SXSW: St. Louis Wrap-up

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Well hello there! It only took me most of the afternoon, but here's the first post of my SXSW wrap-up. I'm tired and in margarita-withdrawal, but happy to bring you pictures (!) and video (!!) from the fest in the following few posts. Without further ado, here's a report about the local bands making the scene down there. The list is incomplete; a few day parties weren't in meandering distance, so I missed the Daybreak Boys, Gentleman Auction House and John Boy's Courage — and some folks (cough, Leo), I had no idea were even in Austin. I'm a horrible photographer and don't have Photoshop, so excuse the dimness. But you get the gist.

I had a slight feeling of dej� vu on Thursday night, going to the same venue on the same night I did last year to see the same showcase: the one presented by local label Undertow Records. Waterloo — playing its first show in many moons due to frontman Mark Ray's new Portland, Oregon, locale — sounded reliably strong, despite a few bum notes here and there. Songs from last year's Out of the Woods maintained their easygoing twang live, especially my favorite, "Light in the Doorway."

Annie Zaleski
Waterloo's Mark Ray

Annie Zaleski
Waterloo's Chris Grabau

Annie Zaleski
Waterloo's Mark Ray. Again.

Magnolia Summer played next, and it was interesting to hear its sound change with Joe Thebeau (more on him later) playing guitar for this show. I shudder to use the word "virtuoso," but perhaps "George Harrison-like" is more appropriate for the feathery, intricate textures Thebeau brought to the set. Chris Grabau and company have been tinkering with song arrangements, and while I personally didn't like everything, a slower and sparser version of the already-moving "Words for War" was even more beautiful.

Annie Zaleski
Chris Grabau, Magnolia Summer.

Annie Zaleski
Joe Thebeau, Magnolia Summer

Annie Zaleski
Hey, it's Chris Grabau again.

-Annie Zaleski

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