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Monday, March 23, 2009

SXSW - Day 4
Erykah Badu, Beach House, Jason Lytle, Vetiver, Asa Ransom, Bad Credit No Credit

-Jason Lytle

Saturday was the last and most bizarre day of SXSW for me. I started the day at Waterloo Park for the Mess With Texas party. Things started really mellow and relaxed, sitting under the trees for San Francisco band Vetiver and then former Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle. With a full band, Lytle debuted three tracks from his forthcoming solo debut Yours Truly, the Commuter. Each track was beautiful and well-rounded live and in fact, they sound like new Grandaddy songs. The small crowd seemed to consist of die hard fans, whose minds were blown when he closed the set with "Jed the Humanoid", a classic Grandaddy track from their breakthrough album The Sophtware Slump. When fans chanted "One More Song!", Lytle simply replied, "Tell it to the birds." He may be a bit jaded, but his talent remains.

-Beach House

Later I walked across the river to Auditorium Shores and caught a lovely set by Beach House. Their music really works well in an outdoor setting, especially with the Austin skyline lingering in the background. This environment was far more enjoyable than the packed and sweaty house at Red 7 days earlier.

But the real reason I made the trek across the river was to see Erykah Badu with the Cannabanoids, a band consisting of live dj's, synths, and electronics. These dudes clearly have the skills, but they were forced to play a rather repetitive set over and over since Badu was running really, really late. The huge crowd grew increasingly agitated with the delay and then suddenly the music stopped. A voice came over the P.A. stating that she had travel issues. And that was that. It seemed over. The stunned masses started to wander around in confusion and then, without any warning at all, she was onstage. People freaked out. But the sound seemed to be mixed really low and she only played two songs. And though her talent was fully embodied within this pair of tracks, it seemed cruel to cut her off that quickly. I really regret wasting hours at this event, as it really put the rest of my night in a funk.

-Erykah Badu

After the debacle at Auditorium Shores I decided to hail a cab and go way north to the Carousel Lounge where some friends of mine were playing. Asa Ransom are a five-piece from Bushwick and let me tell you, they put on a great show. The band rifled through an all too brief four track set, challenging the room to a post-funk dance party. They really whipped the quiet venue into a sweaty, dizzy disco-punk frenzy. These guys are in the middle of a U.S. tour. Catch them if they come to town! You can also find their new album on iTunes.

-Bad Credit No Credit

Bad Credit No Credit also hail from Bushwick. Led by Carrie-Anne Murphy (vocals, sax, flute, & more), this eclectic group utilize more instruments onstage than you can possibly imagine. Added to the pot are clarinet, keyboards, bass, trumpet, euphonium, drums, percussion and kazoos. I'm sure I missed a few too! This all may sound like an everything but the kitchen sink situation, but this punk/marching band pulls it off. Murphy's theatrical voice recalls the high drama of Diamanda Galas and her stage presence has the wild and wacky individualism of early Cyndi Lauper. The debut ep Hey, Rube! is available now.

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