SXSW 2013: Wednesday Highlights

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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Nikki Lane turned in a fine early afternoon performance at Billy Reid’s annual day party on Wednesday at Weather Up on Austin’s east side. This year, the American Songwriter-partner event took over the cocktail house and outdoor stage, with food provided by Bravas Tapas and Austin sausage purveyor Frank, and records courtesy of Third Man’s rolling store. Lane played mostly new material from a forthcoming album co-produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Lane recently joined Auerbach at the much-lauded Cowboy Jack Clement tribute in Nashville for a duet of the Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner classic “Just Someone I Used To Know.” Auerbach was nowhere in sight at Wednesday’s show, but the Garden & Gun April/May cover girl, sporting jet-black hair and white jeans, worked through vibey new country-rock tunes like “Right Time,” about trying to crash a white trash country club. “We’re strolling into your daddy’s country club / That valet left that Shelby motor running,” she sang. “It’s always the right time to do the wrong thing.”

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Promised Land
, one of Nashville’s best new garage-country outfits, set up in front of Third Man’s rolling record truck for a short set in between acts on the adjacent main stage at Billy Reid’s Wednesday party. The band released a scruffy and lovable digital EP Stoned Eagle in late 2012 and is working on a full-length follow-up for the spring to be released on North Carolina’s Paradise of Bachelors label (Hiss Golden Messenger, Steve Gunn). The group opened the set with a new tune called “Florida Soul,” and alternated between swampy country a la Credence to Steve Cropper-inspired Stax licks, hitting high notes on sing-alongs like “Yes You Can.” With just guitar, bass, Rhodes piano, snare and hi-hat, the band showed just the right approach to playing ragged and buoyant blues.

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Fast-rising Seattle sextet Hey Marseilles crammed onto the small stage at Gibson’s annual Ramble at the guitar company’s showroom on South Congress in Austin. Recovering from a recent throat injury, lead singer Matt Bishop seemed in good spirits, taking the band from finely orchestrated chamber-pop to thrashing electric crescendos. The band’s horn and string arrangements are reminiscent of world folk troubadour Zach Condon of Beirut, and it’s not hard to see Hey Marseilles following in the footsteps of Beirut’s international success. The band’s recent album Lines We Trace could be the quirky soundtrack to a Wes Anderson sea adventure, complete with a wintry Pacific-Northwest homeland, ships setting sail, and maps (literal and metaphoric). Following local Austin hometown heroes Mike and the Moonpies (who turned in a top-notch set of Texas honky tonk), Hey Marseilles won over the room with their musicianship and well-written material.

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SXSW Photos: Wednesday

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