We tried to cover as much ground as possible in the four jam-packed days of the SXSW music fest, but let’s face it – you need twelve ears, six arms and zero hours of sleep to even break the surface of all that was worth reporting on in this marathon of musical mayhem. Here are some of the shows we saw that we didn’t have time to cover in-depth – all artists worth checking out on record, or if you’re lucky enough, in person.
Eddie Spaghetti @ The Red Eyed Fly: If you haven’t ever experienced the badassedness of the Supersuckers’ silly brand of 90’s American rock and garage punk, you probably would have passed right over this show by the band’s bassist and longtime front man, Eddie Spaghetti. With a full pit of beer-guzzling fans to cheer them on, Spaghetti and his band picked out songs from his new record “Sundowner,” including spirited covers of Dean Martin songs, obscure AC/DC tunes, and even the Dwarves hit, “Everybody’s Girl.” Spaghetti is beyond charismatic – in a cowboy hat with a handlebar mustache, he crooned his cow punk tunes, imploring the audience to throw up the devils horns after every song, to the cue of a spirited, “Cha Cha Cha!” Who were we to disobey?
Noah And The Whale at Stubb’s: The well-mannered chaps from London played twice at SXSW, and we caught them at Stubb’s, in a showcase with Portugal. The Man and TV on the Radio. The quintet, named after a not-so-subtle combination of film, “The Squid and the Whale,” and its director, is on tour to promote “Last Night On Earth,” their latest album of gushingly cinematic indie pop numbers. The band pulls off their folky compositions with a delightful energy, the band providing a lively backdrop for bandleader Charlie Fink’s stoic, Tom Petty-style narration and deadpan delivery. Extra credit for having two band members rocking the best curly pompadours since Lyle Lovett.
Andreya Triana @ The British Embassy (Latitude 30): We caught the tail end of Andreys Triana’s soulful set at The British Embassy (Latitude 30) “British Music Launch Event,” and just three songs was enough to win us over. With a silky voice and calming aura that called up India Arie, Triana belted and bluesed out tracks from her debut album, “Lost Where I Belong,” released this past September. To end her night onstage, Triana hopped down into the audience, microphone and all, to deliver an intimate cover of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” her glorious voice and a single electric guitar leading the chorus to a song so infectious, mimes must sing along. Down on the floor with the people, all of us singing and clapping, the club felt like a house party – an organic setting befitting the earthy singer who we’re sure to hear more from in the future.
Sharon Van Etten @ The IFC Crossroads House: Sharon Van Etten played in our own IFC backyard, and was another one of the quiet surprises of the festival. A little lady, with a big red guitar and a bigger attitude, Van Etten dug into songs from her sophomore LP, “Epic,” full of heartwrenching tunes like the pleading “Don’t Do It,” in which she begrudgingly acquiesces, “If you want to do it, you are going to do it.” Her husky voice lost its whisper and gained strength as her set plunged forward, the effects of an earlier Merge showcase receding as her pipes began to warm up. Van Etten’s stage demeanor is shy, her sense of humor, coy and endearing. “One day I’ll have a spinning bow tie and I’ll be a lot more entertaining,” she said before launching into a song called “One Day.” Forget the squirting flower, Miss Van Etten, we’ll take you as you are.