AUSTIN – Thursday offered another strong day of music at South by Southwest. Not to be too much of a North Texas homer, but my favorite shows of the day were by locals.
Smile Smile captured the crowd with its tales of breaking up during an outdoor afternoon show. Strangely, Jencey let everyone know that they were from Canada. “We tell people different things, and when we say we’re from Canada, people then say the music makes sense,” she said after the show. Hmm.
Later that night, it was off to see Sarah Jaffe at St. David’s Episcopal Church. The setting was a nice break from the packed clubs, and Jaffe sang with an urgent, deeply felt tone that gave me chills. Her four-piece band (which included Robert Gomez on guitar) drifted in and out of the background, ensuring that Jaffe’s strong voice and haunting lyrics were the star of the show, as they should be.
After that, I really just wanted to drift off to sleep. But that wasn’t happening – Stone Temple Pilots, one of my favorite bands from high school, was playing at Austin Music Hall. Seemed too good to pass up, and I’m glad that I didn’t. Most bands outside of the truly legendary ride a career arc that eventually brings them back down from superstar status. A side benefit of that is that long-time fans can see their favorite bands in smaller venues. The last time I saw STP was at Reunion Arena; last night I watched the show from about 50 feet from the stage and rocked out like it was 1995. Or 1970. For the encore, the band brought out Doors guitarist Robby Krieger for a full-throttle reading of “Roadhouse Blues.”
My ears are still ringing this morning, but it gave me plenty of energy for the long walk home last night.
For more on what I’ve been doing at SXSW, be sure to tune into KXT at 4:30 and 6:30 when I’ll be on the air during The Afternoon Show.