Photo Recap: South by Southwest (Day 2)
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 11:11:14
When it comes to exploring the endless possibilities of South By Southwest, sometimes it's better to stay put than to wander around aimlessly from venue to venue and show to show in search of the Next Big Thing. Case in point: Yesterday's lineup at the FADER Fort, which hinged on a headlining N.E.R.D. set and a never-ending Lou Reed tribute (with a wrinkly Reed looking on, camera in hand). To be honest, the latter was a true patience-tester to anyone that didn't want to lose their spot up front for the eventual cover song attempts of Moby, Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo and My Morning Jacket. Not to mention a Reed appearance or two, as promised by host Jim McGuinn, the program director of Y-Rock on WXPN 88.5 Philadelphia.
Jim James of My Morning Jacket | Thurston Moore | by Andrew Parks
Yo La Tengo representing NYC | by Andrew Parks
While this is going to sound awful, the following needs to be said: No one came to this gig to see bloodless versions of "Run Run Run" (some straight-outta-a-college-quad band called What Laura Says Thinks and Feels), "Sunday Morning" (Oh No! Oh My Oh! just lost their punctuation priviledges), or anything Joseph Arthur turned into total mush. (While his immaculate custom guitar—a gleaming, blue-accented acoustic—is the stuff of Guitar Center dreams, Arthur had no business playing such a stale, sexless approximation of "Venus In Furs.") Mark Kozelek, on the other hand, used one simply-strummed axe to infuse "Caroline Says" and "The Kids" with feeling, with a lingering sense of lost love and ghosts that simply won't go away no matter how hard you try.
Joseph Arthur's guitar getting all the glory | by Andrew Parks
To be fair, the FADER people booked one virtual unknown that used this Lou Reed tribute as a opportunity to show how worthy he is of our overly-stimulated attention, Ezra Furman, the closest thing Chicago has to an anti-folk star in waiting. After sharing his thoughts on just how "scary" the commercialism of SxSW is, Furman absolutely nailed a shaky, gnarly cover of "Heroin." Seriously—as nasally as this kid's voice is, he followed the original's ebb and flow heartbeat to a disturbing tee. A band-backed "New Age" lacked the same bite, but it was still better than the downright embarrassing performances that opened the evening.
Furman keeps it real and sticks it to "the man" | by Andrew Parks
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| SXSW Recap: Day One |