SXSW 2015: Friday and Saturday Recap with the Church, Juliana Hatfield, the Zombies and More

Mar 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

Page 2 of 2

Thee Oh Sees at the Mohawk - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Thee Oh Sees at the Mohawk

The rain continued on Saturday and may have contributed to a late start by another trailblazer, Thee Oh Sees, who still managed to whip the House of Vans party at the Mohawk into a drenched mosh pit, via two drummers and venomous guitar and vocals from John Dwyer. "Who is smoking a fucking cigar?" he seethed. "Makes me want to vomit!" But he and the crowd were having too much fun to puke.

Rubblebucket at Empire Garage - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Rubblebucket at Empire Garage
Palma Violets at Empire Garage - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Palma Violets at Empire Garage

Other Saturday party highlights included Rubblebucket, who brought the confetti and balloon art-disco party to Empire Garage, and the Palma Violets, who brought the Clash-esque (at their best) to the same location.

The McCrary Sisters at Threadgill's - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
The McCrary Sisters at Threadgill's

Just half a mile away Nashville gospel legends the Fairfield Four and the McCrary Sisters (who have an excellent new album produced by Buddy Miller) revived the spirits of the sextuagenarians (present company nearly included) seeking shelter from the storms at Threadgill's. To hear the onetime Dylan soulmate Regina McCrary and her sisters take on Gillian Welch's "By the Mark" and the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" was to hear the eloquence of those songs as I've never heard it before.

Honeyblood at Latitude 30 - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Honeyblood at Latitude 30

And then the end: Saturday night I checked in on the progress of one of last year's best discoveries: Honeyblood from Glasgow is gaining some confidence (but there's more of that to come I hope) and some welcome, raspy anger in singer Stina Tweeddale's voice.

Ultimate Painting at Latitude 30 - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Ultimate Painting at Latitude 30

Also on stage at the British Music showcase, the awkwardly named Ultimate Painting (Penultimate Sketch woulda been more clever, but I was not consulted), led by James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (Mazes), played a satisfying set of gently drummed psych, with effortless harmonies and pedal-less guitars linking up in melodic spirals and supporting at least one excellent song, "Talking Central Park Blues," a silver-tongued stream-of-insights that would make Courtney Barnett, if not Woody Guthrie, proud.

Hinds at Latitude 30 - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Hinds at Latitude 30

The same cannot be said of buzz band Hinds, four women from Madrid (formerly called Deers), who may have understandably caught the eye of Carl Barât and Robert Rodriguez (both in attendance) but who are ill-advised to caterwaul their way through Billy Childish's "Davey Crockett" or anything else. I'd rather be locked in a Taco Cabana john listening to the Church drone on about beheadings than spend five minutes with this cynical, tuneless girl-group ploy.

Happyness at Latitude 30 - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
Happyness at Latitude 30

Happyness closed out my stay at the British Music showcase, and I'm glad for that, as they shifted between crunchy jams and jazzy sway and even dude-smooched sweetly on stage. The songs didn't speak to me, but the presence somehow did.

John Trudell at St. David's - Dana Plonka
Dana Plonka
John Trudell at St. David's

Some might call John Trudell the Santee-Sioux Leonard Cohen; they would not be wrong. At St. David's Episcopal Church he spoke deeply and directly of matters of the heart and mind, of ancestors and unanswerable but necessary questions, the words spilling out with gravitas, danger and zero histrionics. His band Bad Dog spoke with a dual guitar and electronic-beat fluency; an elder chanted in the spaces between words and sounds.

When Trudell finished, the congregation stood and applauded for three minutes before an impromptu procession of hand drums filled the aisles. A group embrace, involving everyone in the church, formed as naturally as a mosh pit. Save the chanting of an elder, it was an eloquence that needed no words, an ideal ending to a SXSW that was what it was.


The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever "Where Did My Dick Go?" The Gathering of the Juggalos' Best Overheard Quotations I Pissed Off Megadeth This Week, My (Former) Favorite Band The Top Ten Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender at a Music Venue