Photo of Caitlin Rose by and courtesy of Robert Borowicz
All the plans I had made for Saturday went out the window when I saw that the so far elusive Caitlin Rose was playing early that afternoon. I called Bob and told him. His response was quick and unequivocal: “I’m there.”
Fran and I had lunch on South Congress. We then walked over to Jovita’s where we met Bob. We got there in enough time to see three songs from Eddie Spaghetti, a fun straight ahead rocker from Seattle. Once Eddie had finished, we were told to go to the stage in Jovita’s Front Room.
When we got there, Caitlin and her band (lead and pedal steel guitarists) were already set up. Although the sound mix in the Front Room was not ideal, Caitlin showed herself to be an up and coming talent as she played a fine set of alt country and rock originals.
After the show, Bob and I spent some time speaking with Caitlin and her manager. I learned that Caitlin will be in New York City on March 28th opening for Ron Sexsmith at The Highline Ballroom, which sounds like a great show.
Then the three of us went separate ways. I made it back to South Congress and over to the Yard Dog for the day show billed as Steve Wynn’s Spring Training. I spent some time talking to Bill from the Steve Wynn list and Edgar from Blue Rose Records. Edgar and I agreed that blogging from SXSW took up time that probably could be spent at other SXSW events.
I then made it over to the stage where Casey Neill and The Norway Rats were already in progress. They had a sound similar to early R.E.M. and I liked their set a lot. Next up was the Minus 5, which on Saturday consisted of Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Peter Buck, the drummer from Casey Neill, a guitarist who I think was from Casey Neill as well and a mandolin player whom I did not know but whom Scott said was also the stage manager for this show. The Minus 5 played a fine, fun, energetic set.
More SXSW 2011 Saturday after the jump.
The following band was John Langford and Skull Orchestra. As usual, John supplied funny, somewhat sarcastic and self deprecating remarks between songs. As for the Skull Orchestra material, it was a combination of literate songs, high decibels and relentless guitars. Joining the group after a few songs was Sally Timms, John’s bandmate from The Mekons.
The stage was changed and then The Baseball Project was up at bat. This set was somewhat similar to the one they did at Jovita’s on Thursday. Once again Mike Mills came up to play tambourine and sing on Jackie’s Lament. After that song was over, Scott told Mike “keep practicing that tambourine and you’ll have a future in the music business.”
Although it was then time for Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, I had agreed to meet Fran back at the hotel and I left the Yard Dog. After dinner, Fran and I split up: she wanted to see Jeremy Messersmith and The Damnwells. I wanted to see Tim Easton.
I walked over to Lustre Pearl, the club where Tim was playing. As I approached, Bob and Bill came into view. We entered and then made our way to the performance space, a large tent over what once was a yard. Tim and his band started early and played straight ahead rock.
About a half hour into the show, the large amount of cigarette smoke in the tent combined with my allergies and the remnant of my cold made staying at Lustre Pearl impossible. I told Bob and Bill that I was going to leave and go see The Damnwells. Bob agreed to come along while Bill decided to stay.
Walking to The Tap Room at Six we got to see the fireworks display that ended to shows across the lake at the Auditorium Shores stage. When we got to The Tap Room, a sign in the door said “Badges Only.” Bob and I were able to walk right in, but I knew that sign meant that Fran would not get to see The Damnwells. Bob texted Bill to let him know that he shouldn’t bother coming over.
The act on stage when we walked in was Lenka, a very poppy young woman with a band who reminded me a bit of Lilly Allen. The Damnwells were supposed to be up next, but instead we got Brandi Emma, a woman who lead an atmospheric rock band. I liked Brandi’s show quite a bit.
I had noticed all the members of the New York City based band Harper Blynn in the audience during the previous shows. They took the stage, as did Alex Dezen, and together the became the Damnwells for SXSW. They performed five or six songs from the new Damnwells album, No One Listens to the Band Anymore. It was all good stuff, played and sung well.
Lucy Schwartz, a L.A. based keyboardist, together with her band followed. They played pleasant harmony pop. During Lucy’s set, Bob said he had to go meet Bill and left.
I wanted Bob to stay and see the next singer, who I’ve seen many times in New York. It’s a shame he didn’t, because Lelia Broussard’s upbeat pop rock is always a pleasure. The woman standing next to me asked that I write down Lelia’s name on her arm. I took out one of my cards and wrote it on the back instead.
When Lelia finished, I finished SXSW 2011 too. I walked back to the hotel, when I found Fran already asleep.