Thursday night I started out at the outdoor stage at the Auditorium Shores with Los Lobos. Then I went to thee Saxon Pub to see five bands I have never seen before. But being at the Saxon, I was pretty sure I would like them, and I was right! (Photo above: David Hidalgo and Conrad Lozano from Los Lobos)
Los Lobos were fun, and they sounded really good at the outdoor stage, but I didn’t have the time to see all of their show, since I had to run to get the start of the first band at the Saxon. That is usually the story of SXSW – you hear some bands full out, which is between 30 and 40 minutes, or you just hear the start before you have to run to the next venue.
At Saxon, the first band I saw was Chris Berardo with his band The Desberardos. They had a high quality show with some really good songs. Berardo is from new York, but the band’s sound is southern rock with good harmonies and a good touch of 70’s rock. Think early Rod Stewart, as an example. The band’s latest album is Ignoring All The Warning Signs from 2006, but it still sounds great.
Next out was Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros. Walt Wilkins is an Austinite, originally from San Antonio, and he plays regularly at the Saxon. I have never heard them before, and I loved what I heard. He writes some really good songs, and the bands do beautiful harmonies to the songs. I thought The Eagles without private jets and cocaine when I heard them. I will definitely try to see them once more while I am in Austin. I can recommend his latest album, Streetlight.
Chris Hicks was also new to me. He has a trio, himself on vocals and acoustic guitar, bass and drums, and his music is rootsy and really funky southern rock. I am often skeptical to trios, but I never missed another instrument during the concert. Chris Hicks’ credentials are excellent, having played lead guitar for playing lead guitar for Gregg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. He has a great voice too. And his drummer really blew my mind. His latest album, Dog Eat Dog World is from 2000, and sounds just right.
I have never heard Folk Uke before, but I certainly want to see them again. They are two Austin ladies, Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson. Being the daughters of Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson, they have obviously inherited a strong sense of writing great songs. And their songs are something else, too. BJ to the DJ, Motherfucker Got Fucked Up, Shit Makes The Flowers Grow and several others show their great humor, and everything is presented in a deadpan way. On Sweet Talker daddy Willie does a cameo. If you haven’t heard them before, check out their CDs, Starfucker is a good start, but preferably, check them out live! It is a good sign that Kinky Friedman came to The Saxon to check out the ladies.
The last band at The Saxon on Thursday nighty was The Rubilators, another new band top me. They are also from Austin and are a fairly straight rock and roll band, but with highly accomplished musicians who also play in other bands. Since the band startet at 1 AM, I didn’t see their whole set, since I had an early start on Friday. But the band is good and well worth seeing.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.