Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More on SXSW, including Mojo Nixon

Another couple of attempts to crack through the downtown circles of hell convinced me it was in my best interest to retreat to South Austin for the rest of the event. The decision was immediately rewarded on Friday with a succession of great shows up and down South Congress. The parties stretched up and down the avenue -- the Continental Club, the backyards at the San Jose Hotel, Guerros, and the Triumph among other places. Highlights included eating crawfish at the back of the Continental before hearing a great set from Susan Cowsill's band followed by an even greater set from my pick hit of this year's fest, the Hobart Brothers. This is a band consisting of Cowsill, Jon Dee Graham and Freedy Johnston. They sound like they've been playing together forever, and they rocked really hard. Johnston and Cowsill are great ensemble singers, and Graham is a one-of-a-kind frontman. The three of them worked magic together with Cowsill in particular shining through. Her remarkable voice can be one of the great female instruments in rock history when she's in the right setting, and she was supremely confident in this context. Cowsill is something of a late bloomer but continues to bring her flamethrowing talent up to another level. This is a perfect vehicle for her. South Congress rocked nonstop that day. While the Hobarts were finishing up at the Continental the North Mississippi All Stars were smoking across the street at San Jose and the Waco Brothers were rocking the back alley at Yard Dog. The greatest moment was yet to come however,
when the Alejandro Escovedo Orchetra played to an absolutely jam packed audience at San Jose.
Saturday brought Mojo Nixon day to the Continental Club, a riotous frenzy beginning with the Allen Oldies Band and featuring great sets from Sarah Petite, the Stone River Boys and Jon Dee Graham before the ridiculous finale of Mojo-Oke, in which Mojo brought up members of the audience to try their hand at some of his more infamous compositions. The concept was fraught with peril, but turned into a wild romp with some truly impressive performances that proved Mojo Is Everyboby, Mojo Is Everywhere!

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