SXSW: Location Location Is Everything | Buzz Blog

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SXSW: Location Location Is Everything

Posted By on March 22, 2009, 12:14 AM

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Love her or hate her, Rachael Ray has pretty good taste in music. The bright and bubbly Food Network star has become somewhat of a fixture on the SXSW scene, organizing an annual day party delivering guests a smorgasbord of hot bands and comfort food. Most people come to simply witness the union of two seemingly disparate universes and stay for the surprisingly stellar lineup. I've missed out on previous events thanks to mostly being lazy and arriving too late. This year I resolved to get in on the bizarro fun by showing up at the crack of 11:45 a.m. Inside, free Rose's mojitos flowed though judging by the ratio of sugar to alcohol those who imbibed got more hopped up on syrup than booze. Rachael Ray's blowout took place across three separate stages: one downstairs and two upstairs, each with their own table of sliders and mac n' cheese.

Oh, and the music. The Thermals kicked things off and despite having just rolled out of bed the Portland trio were their usual energetic selves.

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No one, however, could prepare the crowd for what came next. If you've never heard of Semi Precious Weapons, imagine a cross between David Bowie, RuPaul and Johnny Rotten--that nearly describes the NY band's street-tough diva singer whose shiny gold stiletto boots and skintight striped leggings only begin to capture his outrageous personality. The other members were no slouches either, the bassist slamming his instrument against his head, slamming his body into the brick wall, jumping onto the railing, flirting with the female audience members and generally just freaking out (in a good way). It was a performance almost as manic as a Monotonix gig.

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Later, the New York Dolls took over the upstairs patio and though only two original members remain watching them was like taking a giant step back in time. David Johansen still has it, baby. He's charismatic and wiry as ever. The Hold Steady followed, playing to a crowd singing along to nearly every word coming out of Craig Finn's prolific mouth.

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The night topped out with a highly anticipated gig by SLC/Provo's Location Location, Marcus Bently's electronic-fueled project with Cameron Runyan on drums/synth and Josh Dunn (The New Nervous) on bass. Bently and Runyan drove down on Thursday to crash on couches until the big night. The week yielded some valuable insights for the Utah artists. We'll catch up with them when they've decompressed and give you the skinny on the whole shebang.

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Sharing a bill with electronic artists from Iceland, Germany and Sweden, the trio fit right in sound-wise if not geographically speaking. The only problem was the sound man who was apparently asleep during Location Location's set otherwise he might have done something about the nasty feedback interrupting the otherwise seamless grooves executed with precision and flair. These guys are pros. Too bad they weren't working with one. All in all, though, a great night and a fine finish to another whirlwind week in downtown Austin.

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