Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Music 2013

Happy New Year. Here's my annual rundown of the highlights of the shows I attended in 2013. Being in Northern California for 4 months put a bit of a damper on my live music excursions, but I hope to remedy that by going to some shows in San Francisco in 2014. I'll be back in Austin for good in June. Even with the light show attendance, I did get to see some favorites: Wilco, Okkervil River, The National and, of course, Old 97's. I didn't miss SXSW or ACL, and both those festivals provided the opportunity to take in a range of great acts. I saw legends like Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode and the Cure, too.

At this time of the year, I always like to go back to watch these end of year videos I have been doing since 2008. It reminds me what a lucky girl I have been to have seen so many great artists over the years. If you have some extra time...

Year in Music 2008
Year in Music 2009
Year in Music 2010
Year in Music 2011
Year in Music 2012

I wish you all a wonderfully musical 2014!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

ACL Festival 2013, Sunday

Well, that was a whirlwind. Back in Palo Alto now, finishing up my photos from ACL Fest Sunday.  It was a great time, seeing old friends and great music. I miss Austin a lot, but having fun in CA. Will be back soon.

Kristin Diable

Lionel Richie

The Mowglis

The National

Tame Impala


Divine Fits

The National

Tame Impala

Sunday, October 06, 2013

ACL Festival 2013, Saturday

Saturday was amazing. Haim rocks, so does Dan Croll. The temps started getting cooler when Wilco came on, and it turned into a beautiful evening with The Cure.

Dan Croll



Saturday, October 05, 2013

ACL Festival 2013, Friday

Hi Austin,
I'm back. Excited to be here for ACL Festival. The first day was light, but fantastic. Enjoy a few videos.  I'll brush up the photos a little later. Heading to the park for day 2!

Okkervil River - better than ever.

Arctic Monkeys - I really wanted to record Do I Wanna Know, which I love, but they opened the set with that, as I was running across the park.

Depeche Mode - they basically defined a couple of decades. Amazing show.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Breeders, London Forum, June 19, 2013

Before I left on my trip to Europe, I was excited to hear that the Breeders would be doing their 20th Anniversary of Last Splash show in London while I was there. I got a ticket, which was what I thought was the worst in the house - in the balcony, behind people with seats, by the bar. Turns out, it wasn't so bad. The London Forum is a beautiful old venue. And even their lack of air conditioning couldn't spoil the evening. It was great to see Kim and Kelley rockin' those old songs. I love Cannonball and Divine Hammer. And, I can hardly hear Cannonball without thinking of that skit by The State "I love pants." If you've seen it, you are laughing.

I guess you know you are old when you have gone to your fifth anniversary, front-to-back of a favorite CD. Add this to The Lemonheads' It's a Shame About Ray, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend, The Pixie's Doolittle and Old 97's Too Far to Care (a baby at only 15). But they are all excellent records that mean a lot to me. What's next?


Friday, May 24, 2013

Paul McCartney, Austin, May 23, 2013

It was pretty special when it was announced a few months ago that Paul McCartney would be playing for his first time ever in Austin. The idea that he'd be playing somewhere right in town at a reasonably small venue of 13,000 or so was unbelievable. When the tickets went on sale, a second show was announced, making what seemed like an impossible get, more of a reality for most. So, I was relieved when my ticket purchase went through for the 2nd show. 

I had seen Paul for the first time only a few years ago, during a trip to Boston. I really thought that might be the one and only time I'd get to see any Beatle, let alone getting to see Paul in my hometown. Last night's show was amazing. What a catalog of tunes. He played 38 songs for just over 3 hours. Favorites of mine included Let It Be, Paperback Writer (see below), Blackbird (solo acoustic, atop a riser), lots of Wings tunes and tributes to both John and George. It was hard and soft, even included pyro at times. It's wonderful to see someone so talented celebrating a lifetime of music. You can see the full setlist here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Atlas Genius and Lumineers

I had been in hiding since SXSW when I emerged for two shows at the end of April. Both were my first times trying new venues. First was Atlas Genius at the new Emo's East. The venue is nice, but could use lots more parking. It was a packed, sold out show. They sounded great (much better than my videos indicate) and have lots of good songs. It was the first show of their very first headlining tour. I missed them during SXSW, so was happy to have another chance so soon!

