Southern Rock Opera

SXSW 02 Music Fest Wrap-up

Patty Griffin

Jovita's, Friday 15 To hear total silence fall over any crowd during SXSW is unusual at the very least and amazing at best. To hush a packed room during a free day show where people are eating is downright spectacular. Patty Griffin is one of those artists who commands that kind of attention, and when the petite Austinite took the stage in a lacey black dress with long black leather arm bands and an acoustic guitar she had every eye and ear in the joint. Backed by accordion/ keyboards, cello, and a guitarist, Griffin started out with a few tunes off her upcoming album, guaranteeing that at least everyone here would be buying a copy. "Chief" was a highlight, an intense narrative sung as only Griffin can with a series of short and effective mandolin breakdowns. Then she tore into "Flaming Red," the raucous and rocking title track off her last album. Take away the drums and the electric guitars and this song is even more urgent, more convincing. Turns through her "Mad Mission" and Springsteen's "Stolen Car" floored everyone. It was a lovefest, sure enough, and Griffin was as gracious and appreciative of the attention as everyone there was grateful for the show. If this show was any indication, ATO Records made the smartest move possible in picking up Griffin's next album.

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