The second night of South by Southwest was warmer than the first. And tonight involved some splitting up with folks to cover more shows. Of course that means you get more SXSW scoops.
My night started with Charlotte Martin. First I noticed her really groovy, long wild hair. Then I caught sight of her great black skirt. This woman had it going on visually. But then she opened her mouth and it no longer mattered what she looked like. Her voice was wonderful. She played the piano and had a Tori Amos thing going on, except with happier lyrics for the most part. And that is entirely appropriate since she did a cover of “Wild Horses” that sounds very much like Tori’s version. Charlotte Martin was someone I had never heard of and really had no intention of seeing tonight, but I will most certainly keep my eye out for her in the future.
Next up was Ben Taylor. Yes, the Ben Taylor that is the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. With heritage like that, it really isn’t surprising that this guy can sing. His voice is a little rough around the edges, which is really where his charm comes in. Add some sweet guitar to the mix and you’ve got a man that I’d go see perform again and again. In fact, I think I’ll head on over to the iTunes Music Store’s SXSW page and get some of his music for some instant satisfaction.
After Ben Taylor was David Ford. David Ford is someone I’ve been looking forward to seeing live for a little over a year now. When I saw he was coming to SX SW I decided that it didn’t matter who else was playing at the same time, David Ford’s show was where I would be. I’m glad because I got to hear Charlotte and Ben, but unfortunately the Hotel Café Showcase only allotted 30 minutes to each set. Since David Ford’s songs tend to be longer, he only got to play three. Can I just say I am instantly in love with this little man from Lewes, UK? He is quite adorable. And while he didn’t play my three favorite songs, it was certainly interesting watching him play.
David Ford used to be in this band called Easyworld. They broke up and he’s doing the solo thing and making me happy. However, tonight it was only David Ford and some chick singing backup. But his songs all involve more instruments than they had people on stage. What was cool was how he pulled it off. He would sing into one microphone and play his guitar like your typical singer-songwriter. Then he would sing into a different guitar and put it on a loop while singing on top of it. Eventually he had the same vocals on loop together so it sounded like there were six of him singing his backup vocals. But it gets even cooler. He did the same when he banged on his guitar to simulate drums. Due to technical issues, he wasn’t able to add in the piano or harmonica. However, he did this all seamlessly, not skipping a moment to his song as you would hear it in a recording. David Ford was like a how-to on being a one-man band.
The Hotel Café Showcase was great in that the singer-songwriters all played somewhat similar music, meaning while you waited for the band you wanted to see you would still enjoy the others. Chris Pierce fits into this. I had never heard of Chris Pierce. I keep saying there is something about watching people perform who look like they are having fun and Chris takes the cake in that department. His smile could warm your heart. And boy does he have some pipes! Chris Pierce’s lyrics are a little uninspired, but with a voice like his I don’t really care. He closed with a song about a girl putting the Hell in him, which I think was about sex (but then, I’m a pervert) that was his best song and had everyone dancing. Should he work on the lyrics so they aren’t so generic, Chris would be on his way to conquer the musical world.
Joe Purdy was after Chris. Do you think you’ve heard of him? It wouldn’t shock me as his songs have been featured on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Lost. Not to mention his song “Wash Away” was one of the top 10 downloads in the singer-songwriter category. The music on his album Julie Blue is low key, with Joe Purdy singing, playing his acoustic guitar, and minimal drums. It is very chill and that is what I was expecting. I was also expecting someone much older and weathered-looking. I suppose that means I should have researched a bit about him, like the fact that he is young and from Arkansas or that he is about to release his fifth album. He was much louder and upbeat than I was expecting, but in a good way. He was fun to watch, and man could he strum his guitar quickly.
A friend from Santa Monica went to see The Twilight Singers. Before they played was apparently the awful Ladyfuzz that sounded more like a sound check that never ended than a band that could have gotten into SXSW. Luckily, from the ashes of the Afghan Whigs rose The Twilight Singers to totally rock the venue back into life. While I can make no claims as to their awesomeness, my friend was feeling ill and wanted to make it an early night at 9pm. After The Twilight Singers finished after 12:30 am, she was more energetic and excited than I have ever seen, exclaiming, “That was totally what I came here for!” The fact that the venue was closed off to even SXSW badge-holders speaks volumes to the greatness of The Twilight Singers as well.
Morrissey was the act to catch tonight. When a show at 9:00 has a line start forming at 3:00, there is no way I will ever even attempt it. But Moz did have an interview today with Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, and a couple hundred others sitting in. Praising David Bowie’s early music, thinking Joy Division is boring live, and turning down money to reunite The Smiths for this year’s Coachella Festival were all topics of discussion. It also seems Moz isn’t a fan of American Idol finding them anything but an idol and having some sympathy for the contestants.
After all this was said and done, we thought we would head over to the IHEARTCOMIX party in search of the rumored free ice cream. But the place was packed with fans waiting to see Peaches, hoping she would be wearing her strap on dildo to sing her naughty songs. Not wanting to wait in an endless line, we called it a night. In search of a cab to take us home, we shared our stories of the night, and talked about more rumors of special appearances from the likes of REM, the Beastie Boys, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Are they true? Who knows, but it sure is fun to speculate.