Sunday, October 21, 2007

Live music is alive and well in Austin, Texas

We're supposed to be the "Live Music Capital of the World," or so the ad people would have you believe. But occasionally you have to venture out and find out for yourself.

Several years ago, I ventured out to SXSW. Since I'm a local, I rarely do this -- it's almost not worth the hassle to battle the traffic, the parking, and the crowds to see a given band for a 45-minute set. Most bands will be back for a nice long set sometime, and I'd rather see that. But Steamboat (a local club) was doing a "Texas favorites" showcase, so I thought I'd check it out. The 1am show was Sixpence None the Richer, who I'm well acquainted with (their former bass player is now the music director at my church, and I've been a fan of theirs for years anyway), and the 9pm show was Ginger Mackenzie, who I'd been wanting to see for quite a while. I figured I could sit through whatever happened to be in between.

The surprise of the evening was one of the best live shows I've ever seen, and I do love live music... by which I mean I've seen hundreds of live shows. I'd put these guys as tied for the best live show I've ever seen. They're actually from NYC, so their placement in the showcase was a mystery to me, but the show blew me away. I've been a fan ever since. You can check out their sound here: or here:
They're very jazzy rock -- Gabe plays keys, and the other guys are upright bass and drums (when I saw them they also had a sax).

Anyway, they were opening tonight for a couple of other guys, Matt Wertz and Dave Barnes, neither of whom I'd ever heard of. I was so excited -- I hadn't seen them since the SXSW show, which was probably in 2001 or 2002 or something. Since I'm on a bit of a budget since my layoff, my dear friend Heather bought my ticket (thanks again, Heather!).

Doors at 8, show at 9... we arrived at 8:30 to find that the Gabe Dixon Band had already played. Whaaa? It seems we were misinformed; doors were at 7, show was at 8. Oh, the heartache! Gabe and his drummer played the entire set with the other two guys, so we did get to see them, but still, it was disappointing.

However, seeing Matt and Dave was fantastic. They're apparently best friends who decided to go on tour together. They backed each other up -- no real "headliner" to this show -- and had a great time bantering with each other and the audience. Both guys have great voices and a real rapport with the crowd, and both were real easy on the eyes. I'd have to confess a slight preference for Dave in general since I have a weakness for a soulful voice and a 300-watt smile, but maybe that's just me. Here are their pages so you can hear their music:

They'll be on tour for quite a while, and their show is a lot of fun. I highly recommend them, even though I was WAY over median age in the crowd (lots of young 20s girls).

Their harmonies are just beautiful... a lot like some other band BooMama has been talking about recently... now, who could that be? ;-)


Mommy said...

You and the bands...I'm gonna start calling you a groupie!

heather said...

I love Dave Barnes. Love. Hear me say the words. Love him. And that smile. And, of course, his wife.