Antone's, Thursday, March 15"50 years," intoned Isaac Hayes, resplendent in crimson as he stood center stage at Antone's before the hotly anticipated Stax Revue. "We're gonna give you a taste of Stax soul. Can you dig it?" Behind him was heaven's own house band, the venerable Booker T & the MGs. Booker T sat behind the Hammond, flanked by Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, guitarist Steve Cropper, and drummer Steve Potts, a cousin of original MG drummer Al Jackson. Hayes slipped offstage as the famous organ swell rose, and the MGs kicked in, a reminder of the power of instrumental music. By the time they got to "Hip Hug Her" and "Green Onions," their sampler of badass hits was rolling like beads of sweat from Cropper's brow. After 45 minutes, William Bell, in broad pinstripes and glossy spectators, took the stage for three songs, including his hit "Private Number." Eddie Floyd followed, demonstrating not only the voice that made "Knock on Wood" so famous but his estimable songwriting on "634-5789." The MGs soloed again for Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and were joined by Isaac Hayes for the second verse and Floyd and Bell for the rest of the song. Guess ol' Chef didn't feel like crooning "Shaft" though, as Bell finished the set with Redding's incendiary "I Can't Turn You Loose." Austin during SXSW 07 may be known for its cutting edge acts, but on this night, Fifth Street might as well have been McLemore Avenue in 1963 Memphis. Dig it.
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