Quantcast
For a guy who is known for injecting drugs into weird corners of his body and writhing like a salted snail onstage, Iggy is stunningly accessible—he speaks with a vaguely Midwestern warble, constantly dishes out self-deprecating aphorisms and is just plain hilarious.
SXSW RINGER REPORT #3:
LEVEN BECOMES ECLECTIC
Our Man in Austin Gets Wiggy With Iggy, Discovers a World Beyond Sixth St.
By Jeff Leven

Pretty amazing music day today. In the space of 12 hours, I saw Dutch funk, classic Texas blues, searing punk, and a member of the Clash almighty. I kicked off my musical day by witnessing the Cold War Kids entrancing a packed house at the Paste party and a rollicking Fratellis set at Bourbon Rocks. Sometimes where there's smoke there actually is fire, and these are both bands whose breathless blog buzz actually pans out in practice.

Later in the day, I paused for what was perhaps the most entertaining interview I've ever seen at SXSW as Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke spoke with Iggy and the Ashetons. For a guy who is known for injecting drugs into weird corners of his body and writhing like a salted snail onstage, Iggy is stunningly accessible—he speaks with a vaguely Midwestern warble, constantly dishes out self-deprecating aphorisms and is just plain hilarious. Stooges axman Ron Asheton is similarly candid and charming, and together the two of them painted an amusing picture of the band's early days (particularly hilarious was his description of the "atmosphere" created by uber-aesthete John Cale and a pouting, knitting Nico during the recording of the Stooges' debut), prompting numerous flat-out guffaws from the mostly packed room. If Pete Townshend came off as the slightly obtuse college professor whose tangents are vivid but abstract, Iggy came off like that one cool high school English teacher who plays hip music during study hall and tells the best jokes.

Back out at the shows, tonight was one of those nights where the lack of obvious marquee choices made for better exploration. One of the curious features of SXSW is that there's several different layers to it. Beyond the splashy magazine parties and indie buzz bands, there remains a whole wing of the festival that is uniquely Austin. Over time, a lot of these shows have been pushed to the geographic margins—south of the river, far west on 6th St. or to restaurant backyards as opposed to proper clubs. But when you go to one, it's a different and welcome experience—an older crowd, fewer badges and a certain sense of tradition. Today I trekked west to go see Ray Sharpe backed by Charlie Sexton (a skilled producer, solo guitarist, and former Dylan bandmember) and Augie Meyers (an Austin fixture since his days with the Sir Douglas Quintet—the start of a long and storied series of collaborations with Doug Sahm). With their clean, crisp blues, the group offered a window into an alternate rock universe where jukeboxes still stock 45s and a good backbeat guarantees a hit—it's an avenue of music that we have a tendency to sepia-tone, but which is still very much alive and vibrant in its own space. 

Following that, the logical thing seemed to be to go in a few different directions. Next up for me was N.Y.'s Barbez, whose hypnotic, dense soundscapes were punctuated by particularly intense Theremin playing. After that, it was off to Yip Yip, a bizarro keyboard duo who take the pointillist instincts of Killing Joke, the sonic vibe of Arthur Russell and the Martian sense of humor of DEVO and blend it all in a weird and compelling if slightly tangled mix.

The rest of the night for me included Australian party metal powerhouse Airbourne. They borrow pretty liberally from the AC/DC playbook, but to their credit pull it off with a zest that makes it absolutely work, by which I mean, RAWK—they are thankfully far closer to Angus and Malcolm than, say, Jackyl. Also galvanizing tonight were power trio Earl Greyhound, N.Y. rockers Pela and Dutch funkmeisters Kraak and Smaak. The biggest crowd, however, was at Stubbs for The Good, the Bad and the Queen. With their slowly unfolding dub soundscapes, a string section and deep Anglicisms, they were dreamy if not necessarily intense—thoughtful rather than strident. Plus, it was a genuine treat to see Clashman Paul Simonon onstage. With his sharkskin suit, top hat and low-slung bass, this rude boy absolutely can't fail—he sends out absolute shockwaves of cool—like Miles Davis-caliber cool, and all of it effortless.

Today was a jumble, but a great one.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
THE CANDLES
Marketshare machers. (10/27a)
KDOTTED LINE
A pending deal fro Kendrick. (10/26a)
YTD MARKETSHARE: AND THE WINNER IS...
It's a lock. (10/27a)
CHART STORY: TAY
MAKES IT EIGHT
Adding to her chart 'lore. (10/23a)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Vote. Do it now. (10/26a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)