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  • SXSW 2009 Recap: Day Two

    Fri, 20 Mar 2009 13:48:49

    SXSW 2009 Recap: Day Two - And the bands played on

    M. Ward Photos

    • M. Ward - NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Actress Julia Stiles and musician M. Ward attend the 10th annual production of the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway presented by MONTBLANC after party at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on November 15, 2010 in New York City.
    • M. Ward - NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Musician M. Ward (C) bows as actors (L-R) Saffron Burrows, Lee Pace, Nia Vardalos, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Bibb, Cheyenne Jackson and Rosie Perez look on onstage at the curtain call of the 10th annual production of the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway presented by MONTBLANC at American Airlines Theatre on November 15, 2010 in New York City.
    • M. Ward - LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Musician M. Ward of She and Him performs at the LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine at Paramount Studio on September 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

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    Anni Rossi

    Anni Rossi has got a lot of talent and what’s more, she’s got a lot of guts. Not only does she make some weirdo music but when she’s on stage, she performs most of it alone.

    Anni Rossi | by Matt Jordan

    It seems like her gumption paid off at SXSW. She was paired with fellow weirdo-folk acts on the 4AD showcase and the audience seemed way into her. She was cute (after the second song, she told us “I couldn’t find anything else to write my setlist on other than this $260 speeding ticket I got recently”), she had some songs that were real grabbers (”Brick & Stone” sounded like a b-side off Final Fantasy’s He Poos Clouds) and just generally put herself into the performance. It was a great start to the 4AD showcase at the church.

    M. Ward

    I feel bad for the other SXSW performers — but mostly for myself — that my time in Austin had to peak so early. At least that’s what I thought in the middle of M. Ward’s solo acoustic performance of “Sad, Sad Song” at the Central Presbyterian Church. He’s a great guitar player, a fantastic singer and one of our generation’s best folk musicians.

    M. Ward | by Matt Jordan

    Before closing up shop, Matt announced that he had one more song to play. He walked over to the piano that had been wheeled out in just beyond the front row, off the stage, and played his last number. If there’s a better way to cap off a near-perfect show, it escapes me. Add to that his fantastic record Hold Time and it’s looking like M Ward could be headed toward having the best year of his already sterling career.

    M. Ward | by Matt Jordan

    Department of Eagles

    Daniel Rossen started the night solo on the banjo, working through a quick tune before being joined by Fred Nicolaus, the other half of the songwriting duo, and their backing band. It’s tough not to offer Grizzly Bear as a comparison for Department of Eagles' performance, but it’s only tempting because it’s not too far off. Both bands rely on dynamic composition and performance (helped along in this case by Grizzly Bear drummer Chris Bear) and both have some fantastic harmonies. Only with Department of Eagles, things get a little weirder.

    Department of Eagles | by Matt Jordan

    The last song of the night had no doubt the best harmonies — the odd thing was that they were all supplied by Daniel Rossen. He looped his vocals one by one until it sounded like a choir of highly trained clones were holding a microphone just out of view. I hate to crack the whip on a man who’s been a part of creating an ‘album of the year’ contender for the past four years, but let’s hope we hear this new record sooner than later.

    Department of Eagles | by Matt Jordan

    St. Vincent

    St. Vincent’s highly-anticipated show at the 4AD showcase kicked off with a backing band so versatile that I feel pretty justified in calling “nearly an orchestra.” No sooner would one guy put down his tambourine than he’d pick up a saxophone and start wailin’ away.

    St. Vincent | by Matt Jordan

    They had pretty much everything required to give Annie the backup she deserves. After all, her songs are pretty complex. She’s come a long way from playing solo at loft parties three years ago and it seems like she’s only going to go further.

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    Tags: M. Ward, Anni Rossi, Department of Eagles, St. Vincent

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