SXSW Night 2; March 18, 2010; Austin, TX
These five days in Austin are like no other music event I’ve been to. The official SXSW events are organized, all of them listed in an overwhelming day by day schedule on the website, but the day parties and events are not. You have to scan massive lists to figure out who and what you need to do. In the case of those musicians that I really need to see, I go to their websites to figure out everywhere they are going to be. Ian Moore is one of those musicians. I hadn’t seen him since last year’s craziness when I only caught part of his short set at a day party. He was only playing twice this year, the last band on tonight’s showcase at the venerable Continental Club and a Batter Blaster day party. While I enjoyed the intriguing organic pancake mix in a can that I encountered for the first time last year, that party was another thirteen blocks south of the Continental Club which was already nineteen blocks south of our hotel. Never mind the fact that it was in the middle of the Bloodshot party which I had already committed to.
I didn’t have a back-up plan for tonight, so I probably should have gotten an earlier start getting down there, but Nan from Bloodshot has told me to drop her name at the back door if I couldn’t get the front. It wasn’t a guarantee but I was going to try it if I had to. Luckily they were still letting you pay cash at the door, and continued to do so for another couple hours. It was over four hours till Ian was scheduled to play, but fortunately this was a bill that made sense and everyone that I saw tonight was entertaining. The band on stage when I got there was the Stone Creek Boys. There was something vaguely familiar about their gangly lead singer with impeccable maraca rhythm, but I didn’t figure out till a few days later that he was from the long- gone Hollisters, a band I’d seen several times on a bill with Jack Ingram. Next up was James Intveld, a handsome fellow with a nice voice. This being SXSW, half his band was caught up somewhere else when they were scheduled to start. His set lacked oomph until they got there, but once they did, it turned into a real rock show.
I didn’t have high hopes for the duo of a muscle-bound blond in the black shirt with gold metallic decoration and his intense, undershirt-wearing black drummer as they were setting up. I should have known better. Cedric Burnside and Lightin’ Malcolm hail from Mississippi and are appropriately known as the two man wrecking crew. And well, once I heard that the drummer was the grandson of blues great RL Burnside and that they seldom get north of the Mason Dixon line I realized what a treat it was to see them. They are apparently favorite sons of the Continental Club and on several occasions some of the club’s waitresses would jump on stage with the band for an impromptu dance. They were followed by the always-entertaining Gourds (who someday I have to thank for introducing me the Jon Dee Graham). Their multiple vocalist and fiddle/mandolin/guitar attack make them one of the most dependable bands in Austin.
It was late and I was probably pretty drunk (using my brother Stephen’s birthday as an excuse to party myself) by the time Ian Moore started, but I couldn’t be happier to see him. He was fronting a trio which also included Matt Harris and a drummer I hadn’t seen before. I was a little bummed that the adorable and talented multi-instrumentalist Kullen Fuchs, who has been with Ian every time I’ve seen him, was no where to be seen. With Kullen he tends more toward the material from the quietly gorgeous Luminaria, while with the rock band (like tonight) it’s more about 2008’s To Be Loved and the songs from his yet-untitled with no release date new record. I missed the mellower stuff, but Ian can rock with the best of them and the new songs were absolutely killer. Toward the end, Kullen joined him to play trumpet and lend some backing vocals (yay!). Another long, but ultimately rewarding night in Austin. I wish I would have been able to see Ian again during SXSW, but at least this show will keep me going till the new record comes out. I haven’t been able to convince him to come back to the house yet, but he promised to come somewhere nearby, and I will be there.
Cedric Burnside & Lightin' Malcolm