My favorite moments of SXSW always happen by mistake, when I stumble upon something wonderful. In this world of technological and information overload, experiencing a magical moment on your own two feet with your own two eyes reigns supreme. So happening upon Jack White’s Third Man Records pop up truck and then watching the man himself play one of my fave all time tunes – Not Fade Away” – and the White Stripes “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” was so very special.
Then, just minutes later, we found ourselves at Spinner’s pop up concert with The Vaccines at a Baptist Church. They rocked it and I have a feeling they have a bright future and coukd bust out of the indie world into the mainstream pretty easily.
We hustled over to the Convention Center for KCRW’s own showcase, kicked off with the mesmerizing and gorgeous vocals of James Vincent McMorrow. Its was a stunning set, followed by 21-year-old JessicaLea Mayfield. I got a chance to tell her backstage that, as a woman, her voice and her stories really speak to me. She’s got something special for sure.
Brett Dennen closed things up with some hip shaking pop. They were a tight trio and the new songs sounded great live.
After a stop for empanadas, we settled into our night showcase at The Phoenix, an incredible venue with red velvet walls and all.
Our headliner was Alexander, the solo project from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ frontman Alex Ebert. He brought a band together for the occasion (which included Rob from Darker My Love) and they were rehearsing all night until they took the stage.
Apparently he’s only performed those songs live 4 times before! Of course the audience went wild, swept up in the positive vibes and communal energy.
The venue was packed all night long for the Naked and Famous (the energy in the room when they played their hit “Young Blood” was awesome), UK’s Chapel Club, LA’s Belle Brigade and Nashville’s Tristen. My favorite had to be Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – not only did they wear racing uniforms, but I found myself singing along with every song. That’s how you know a band has caught you in their web. All in all it was a blast.
As I’m typing this The Kills are soundchecking in the next room, not bad background music!!