Photo by Marisa Aveling
It’s Sunday. The Texas sun has turned me pink, the continuous loop from venue to venue has turned my feet into bricks, and the heaving bulk of SXSW has deconstructed my brain down to a series of half-baked dot points that come to you via a juiced-out iPhone:
Boy And Bear:
The Australian quintet has a collectively thoughtful feel on stage. Lead singer Dave Hosking projects the sincerity of his folk music with eyes-closed earnestness. (Also of note: He’s succumbed to the guitarist’s fate of being forever fingernail-less, but like any true problem solver, he has overcome this with paper and superglue).
These young bloods looked so happy just to have an audience that the quality of their swaying jams acted as an endearing side serving. The frontwoman’s sparkly dress deserves its own mention.
Toro Y Moi:
The bloated hype initially had me pooh-poohing the idea of watching Chaz Bundick perform, but he stepped it up and turned out something overwhelmingly solid. The steadiness of his band’s bass-line grooves held everything together, and I conceded that he in fact is very deserving of all the attention.
The S.F.-based singer moved her band along at an aptly Xanax pace, arching into the slow rolls of her reverb-heavy music. With her black lace dress and disheveled mess of hair, Tamaryn was a dark siren commanding her three fellows (one who approximated a young John Malkovich) to press on at a sprawling half speed.
And finally for some nerd stuff:
TSOP – Celebrating Gamble, Huff And Philadelphia International Records:
This panel, led by moderator Chris Junior as well as singer Akina Adderley and Philly station WXPN’s Bruce Warren, beamed via Skype into the gift shop of Philadelphia International Records that contained sound engineer Joe Tarsia and legendary song-writing duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. 2011 is the 40th anniversary of the seminal record label, and the two masters behind hits by the O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul and many others told stories of their partnership that began in the elevator of the Schubert Building, Philadelphia’s equivalent of the Brill.
The surprising quote of the panel came from Gamble when asked for his advice to people who want to make music a career. “Try to get yourself a job [outside of music],” he said. “Sharpen your skills, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do it full time. You’ve got to deal with reality. It’s not easy.”