Day Party Crawl
Mother Egan's, Wednesday, March 16
"Guitartown" is the name of an online discussion group that was originally formed as a way for residents of North Carolina interested in alt.country and other types of roots music to connect. The past few years the group, led by current Austin resident and former Tar Heel Deb Williams, has put together this party as way for members to gather and kick off SXSW with some of their favorite bands. The event has now gained enough of a reputation that people from all parts of the world show up, and this year it even gained a co-sponsor, the L.A.-based publicity firm Conqueroo, headed by Cary Baker. The cold and wind seemed to have a minimal effect on attendance this year, and bands seemed as happy as ever to be playing to an appreciative crowd. Austin's Jeff Klein showed off some new tunes from his upcoming album that showed a different side to his dark vision. Columbus, Ohio's Two Cow Garage let go three extremely loud blasts of punk twang, including a take of Neil Young's "Vampire Blues" that found them channeling Black Flag. North Carolina legend Chris Stamey delighted with some new songs that retained his trademark jangle and pop harmonies. Central Texas fave Jon Dee Graham performed the longest set of the afternoon, not that anyone was complaining. Long time roots rockers the Silos didn't disappoint, either. Their loud and jamming version of Jonathan Richman's "I'm Straight" was the high point in a set that was gutsy and energetic.