Thursday, March 19, 2009

SXSW Music 2009: Day One

Ulrich Schnauss
Just laptop mixing, even "Stars" (and how I love that song) was a letdown

Shut up and play boys. Quit critiquing the audience. Oh, you're (hardcore punk) music's tedious as well.

Heartless Bastards
A band, playing music competently. Nothing particularly of note.

Avett Brothers
Lots of energy, rather samey in song structure/sound/subject. Points for working hard to engage the audience.

The Decemberists
This was the debut of their new album, The Hazards of Love, played in its entirety, as it will be on their upcoming tour. I was tired and that may have affected my reception, but aside from about four songs, I found the material to be mediocre. The typical Decemberists elements were all there (with again more classic rock influence as on The Crane Wife), the songs just weren't all that interesting. Though the album lists 17 tracks, several musical themes repeat so that it's largely just more verses of the same song. I'm not one to listen attentively to lyrics of new songs, so I have no opinion of the storyline.

It was great to have guest vocalists Becky Stark and Shara Worden reprising their roles on the album as well as adding some instrumentation. That was the best thing about the show, the varied instrumentation and particularly the pounding version of "The Rake's Song" where five people banged away on drums. Maybe it will take a few listens to the record to engage properly with the material.

They encored with "The Raincoat Song" (just Colin and John singing) and "I Was Meant for the Stage".


  1. Dude, I didn't realize you were in town! Hope you had fun. I damn sure did. I can barely hold my eyes open right now, and I'm typing this at 8:30pm on Sunday.

  2. Apparently Ulrich was joined by a couple other people and it got better. Oh well.