You'll never know which Chicago Public Radio on-air host you'll run into at SXSW
Lisa Labuz, ladies and gentleman....
When it comes to music, I’m the person who gloms onto a handful of CDs and plays them over and over and over and over. And over.
In the past year and a half, I have subjected my husband Chris to more than his fair share of Gary Jules’ “Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets,” The Doves’ “Some Cities” and “Supergrass Is 10: The Best Of 94-04.” And entering an unprecedented 7th year: The Charlatans UK’s “Tellin’ Stories.” Chris shakes his head, rolls his eyes and hands me something different to try.
As comfortable as I am falling into the familiar, I was really excited to head back to Austin for my second year at SXSW. Hundreds and hundreds of bands at dozens of bars and music halls. I don’t know a whole lot about most of the bands performing, but so what. As much as I love The Charlatans UK, I’m ready for something new.
Chris and I spent 3 overwhelming and exhausting days waiting in lines with the ultra-hip, indie, “messy, just so” crowd to watch bands play a few songs at a time. I could sleep for a week. But when I wake up, I’m fired and ready to start running these new-to-me CDs into the ground.
Best CD for the gym: The Shys’ “Villian.” This won’t be released until May (Get me, so ahead of the curve!), but they are loud and fast and I never had so much fun watching so many guys dressed in black. The keyboard player, especially, has this great way of standing precariously on his chair and bending over to play.
Best CD for getting your ire up (political or otherwise) and learn a little French at the same time: Metric’s “Live It Out.” Metric was easily one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. I love seeing strong women on stage and Singer Emily Haines is possibly one of the strongest women I’ve seen since Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders (who were also playing SXSW this year). And leave it to a Canadian rock band to throw a handful of French lyrics into a song.
Best Rock Cabaret CD: Persephone’s Bees’ “The Notes From The Underworld.” This will be out in June. Persephone’s Bees also wins the award for building a great set. Their songs started out slow, and at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I kept checking the time on my mobile phone. But Russian-born Angelina Moysov and her amazing band had me hooked by song #3 and the set kept building from there. I got a kick out of how guitarist Tom Ayres could effortlessly weave a spiffy Fleetwood Mac riff into one of the songs.
Lisa’s Fun Find Of The Week! The Lovely Feathers. Five early-20’s guys (I’m told one dropped out of med school to join the band) from Montreal who’s music is some pop, some punk and on a grand-ish scale. They never skipped a note playing what seemed to me to be “mini rock-operas” with complicated tempo and dynamic changes. And they’ve been playing together for just about a year and a half! When one of your singers can strut into the crowd with a tambourine and pull it off as serious and hilarious at the same time then you’ve won me over. Their CD “Hind Hind Legs” comes out soon. I’m hoping it’s as great as their live show.
I saw a pile of other great bands and artists: Burning Brides, Kelley Stoltz, Magnet, Cavalier King, Controller. Controller, The Cinematics, Goldrush, The Charlatans UK (twice! Because, The CHARLATANS, people!) and I did get to hear The Pretenders sing “Chain Gang” as I stood on the sidewalk behind their venue. I love The Rock. I think I can put my copy of Tellin’ Stories to the side. For a few months.