AUSTIN, Texas -- I started Saturday watching The Krayolas at Maria’s Taco Express at Noon and ended hearing Peter Case and Paul Collins tear it up -- even with a bad sound mix -- at about 1 a.m.
In between, I heard blues, folk, garage rock, power pop, thrash metal, hip-hop and country. That is South By Southwest in a nutshell. Too much music, too little time and too much fun.
The 26th SXSW Music Conference wrapped up Saturday night and my running buddies Billy Altman and Charles McCardell and I headed out for our annual conference ending meal at the Magnolia Cafe after the Case/Collins show.
Figuring that anything I wrote at 5 a.m. after five days and nights of music would be even more incoherent than usual, so I held off on the blog with the brilliant idea that I’d put it up during my hour layover in Dallas coming home. That plan failed. So a day late filed from Lincoln, here are my impressions from Saturday.
The Krayolas win the sharpest dressed band award, hands down. The San Antonio quartet turned up in new Nudie-style suits decorated with illustrations of their songs, like “Eight Heads in a Bag,” a soldier from “Americano” and their album covers. They also brought the rock ‘n’ roll to kick off Alejandro Escovedo’s Maria’s party.
Also impressing there was Austin vet Bill Carter, who brought the 70s/80s sound accompanied by Charlie Sexton, who now plays guitar with Bob Dylan and the great steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar.
The Standells, yes, those Standells, have a new record coming out and they did a few songs from it during their Buffalo Billiards set. But the fun came with the garage nuggets “Riot on Sunset Strip,’ “Good Guys Don’t Wear White” and the classic “Dirty Water.”
I also dug Cotton Mather, an 80s Austin power pop outfit that regrouped from around the world for their SXSW show, promoting the release, decades later, of their best album, “Kontiki.”
But the set of the day for me came from Shannon McNally, a Mississippi singer-songwriter who’s kind of a cross between Bobby Gentry and Lucinda Williams. Her songs are gritty and heartfelt and, man, can she sing.
I’ll have an SXSW wrap-up in the next day or two after I get some sleep. Which is coming now.