The Damnwells play rock and power pop with well crafted songs and great vocals. They have a wonderful new album just out, titled, simply enough, The Damnwells. The band has a history worthy of, well, a band. They put out a couple of records, got trapped in record company stupidity and two of the original members left the band. Two other members, including songwriter and front man Alex Dezen, soldiered on releasing two albums over the past few years. But now the original line up of The Damnwells is back together. Tonight is New York’s turn to see The Damnwells once again. This performance, at Irving Plaza, is the release show for the new CD, and Julian Velard and Ari Hest will open.
The Damnwells had one of my Ten Best Albums of 2009, One Last Century, which was only available as a free download on the Internet (and probably still is; the link for downloading that album still works). No One Listens to The Band Anymore, the followup, is now out, and the Damnwells are out on the road touring in support of it. On this tour, the band will consist of the Damnwells’ two permanent members, Alex Dezen (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Ted Hudson (bass) plus the members of Harper Blynn (Pete Harper, J Blynn, Sarab Singh and Whynot Jansveld). What you’ll get is rock with intelligent lyrics and well crafted songs.
Harper Blynn will also play a set before joining Alex and Ted. They are a four piece band featuring high energy pop rock, lots of hooks and good harmonies. This past year they released a CD, Loneliest Generation, and a self titled EP. The band is in the studio right now recording their next album.
This is one of the better shows you can see. It will be a highlight of this week.
The Damnwells and Harper Blynn, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St between Chrystie Street and The Bowery (F Train to Delancey Street or J, M or Z Trains to Essex Street), doors 8:00pm / show 8:30 pm, $15
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.
It’s time once again for the monthly calendar. December looks pretty strong with good shows almost every night, and with some nights sporting two or three really good shows opposite each other. When that happens, just pick one, because when you have multiple good choices, what ever choice you make will be a good one.
Things around Christmas and the week after have yet to be posted, but they will be, and this calendar will be updated periodically to include those shows. I’m not including New Years Eve shows here, but will have a separate post about them later.
With the ground rules out of the way, start your planning!
Dec.16 -A Holiday Benefit Volume 4: Hosted by NY1’s Roger Clark featuring Casey Shea, Bryan Dunn, Chris Abad, Benjamin Wagner, Wes Hutchinson, Charlotte Sometimes, Rachel Platten, Dave Pittinger, Kelli Rae Powell, Zach & Sarah, Vienna Teng & Alex Wong– Rockwood Stage 2 – 7pm
Dec. 19 – Jon Graboff’s Pedal Steel Guitar World of Discovery – Rockwood Stage 2 – 7pm
*Updated Nov. 30 – Dec. 8
§Updated Dec. 18