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Austin, TX

Friday, March 17, 2006

Quote of the day: "Excuse me, Mr. Showtunes..."


Monsters Are Waiting

Andy Davis

Glen Phillips

The Stringdusters

Scott Miller and the Commonwealth

Nickel Creek

Maggie Walters


Our Friday started off with a couple of interviews.  We met Gus Black at his label’s hotel suite and spent part of the morning talking with him before jetting over to the BMI luncheon to chat with Jason Kanakis.  It’s not every day that we start the day with two rock stars, but it’s something we could get used to.


nickel creek


After seeing some great and some not-as-great music in the afternoon, our evening began with Nickel Creek playing the Q Prime party at the Driskill Hotel.   Performing to around 100 music lovers, this group was at the top of their game.  Opening with the quiet ‘Why Should the Fire Die’ was risky since it’s such a subdued number, but they pulled it off without a hitch.  From there, the energy rose with songs like ‘Best of Luck’ and ‘The Smoothie Song’ and the audience responded by singing along and tapping their feet.  At the end of their set, they invited the previous band, Mohair, to come up and perform The Beatles ‘Tax Man’ with them.  Having never played together before, no one knew what to expect.  Within the first couple of notes, this easily became the top musical moment of our SXSW.  Tom Billington of Mohair and Chris Thile shared lead vocal duties while the other Creeksters and Mohairers provided harmonies and the ‘tax man’ chorus.  Somehow, these two bands immediately clicked and provided a great conclusion to an already memorable set.



We grabbed dinner with a friend and then headed over to the One 2 One bar to see Jay Nash.  We’ve heard a lot about Nash through our Hotel Café friends, and with Matt DelVecchio on bass (who also tours with Cary Brothers), we expected great things.  Playing on a tiny stage that required the keyboardist to, literally, sit in an open window, Nash et al. performed songs from his latest CD, Some Kind of Comfort.  With an interesting voice and lyrics, the crowd responded well to the tunes and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.  During the band’s last song, ‘High on the Hill,’ Jamie Cullum, a friend of Nash’s, walked in and was invited on stage to sit in on keys.  With cameras flashing and people asking for autographs, this was an unexpected treat for Nash and Cullum fans alike.  At the conclusion of the set, Cullum stuck around for Gabriel Mann’s set.  The smile on his face and dance moves indicated that he was enjoying the tunes.  When Kendra politely tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to move over so she could get a picture of Matty D on bass, he was happy to oblige, and probably somewhat relieved that she wasn’t asking him to sign her bar napkin.


jay nash

gabriel mann

jamie cullum


What made this unexpected exchange especially ironic is that we had been joking earlier in the day about how over-excited people were to see Cullum perform at the Paste Magazine party and his official showcase.   We had been hearing about him all day.  We aren’t really fans of his showtune-y music style (as evidence, read our review of Twentysomething), and had mentioned that fact to a new friend a few hours earlier.  So, while Cullum was sharing our table at One 2 One, rather than want any of his time or attention, Kendra simply asked him to scoot over so she could take a shot.  Later that evening, we ran into the aforementioned friend and told him about our brush with Cullum.  His response was,“Did you say, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Showtunes, but can you move out of my way?”  This may be a case of you-had-to-be-there to fully appreciate the hilarity, but we’re still laughing about it.


Our night concluded at the Hilton 406 with Eliot Morris.  After 12+ hours of music and rock stars, we were ecstatic to walk in at 12:20am and see a room full of Barcalouners.  It was the lap of luxury after an eventful day.  While we sat, Morris took the stage with lap steel guitarist, Ben Peeler, and played songs from his upcoming Universal Records release, What’s Mine is Yours.  While we’ve heard many of these tunes solo acoustic and with a full band, the addition of Peeler was a welcome change of pace, adding a twinge of bluegrass to Morris’ lush melodies and heartfelt lyrics. 


eliot morris


 So goes another day…