Mike Scott & Steve Wickham, Billy Bragg

SXSW showcase reviews

Mike Scott
Mike Scott (by Jana Birchum)

Mike Scott & Steve Wickham, Billy Bragg

St. David's Historic Sanctuary, Wednesday, March 13

A 20-minute delay at the outset seemed inconsequential when compared to the wait local Waterboys fans had to endure for an appearance by Mike Scott. The Scotsman's hourlong performance began with him cheerfully reading episodes from his recent memoir, Adventures of a Waterboy: sharing a story of his youth in a battle of the bands; a time in a Chicago church visited by the Holy Spirit; and his first meeting with Steve Wickham. The fiddler then appeared for a brief, yet thrill-filled set of tunes that led with "Savage Earth Heart" and ended with an extended, lustful, and dynamic reading of "The Pan Within." Billy Bragg followed with a typically energized set, mixing his recently discovered love for crooning and he-just-can't-help-it liberal politics. As a smooth balladeer, the Englishman comes across less convincing than Nick Lowe on tunes from his new Tooth & Nail, but his politics remain convincing with tunes from Woody Guthrie ("I Ain't Got No Home") and Bob Dylan ("The Times They Are a-Changin'"), along with a reworking of his own "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward," with new mentions of the Occupy movement and Pussy Riot.

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