Rocking the Violet Crown
A Guide To The Arizona Bands And Influences That Will Be On Display at SXSW 2011
Bomba Estereo performs at SXSW 2010. Image by Santiago Forero. Teaser image by Sky High Photography.
By Joe Lopez
Modern Times Magazine
March 1, 2010 — Texas means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but for one magical week in March, the only thing that means anything in Austin, Texas, is music.
In a little more than two weeks, the music world will descend on the city of the "Violet Crown" — a nickname bestowed upon Austin for the wintertime violet glow of color across the hills just after sunset — for the 2011 SXSW Music and Media Conference from March 16 to 20. In its 25th year, SXSW is one of the premiere music events in the world, bringing together more than 13,000 conference participants and 2,000 showcased acts.
In short, it is a week of music and good times.
In addition to the Music and Media Conference, there is also a Film Conference and an Interactive Festival, but why bother when there are more than 2,000 bands in town?
One of the acts expected to make the biggest splash this year is Gayngs — the 23 member band made up of members of Solid Gold, Megafaun, Bon Iver and others. There will also be a reappearance of Duran Duran as well as a free concert by The Strokes.
And, among those 2,000 bands will be a handful of good ones from Arizona as well as a bunch of others that have close ties to the state.
Arizona bands or natives showcasing at SXSW:
Saturday, March 19 at 9 p.m.
The Velveeta Room
521 E. 6th Street
Austin, TX 78701-3741
Kinch, an indie pop band from Phoenix, Ariz., has been described as "an alt-rock pop style reminiscent of a few Brit bands, hearkening back to the sensibilities of '60s garage rock." Their pop sound has drawn comparisons to Coldplay and The Strokes, while others have likened them to Ben Folds, The Arcade Fire and Blur. In the winter of 2009, Kinch released a 3-song EP entitled "The Economic Chastisement." The EP was recorded over 2 days at a home studio in Austin, Texas. They followed it up with "Collars and Sleeves," a 4-song EP released in the summer combining the bands two most prominent styles, guitar rock and piano rock. Amid several US tours, Kinch has most recently been recording their second full length to be released in 2011.
Thursday, March 17 at 9 p.m.
Easy Tiger Patio
709 E. 6th Street,
Austin, TX 78701-3741
Gospel Claws are a rock band based in Tempe, Arizona. Their music has been described as “rambling desert-pop”, “uber-catchy indie pop”, and even “Jan & Dean on cough syrup”. But no matter how one chooses to describe this band, the fact is that singer Joel Marquard “… always delivers.” Admittedly, that last quote is simultaneously referencing Marquard’s music and his day job as a FedEx driver. After leaving Dear and the Headlights in 2007, Marquard hooked up with longtime friend Sloan Walters. The two songwriters eventually recruited some other friends, John Mulhern and Scott Hall, for a rhythm section. Wesley Hilsabeck, who Marquard hooked up with via his delivery route one day, rounds out the lineup on second guitar. Gospel Claws released an EP and a couple extra tracks via compilations and a split 7” with fellow Arizona boys What Laura Says. They honed their live act in the downtown Phoenix art scene opening for national that rolled through town like Cage the Elephant, No Age, Portugal. The Man, The Besnard Lakes, and Deer Tick. With the release of their debut LP C-L-A-W-S in October 2010, recorded mostly live with producer Bob Hoag, showcased a band that had become surprisingly tight and polished, but had enough soul to spread their “gospel” and enough raw energy to still be called “claws.”
Saturday, March 19 at 10:15 p.m.
The Red Eyed Fly
715 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
Eddie Spaghetti grew up in Tucson, Arizona trying desperately to ignore the country music that floated all around him. So, as a kid, he turned to Heavy Metal, then Punk Rock, to block out the noise and that's how his band, The Supersuckers, was born. Formed in late '88, The Supersuckers aim was to strip away some of the pretense of late '80's Heavy Metal and put a little showmanship into the Punk scene. The band relocated to Seattle in May of 1989. The Supersuckers put out a few singles, then signed to Sub-Pop and began what has been over two decades of ass kicking, ground pounding hemi-hogging punk-n-roll. It didn't take too long, however, for the country music that he tried so hard to avoid in his youth to start surfacing in the music Eddie was making as a young man. The foray back to the country began in 1993 with the Supersuckers side project, The Junkyard Dogs. It wasn't country per-se, but it was close.
Thursday March 17 at 3 p.m.
Thursday March 17 at 10 p.m.
This Denver-based band gets its Arizona connection from producer Craig Schumacher and the band Calexico.
Wednesday March 16 at midnight
French-woman Dissard has collaborated with Tucson’s sweethearts Calexico, Howe Gelb, Naïm Amor, Sergio Mendoza, and Brian Lopez.
Thursday, March 17 at 8 p.m.
Morrison, who hails from Tecate, Baja California Mexico, began her career in the Phoenix scene in 2006, and was a onetime member of the trio Babaluca.