The week went by really fast; it’s saturday again, so it’s the last day of SXSW. We were invited by the dudes of Howlin’ Rain to come check their show at the Mohawk that afternoon. It was a free show with a lot of cool bands on the bill, amongst others Bob Mould, The War On Drugs and The Roots. When we walked up to the Mohawk, we already saw a 100 meter queue. People were all in line to see The Roots play, who were scheduled on the outdoor stage of the Mohawk as the closing act. And of course, it was impossible to get in to see Howlin Rain, who were scheduled in the small indoor room. Luckily, we were able to talk ourselves in through the artist entrance with a little help of Cyrus, from Howlin’ Rain. We were in time, and we got to chance to check out Bob Mould (of Hüsker Dü fame) for about 10 minutes. He sounded really strong and had an amazing guitar sound, and his voice was still really good. Still urgent, no old man leaning on former fame here.
Up next was Howlin Rain in the inside room, which was filled with about 100 people, instead of the 150 that it could hold. I tell you, separate entrances is the key, it would make a lot of people very happy. But anyways, we were in, and saw another amazing show by Howlin Rain together with Bob of Belmontbookings, and Robert of Doornroosje/Eurosonic-fame. Their song “Can’t Satisfy Me Now” is a classic to be and this band has so much should, that the Alabama Shakes can shake it whatever they want, the will be nowhere near Howlin Rain. They might be in Europe in september, would love to have them on Incubate.
After the excellent Howlin Rain show, we went out to the outdoor stage and got a spot to see The Roots. I’m not the biggest hiphop fan, but always liked The Roots. They are a bit left of centre, and I like that in hiphop. They had a trombone-player with them on stage, making sure they had enough bass in their sound. Never seen a hiphopper wearing that much bling around his neck as the trombone player.. They played an amazing set with a lot of covers, like Sweet Child O Mine, Jungle Boogie, Immigrant song, Bad To The Bone, some Curtis Mayfield song, and more. They had DJ Jazzy Jeff with them as well. It was an amazing show, really glad I got to see them in such a small setting.
It was time to get some food, and we were invited at the Trail Of Dead house for BBQ, so went to the place, and had excellent diner with the guys from Black Earth, Trail of Dead, Audrey Horne, Enslaved and some other people there. Fajitas BBQ. Amazing. Conrad, the singer of Trail of Dead, plays really good acoustic guitar and it was time for a porch session, so Conrad and some country violin player played a bunch of cool classics. Campfire, porch sessions, BBQ, cold beers, it was a great hang-out.
Although I was really tired, and had an excellent time at the Trail of Dead house, I decided to go into town and see some last bands. Finally got the chance to see William Ellioth Witmore at the Lucero party. Cool traditional banjo music played with punk-spirit. Raw, intense and sincere. Saw punk rock band Bad Sports at the Valhalla. Excellent Ramones-like punk with some Goner records alt pop influences. The last band I wanted to see was The Strange Boys. Been checking them out for the last 3 years here at the festival, and we have them playing at the Incubated showcase next april 5th in Tilburg. They released a new, more piano driven record, which I quite like, although I prefer the older, more guitar orientated stuff. I arrived at the Mohawk, where White Fence was playing. I like their old, more psychedelic stuff, but this was straight forward garage rock. Ok, but nothing special. The Strange Boys show was ok, but not really excellent. They looked tired and were not that inspired. Guess a week of SXSW wore them out as well. It was a good way to end the festival, and more people thought of it that way, because we had a small Dutch reunion there with people from Groningen, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Delft, Amsterdam and Tilburg. Great hang-out, especially since they were playing awesome Yacht Rock tunes before and after the bands. Guess Michael McDonald ‘s “I Keep Forgetting” is a good way to end this years SXSW. It was amazing, once more. Hope to be back next year!
Photo: The Strange Boys at 013, photo by Herman Stehouwer