Southern Rock Opera

SXSW 02 Music Fest Wrap-up


Stubb's, Saturday 16 Just ending up at the Supersuckers show was an accident. Slamm, the San Diego-based music magazine, was hosting a party, and Kevin Salem was scheduled to play. Being a dumb rock critic, I showed up two hours late to see him, but since there was free beer and none at the KVRX show across the street, it made sense to stay put for a while. And really, who didn't stop caring about the Supersuckers five, maybe six years ago? Thus it was a surprise to see the self-proclaimed Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World (a) step on stage not dressed all in black with dark sunglasses and punk rock cowboy hats (they wore plain ol' cowboy hats instead), and (b) not shit-faced drunk. It was even more surprising when Eddie Spaghetti & Co. started playing straight country music. Turns out their week-old release, Must've Been Live, some of which was recorded in Austin, follows up 1997's countrified Must've Been High with more redneck ruckus. And damned if the Supersuckers weren't pretty facile with both country and western. Granted, Lefty Frizzell never sang a song like "Non-Addictive Marijuana," but for a bunch of old farts they sure weren't your father's Supersuckers. Between "Dead In the Water" and "Roadworn and Weary," the Supersuckers managed to sound more like the Bottle Rockets than the Bottle Rockets would at their showcase later that night (although the little ol' band from Festus had unexpectedly gone from a quartet to a trio less than 24 hours previous). It could've been that the party wasn't overly crowded, or maybe the lazy daytime atmosphere, or just that the Supersuckers can pull off pretty good country. In any event, it was the one truism of SXSW at work: the memorable moments from SXSW always come from the things you have no intention of seeing and end up at for reasons you can't explain.

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