Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players

Music Showcase

SXSW Live Shot
Photo By Gary Miller

Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players

La Zona Rosa, Friday, March 14 The smoky, cavernous environs of La Zona Rosa are hardly the optimal venue for a family slide show, but this was no ordinary family slide show. The Trachtenburg family, guitarist/keyboardist/dad Jason, projectionist/mom Tina, and 9-year-old drummer/daughter Rachel, goes around buying old slides at estate sales and thrift stores. Then they put the slides together in a random narrative and write songs about them. Sure it's a schtick, but you'd have to be pretty darn curmudgeonly not to appreciate the zany, carefree nature of the concept. Because of a recent Conan O'Brien appearance, the family packed the house, and a film crew was shooting their set for a documentary. Despite the overwhelming swarm of activity and a poor sound mix, Jason and Rachel soldiered through haltingly but enthusiastically as mom ran the slides. Highlights included "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959," in which a bucolic visit to the Land of the Rising Sun morphs into a tale about public execution, and "Look at Me," which chronicles the photogenic carousing of two retired military nurses from Seattle named Kathy and Jean. The latter wins bonus points for rhyming "drunk uncle" with "Garfunkel." Jason had the wild-eyed goofball intensity of a Montessori school music teacher who lets the kids sing songs about boogers, while Rachel did her level best to hold things down with strategic rim-shots and harmony vocals. You haven't really lived until you hear a 9-year-old girl drummer say, "I need more vocals in the monitors." The Trachtenburgs closed with a six-song "rock opera" based on slides from a McDonald's marketing seminar from the Seventies that revealed business-speak for the joke it really is without fundamentally altering the content. Between the Trachtenburg Family and Charles Phoenix's found-slide book, God Bless Americana, the privately inclined among us may want to seriously consider burning their photos prior to death, lest they wind up grist for a riotous show like this.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Saturday Showcases
Saturday Showcases

March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle