Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photos : Wolf Parade @ La Zona Rosa

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Photos : Dr. Dog / Here We Go Magic @ Stubb's

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Photos : Lower Dens / Future Islands / Sun Airway

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Photos / Review : Joanna Newsom @ The Paramount Theater

Few can do what Joanna Newsom did when she took the stage at the historic Paramount Theater on Thursday night. First of all, when you think of Austin and it's ever-happening live music scene, the first thing that comes to mind certainly isn't a seated show with nearly 1,200 people dressed up, watching someone play the harp. But that's what happened at Thursday night's performance and it would be safe to speculate that the same scene has been happening all across the country on Newsom's current tour.
The venue was packed with forty, thirty, twenty, and even teen-somethings, most of whom came to the performance neatly dressed, all awaiting that beautiful voice they knew was coming. Newsom took the stage all by herself for the first song. She was all smiles and giggles as the occasional catcall was hurled her way and she launched into "The Book of Right-On". The song was immediately recognizable and garnered shouts and cheers from the first few plucks of her harp.
At the end of the song, her five piece band took the stage and backed her throughout the rest of the performance, breathing new life into her already anything but stagnant catalog. The set featured new arrangements of the material from her most recent album, Have One On Me.
Almost every song, same as the first, was loudly applauded by a select group of fans before the first words were ever sung. There was a simultaneous fervor and calm that is seldom found at a live performance. The audience was seemingly mesmerized by the performance, Newsom's calming, stirring, piercing voice and the band's arrangements which roused and soothed all at the same time.
The Paramount was the perfect venue for Newsom, who said she had been looking forward to playing in the theater for quite some time and had only seen it in photographs until the day of the performance. At one point, she finally noticed the harp-toting angle painted on the high ceiling and said, "Is that a harp on the ceiling? How about that. It looks like they got my rider." The audience laughed, as they tended to do after she said just about anything in between songs.
The laughter and banter with the crowd was one of the more remarkable aspects of the evening. It was so unexpected that you couldn't help but be drawn in to her effervescent charm. At one point, she asked if anyone had any questions and someone yelled out, "Tell us about your beautiful harp!", to which she responded by first telling the audience the harp was actually a rental but then quickly listed off the specific model number and features of the harp and ending by fully endorsing that particular line of harps. She did it all in a very self-aware, matter of fact sort of way that had everyone smiling.
The act came to a close with the typical announcement of "one more song" but everyone had to have known she would be back. She and the band received a standing ovation after "Peach, Plum, Pear" and returned to the stage to play the heart-droppingly gorgeous "Baby Birch". Someone shouted out "Seven more!" and she quickly quipped, "Did you bring your pyjamas?". The request would not be met, but the show closed with a solo performance of "Sawdust & Diamonds", another standing ovation and the lifting of the lights.

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1. The Book of Right-On
2. Have One On Me
3. Easy
4. Cosmia
5. Soft As Chalk
6. In California
7. Inflammatory Writ
8. Go Long
9. Good Intentions Paving Company
10. Monkey & Bear
11. Peach, Plum, Pear
12. Baby Birch
13. Sawdust & Diamonds

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thursday : Joanna Newsom Plays Paramount Theater

(photo by Annabel Mehran)

2010 found Joanna Newsom with an amazing, expansive new album, Have One on Me, and a new vocal style. Apparently, Newsom had some sort of nodules built up on her vocals chords that left her unable to speak or sing for quite some time and the new vocal style we hear on Have One on Me is a result. Thank God she didn't stop singing and playing music because the new album, spanning 3 CDs and 3 discs on vinyl, is one of the year's best. He voice is as clear as a bell and more listenable for some. Her songs are winding and a well-rounded experience in both their composition and their subject matter.

Newsom will take the stage at Paramount Theater on Thursday, November 11. She is full of smiles on stage and what better way can you think of to spend a Thursday night than with that beautiful voice and that beautiful harp playing? Tickets are still available and are relatively cheap for a show at the beautiful Paramount.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Photos : Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 - Sunday

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Photos : Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 - Saturday

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Photos : Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 - Friday

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The first expansion of Fun Fun Fun Fest into a 3 day (2 1/2 really) festival seemed to be a success. There were more people out there than I ever really anticipated but the crowd for Weird Al was especially surprising. He had the crowd laughing and singing along as some fans waited more than an hour for their spots on the front row. He came out with a medley, prominently featuring his take on Lady Gaga with "Polka Face" and cruised through other hits like Justin Beiber and Katy Perry. He played some of his own material, smashed a guitar, dressed like Kurt Cobain and Yoda and projected videos from his expansive career. Chris Hardwick got the crowd ready and Apples in Stereo had them dancing and singing along early on.
Fun Fun Fun Fest '10 Schedule
Here's our custom schedule for Saturday and Sunday of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010. I'd like to think this is the best of the best but you may have other opinions. The full schedule is available here.

Our top 5 picks for today would have to be The Antlers, Delorean, Dirty Projectors, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, and Man Man but if they are on our schedule they are probably worth checking out. See you out there!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fun Fun Fun Fest is This Weekend!

Austin's smaller but much more fun music festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, is happening this weekend and we will have coverage for you from all three days. The festival has expanded to 2 1/2 days this year, kicking off tonight with a headlining set by Weird Al Yankovic, and full days on Saturday and Sunday. There are also a ton of awesome after parties that are either free or deeply discounted with festival wristbands and we will let you know all about it throughout the weekend so keep checking back!