SXSW Wrap: The Music, Part 2

4-string Precision bass
Image via Wikipedia

For all the amazing music on show at SXSW, Real-world rules apply here, too, though. You’ll run the whole gamut of god-awful bands right up to the life changing ones. And you’ll get about 10 “meh” or “get me out of here” experiences for every 1 “where am I? What is that heavenly sound?” experiences.

But that’s what we’re here for! Below are some more of my”where am I?” bliss outs from this year’s 4-day debacle in the Texas State Capitol.

Denis Jones

I’d missed Denis‘ show at UnConvention Manchester last year but by all accounts it was amazing. Still, the idea of basically a singer/songwriter using loop pedal wizardry wasn’t that appealling. How wrong I was.

Denis has a dazzling array of analog and digital gadgets on stage for his show and it’s more like an art / jazz improv set than a singer/songwriter show – and it’s certainly not some chancer looping a bass line then playing his song over the top of it.

He literally BUILDS the song on stage, sometimes with so many layers, twists and turns you feel he could lose it any time, but he never does – like the best jazz improvisers, the show is a true journey in experimentation with a close eye on melody & narrative. Has to be seen to be believed – thankfully, we have YouTube

The Wrens

I’d heard of The Wrens. The kind of band spoken of in hushed tones, the kind of band who played random shows in random places that when you walked into the venue your friend would nudge you and say “Dude, The Wrens played here”.

I was a little skeptical, being that I was completely unfamiliar with their recorded output, but what a show. They may be in their mid-forties but they played with more energy than many of the wannabes out on 6th St. Bass guitars flung into the crowd, ear-ache performance, blood, sweat and tears. Just what you need, really. I wouldn’t call my impression of the Wrens “hype”, but whatever it was it was wiped away on Friday night.

I’ll wrap up the panels and sessions from SXSW tomorrow for yiz…

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