SXSW 2013: Day Three highlights

 

Dave Grohl (left) and Stevie Nicks both spoke in front of (separate) large audiences at SXSW during the day on Thursday. Later that night, they performed together in a concert by Grohl's Sound City Players.(Gary Miller/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Dave Grohl (left) and Stevie Nicks both spoke in front of (separate) large audiences at SXSW during the day on Thursday. Later that night, they performed together in a concert by Grohl’s Sound City Players. (Gary Miller/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

SXSW
Friday, March 15, 2013 10:28 AM

The span of South by Southwest is so huge that sometimes the festival can be about the bands you miss as much as the ones you see. After the hectic Thursday on the streets, bars and venues of Austin, Texas, the All Songs Considered crew regrouped to recount the long walks, long lines, tough decisions, missed opportunities and happy accidents of day three.

Robin Hilton traded seeing a large number of shows for a rare opportunity: seeing The Flaming Lips set aside their confetti cannons for an intimate and stripped-down performance of their 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The show was so packed that there was still a line when it ended. (If you missed it, hopefully we’ll be able to share it with you soon.)

Stephen Thompson’s “walking to rocking ratio” was off for much of the day, leaving him repeatedly catching only the last glimpses of many sets. Skinny Lister’s performance in a hotel lobby was a short but sweet highlight, and visions of future Grammys filled Stephen’s head during Lianne La Havas’s performance. One unadulterated highlight was finally catching beloved Detroit proto-punk band Death, who dropped out of the music scene for decades before re-emerging in 2009.

If Stephen’s day was dominated by walking, Ann Powers’s tipped toward talking. She caught Dave Grohl’s keynote address and interviewed Stevie Nicks, then in the evening caught the two speakers playing together in a concert by Grohl’s Sound City Players. Mississippi based gospel trio Como Mamas ‘sanctified’ her night with their African-tinged a cappella, while The Skatalites brought some skilled and spirited inter-generational ska to the mix.

Bob Boilen also took some time to watch Grohl’s keynote, which he recommends to anyone who is searching for their own place in life. His other highlights included the hypnotic sounds of Mali’s Terakaft, the ‘unbelievable’ goth-meets-LCD Soundsystem sound of K-X-P. Icky Blossoms’ powerful stage presence won them the title of the best rock band he saw all day.

SXSW 2013: Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players go big (before going home)

By Mikael Wood
Los Angeles Times
Friday, March 15, 2013, 10:01 a.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — By many accounts the South by Southwest music festival is about discovering new talent: the fresh-faced indie-pop outfit, for instance, or the precocious laptop wizard just stepping beyond the walls of his bedroom.

Dave Grohl doesn’t share that view.

On Thursday night, hours after delivering SXSW’s keynote speech at the Austin Convention Center, Grohl and a handful of his famous friends took over Stubb’s for what he described as the final performance by the Sound City Players. It’s the band he put together in connection with his documentary Sound City, which recounts the tale of the grungy Van Nuys recording studio where Grohl’s old band Nirvana, among many other acts, made some of its most well-known music. And on Thursday it spent nearly 3 1/2 hours reanimating a number of rock’s biggest hits.

“It’s my life’s greatest gift that I get to call up these people who I consider heroes and have them come onstage and jam with me,” Grohl said.

Among those heroes was Stevie Nicks, who sang tunes including “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Landslide” and (a very dreamy) “Dreams.” She also did “You Can’t Fix This,” a strong new song from the Sound City soundtrack. But Nicks was best in a muscular rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman,” for which she went into her signature whirling-dervish mode, arms outstretched, long blond hair whipping around her.

In an onstage interview earlier Thursday with NPR music critic Ann Powers, Nicks said she’d taken ballet classes early in her career to learn how to use her body while performing. “I can captivate with my hands,” she’d said, and she was right.

John Fogerty also turned up at Stubb’s, leading the Sound City Players through rollicking versions of “Travelin’ Band,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising” and more. For “Fortunate Son” he and Grohl traded lead vocals as the band (which included members of Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine) bore down on the song’s bitter groove.

Rick Springfield sang compact early-1980s pop-rock hits such as “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything for You,” while Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick played guitar for that band’s “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender.” And Lee Ving of the great L.A. punk group Fear did “I Love Livin’ in the City,” which he introduced as “an old-fashioned singalong.” The capacity crowd knew fewer of the words to that one than to “Landslide.” But neither Ving nor Grohl seemed to care.

Stevie Nicks sprinkles some solid-gold dust at Sound City concert

2013-0314-sxsw-stubbs-jannBy Timothy Finn
Kansas City Star
Friday, March 15, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — Dave Grohl has been a busy man in Austin.

He has been promoting Sound City: Real to Reel, the documentary he produced about the recording studio in southern California, which has had several showings during the South by Southwest Music Fest here.

Thursday morning, he delivered the festival’s keynote speech. And Thursday night, he and several of his fellow Foo Fighters were the house band for the Sound City Players, an ensemble of performers who have recorded at Sound City and who gathered for a performance before a full house at Stubbs.

The three-hour plus show featured several high-proflle artists, such as Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Rick Springfield, plus Lee Ving of the punk band Fear. During a set by Chris Goss of Masters of Reality, Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine and now Black Sabbath sat in on drums,

After an opening set by Alain Johannes, a Queens of the Stone Age collaborator, Nicks took the stage.

She and Grohl launched into “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” with Grohl taking Tom Petty’s vocal parts. After that, Nicks introduced a new song she’d written, “You Can’t Fix This,” a dour ballad that temporarily lost the crowd of about 3,000.

She got it back immediately with a few of her best-known songs: “Dreams”; “Landslide,” which featured Grohl on 12-string acoustic guitar and which prompted a heartwarming sing-along throughout the huge venue; and “Gold Dust Woman.”

That one ended with a long, raucous instrumental that brought out the beasts in Grohl and Foo Fighter drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Ving followed Goss’ set, growling through several high-speed hardcore punk songs in what seemed like a minute or less for each. Springfield would follow Ving with some of his Top 40 bromides, a sign of how diverse a setlist Grohl and his band had to learn and the breadth of artists who recorded beloved albums at Sound City.