, found a pocket so big you could tuck a baseball mitt in it and just laid into it as Sharon crooned over them. They did their usual tricks like having Sharon bring some awkward fan on stage to dance with, which always brings a smile. Almost as big a smile as when Sharon kicks her shoes off and dances barefoot. Nothing like the funk/soul combo from these boys playing with their queen leading them. 9.3/10
Broken Bells: There’s something wonderful about seeing a new band with just one album under their belts playing their whole repertoire and doing it flawlessly. We were treated to that with Broken Bells. The Danger Mouse/James Mercer led band played their debut album to perfection as a light show bounced off the screen over their heads. It seemed like Danger Mouse could be better utilized than on the drums, but they sounded on point all set. Opening with album opener “The High Road,” they sounded like they were playing the album. Some found it dull, I happen to love the album, so I was enthralled. They could use more stage presence, but the songs are there and they pull them off. 9.0/10
On today’s schedule:
Neon Indian 3:45 Fader Fort
Miike snow: 5:15 208 w. 4th Filter Cedar Street Courtyard
GZA 7 eastbound and found
she and him filter cedar st. 10 208 w. 4th
ray davies 10:30 LZR
band of horses 11:30 Stubbs
ezra furman 1 am Valhalla