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Sunday, Mar 22, 2009
Photos: James Edward Crittendon

Alela Diane is starting to generate some buzz for her crystal-clear voice and country-tinged songs. Technical problems got the show off to a slow start, but she and her group recovered quickly to deliver a set clearly influenced by West Coast country and soft rock. Their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” sealed those influences if there were ever any doubt in listener’s minds. Visually, the band gives off a little bit of West Coast hippy vibe, anyway, with several band members looking like they might have stepped out of an early ‘70s incarnation of Neil Young’s band. The harmonies were excellent, well-suited to the dreamy country lope that the band seemed to favor. I’d heard Diane compared to Caitlyn Cary, which doesn’t really fit. Nevertheless, she’s worth keeping an eye on.


 


 


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Sunday, Mar 22, 2009

Southeast Engine are riding some buzz from their really interesting blend of alt-country sounds, religious imagery, and hints of spookiness. For a showcasing band in the coveted midnight spot, Southeast Engine doesn’t completely have the stage presence down yet (although this was probably hampered by the venue’s tight stage confines), and vocalist Adam Remnant goes into this “I’m in a place far away” mode that sometimes recalls Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards. As they offered up songs populated by mysterious women, ghosts, and various temptations and regrets, the band definitely got some speed going by the end of the night.


 


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Saturday, Mar 21, 2009

I suppose dance clubs are the natural home for the Rosebuds now, since their last two albums have fully embraced dance beats and bass-heavy songs. The bottom end-heavy mix at the Parish wasn’t doing them many favors, though, obscuring many of the vocals and nuances of the songs. Still, it’s hard to deny the show’s obvious energy, as a capacity crowd sang along and danced to the band’s set.


 


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Saturday, Mar 21, 2009
Photos: James Edward Crittendon
Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers

Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers


The Six Degrees of Memphis party felt like heaven on Earth simply because it took place in a shaded parking lot with plenty of chairs. That the music was consistently strong was a bonus. Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers offered up some fun, straightforward, slightly bluesy rootsy rock, followed by Cory Branan, who took it upon himself to keep things on schedule. Delivering an overcharged acoustic set (his banter with the soundman concluded with an instruction to leave the buzz in the amps because “I’m not going to be playing any Gordon Lightfoot. Branan was funny, ribald, and aggressive, as if he were reliving the anger in a couple of his songs. John Paul Keith & the 145’s followed with a diverse set of tunes that ranged from blues rave-ups to chickin-pickin’ country to tear-in-your-beer fair to straightforward rock.


Cory Branan

Cory Branan


John Paul Keith & the 145's

John Paul Keith & the 145’s


Throughout the party, bands were exchanging members left and right, so it got hard to tell who belonged in which band and who was just sitting in. Antenna Shoes included Amy LaVere’s guitarist and the bassist and trumpet-player from Snowglobe, as they offered up some very melodic indie rock (the trumpet definitely helped; there’s something about that instrument that makes anything seem epic). Amy LaVere‘s set was short but effective, showcasing one new song and offering up several more from her excellent Anchors and Anvils disc. Lavere’s live show benefits greatly from raucous guitar work, which adds a lot of muscle to her wry songs. Snowglobe finished up the proceedings, playing plenty of older songs and some new ones as well. Snowglobe’s indie rock has a lot of influences, from Beatles-esque pop to Elephant 6-style indie psychedelia to Beach Boys-influenced vocals, so they covered a lot of ground (and as with Antenna Shoes, that trumpet does wonders).


Antenna Shoes

Antenna Shoes


Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere


Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere


Snowglobe

Snowglobe


 


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Saturday, Mar 21, 2009
Photos: James Edward Crittendon

At first glance, there’s nothing so complicated about what the Thermals do. They find a good riff, lock in on it with drums, guitar, and bass, and go right at it. On the other hand, there is sophistication there in the group’s sense of melody and probing lyrics. The Radio Room’s outside tent wasn’t even full when the Thermals started their set, possibly because:


1) The Thermals had played SXSW several times already;


2) This was one of the only showcases at the Radio Room without free food;


3) After two days of nonstop music, 1:15 in the afternoon starts to feel like the crack of dawn.


Whatever the case, it didn’t bother the Thermals, who tore through a set of songs from their strong recent records. Bassist Kathy Foster pogoed and bounced around, and there was a good amount of energy for so “early” in the day.


 


 


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