Sleeping Is Important
Geezerville looks back
By Jim Caligiuri,
12:38PM, Wed. Mar. 25, 2009
Another South by Southwest has flown by and now Geezerville is experiencing its annual post-event depression. I keep thinking, "I need to get out of the house!" Here are some highlights.
First, it has nothing to do with SXSW, but big news came out in the middle of it. If you haven’t read Joe Gracey’s latest post over at Graceyland, check it out and be prepared to shed tears of joy. The band I saw the most was Minneapolis’ Romantica. I know, a horrible name that makes them sound like some sort of techno act. In reality, they’re a fourpiece led by Irishman Ben Kyle with a brand of lush Americana that modulates between Lloyd Cole and Ryan Adams. Carrie Rodriguez joined them for a song during the Twangfest party on Saturday and they’ll be touring with her this spring.
The scene in the parking lot of the San Jose Hotel on Friday night was astounding. Alejandro Escovedo, who had a full orchestra with horns and backing singers, managed to get the crowd that spilled onto South Congress to stop talking for a few minutes. His older songs still ring truest, especially with the orchestral arrangements, but for me it was the top event of the weekend.
Don’t know the real story at Auditorium Shores on Saturday night. Got there a little early to see some of Explosions in the Sky (with fireworks!) and ran into some silliness with Erykah Badu. Her band, the Cannabinoids, was on stage without her, all DJs and someone fingering a keyboard, laying out a tentative, repetitive groove. When they stopped, they announced a break, saying Badu had run into some travel problems and they would return shortly. This meant quite a few people headed to the exit thinking she wasn’t showing. I headed out because it was already past the time Explosions was scheduled to play and I had another band to see. Not ten minutes later, while stuck in a jam trying to get out, Badu appears onstage, much to the consternation of those around me. I didn’t stick around to find out what the deal was but the New York Times' Jon Pareles did and I’m glad I left.
Ended the week, as is my tradition, at the Bloodshot Records showcase at Red Eyed Fly. The Deadstring Brothers continue to be my favorite band on the Chicago label’s roster. There’s been some major changes with the Detroit band. Vocalist Masha Marjieh has departed and her expressive yelp has been replaced by two women, who give the band more of a Lynyrd Skynyrd look onstage. Still, the Brothers combination of Stones-y riff rock and country twang remains, hitting the sweet spot in this aging rocker’s heart.