The the next night, I headed out to the Circuit of the Americas Amphitheater to see Lumineers. I tried to see them at ACL Festival, but scheduling them on the small Austin Ventures stage was a mistake. I couldn't get close enough to see, and the best way to hear anything was to move around the back. So, it was great to see them in this new venue south of Austin. It's a nice place with good sound. I liked being on the floor, standing. The drive and parking weren't too bad, but might have not been as easy had my friend not sprung for premium parking. I think it's a nice alternative for larger acts, but I don't think I'll be heading out there much. The show was great. Lumineers sounded wonderful. They even came out to the crowd for a nice little acoustic set at the end, which placed us right next to them. Fun show.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SXSW 2013, Saturday

So, another SXSW is in the books. It was a great one on many levels.. I had a great Saturday night. After seeing the fine film Downloaded, which chronicled the history of Napster in detail, I saw some great acts. I finally caught a Capital Cities set. They are an extremely high energy band. I see the disco trend growing with the kids. Then for a change of pace, I stopped by ACL Live to catch the True Believers reunion. This is a group of Austin legends, including Alejandro Escovedo and Jon Dee Graham, who played together a few decades ago. Big fun.

I decided to close out my night by seeing a couple more local acts, including SPEAK, who seem to be more rockin' than pop these days. They have really matured since the last time I saw them, and I see big things in their future. My last set of the festival was with my buds from Quiet Company, who were great, always a good time. They had a big crowd for the 1am show at Buffalo Billiards.

Lots of people got tickets to special shows. SXSW let badge holders enter multiple lotteries this year for tix for Green Day, Depeche Mode, the Sound City show, Prince and Justin Timberlake, among others. I entered all these drawings and was 0 for 5, giving you a sense of the luck I've had lately. Very frustrating. I am extremely jealous of all who got to see these shows, particularly Sound City, Prince and JT. Those are once in a lifetime events. But I had a great couple weeks. It's going to take some time to come down, process and assimilate all that I have experienced across SXSWEDU, Interactive and Music. Until next year, folks!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SXSW 2013, Friday

Friday was another great day, a chance to see favorites and some new bands. The Convention Center is always a good place to start. I finally got to see Divine Fits, featuring Britt Daniels of Spoon (one of my all-time favorite acts). This is a side project, collaborating with members of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs. It's not a departure from his Spoon stuff, but it just offers some sharing of lead responsibilities. 

Then I traveled to Whole Foods to see Rick Springfield play on their rooftop patio. Yes, you heard that right. It was the Rick Springfield of Jessie's Girl fame, General Hospital's Dr. Noah Drake, who was playing at Whole Foods. You can't make this stuff up. He looked and sounded great in this short acoustic set.

The convention center featured Dawes and Vampire Weekend later in the afternoon. Both put on strong sets. Vampire Weekend has a new album coming out soon.

Leagues is another of those bands I know from Sirius/XM. I really like their song Spotlight.

I had a chance to drop in to see one of my former students at his showcase. Zeale is a talented rapper. Definitely check him out when you have a chance. It's a high energy show, with a DJ and live drummer. Rockin'.

I ended my day seeing Ed Kowalcyzk. Ed was the lead singer of the band Live in the '90s.  Before my current obsession with 2000 bands like Wilco, Spoon and Old 97's, I'd say that after Barenaked Ladies (trust me, they're great. Not as silly as you think when you listen to their catalog) Live was my favorite band of the '90s. I saw them many times when I lived in Ohio, had my one and only crowd surfing experience at their show in Columbus, and loved their albums Mental Jewelry and the big one Throwing Copper. Ed is so talented, and it was great to hear him play old and new songs in this intimate setting.

So, for my last day at SX, I think I will take in a film and then see if I can try to get in to see Prince or Justin Timberlake. Right... We'll see how that goes. At least there's lots of others to see!