Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley is pure magic. I raced directly to Stubb’s from the airport, cracked my first Lone Star and melted in his charms. How amazing to see someone, recently homeless, find such success. The very talented 7 piece band were oddly but completely white.

Mercury Rev

I was skeptical but Mercury Rev delivered one of the highlights of the weekend. The 1am set included “Holes” from 1998’s Deserter’s Songs and “The Dark is Rising” from 2001’s All is Dream.

Mercury Rev

Many Shiner Bocks later, transported back in time 18 years, I danced what must have been a hideous display. The band will be at The Castro Theater on May 2nd playing the soundtrack to the film “Vampyr”. They have a new record out, The Light in You, that is getting rave reviews.

PMS & the Mood Swings

PMS & the Mood Swings includes former members of Habibi – greasier but still charming.

Mike Watt

Mike Watt’s set was a treasure trove of Minutemen classics with wild keyboard riffs filling in for the tremendous guitar work of the late, great, holy one, d. boon (RIP!). It worked beautifully. Even if the room is not called Emo’s anymore it is still haunted by my memory of standing there in 2010 as news broke that Alex Chilton had died. A lot of ghosts in that room.

Shannon & the Clams

Shannon & the Clams played an insane bill at Cheer Up Charlies with TacocaT, La Luz and the irreproachable Protomartyr. Our sweet clams are real-deal rock stars now. Oakland should name a street after them. The $15 bottles of champagne turned out to be just the right fuel.

12 string bass

And just when you think you have seen it all, there it is, a 12 string bass.

Dumptruck

d is for Dumptruck was the best record of 1983. The band still sounds great and new recordings are in the works. Maria’s Taco X-press always hits the spot.

Nap Eyes

Nap Eyes are from Halifax and put on a sweet little show at End of an Ear, one of the world’s best record stores. I picked up a copy of Senegal 70 and my life is better now.

Lie

This band was pretty good but why put the accent on the e in Lie? They kicked off a stellar backyard, line-up put together by Monofonus Press that included Spray Paint and Protomartyr.

Spray Paint

Spray Paint got on stage, smoked some weed and shredded through a great set. Protomartyr’s Joe Casey sat nearby taking it all in.

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Amsterdam’s Eerie Wanda could be Jacco Gardner’s sister. 60s psychedelic soundz.

La Luz

Seattle’s La Luz always deliver tasty psychedelic surf.

Blind Shake

The Blind Shake move too fast to capture on film. Simply incredible. The band somehow managed to play a show at Beerland and still play an on-time set at Vegas an hour later, thereby winning the bet and free RC Cola for all band members.

Bombino

Bombino is touring relentlessly, bringing his unique blend of the traditional droney music of Niger and the guitar wizardry of Jimi Hendrix. Check it out April 22nd at The New Parish!

Peelander Z

Another first! Peelander Yellow climbed a tall tree at Mohawk and played guitar balanced in the branches. Eventually he jumped down and knocked over a few fans who appeared unharmed and perhaps even honored.

Peelander surf

Peelander Z also inspired more crowd surfing than any other show of the weekend.

A Giant Dog

Trailer Space Records, gone but not forgotten!

A Giant Dog

A Giant Dog put on one of the best shows of the year. Armed with a life size Donald Trump Pinata, the singer grabbed it’s groin and tossed it into the crowd. Fans tore the fucker up! Trump’s head was returned to the stage for yet more torture. By the end of the show the head hung on the wall next to a beer sign.

Trump

Bleached

Braving the nightmare that was the Pandora “Discovery Den”, we heard a decent set from Bleached.

Hinds

Then Spain’s Hinds made it all worthwhile. They are rapidly gaining the attention they deserve.

Protomartyr

Perhaps my greatest accomplishment this year was catching 3 Protomartyr shows. So so good.

Gooch Palms

Gooch Palms got nearly naked in Vegas!

Jon Langford

It wouldn’t be SXSW without one Jon Langford show. Here he is at Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Jon played one from his Sadies collaboration Mayors of the Moon. The Sadies play June 8th at The Great American Music Hall. Don’t miss ’em!