Nas Takes Illmatic To Texas As South By Southwest Comes To An End
Father John Misty - Hotel Vegas/Nas - ACL Live
Nick Rallo Father John Misty
I'd already had a hazy, early-Saturday-afternoon set by Father John Misty, former drummer for Fleet Foxes, aka J. Tillman, picked out as my best of the day. He's been on a sort of one-man anti-SXSW comedy tour over the last few days, and at Hotel Vegas's outside stage yesterday, he looked and sounded on the verge of breaking. There was his Doritos tirade from Friday, which he apologized for, but didn't have to. Then this, between some awfully pretty acoustic songs: "This fest is like the singing Olympics. And I have failed you. I've played five sets and each had a hurdle. Today, that hurdle is a truck full of generators... Can you all hear that truck OK?"
But then Nas stepped on stage Saturday night at ACL Live and performed the entirety of 1994's Illamaticplus a new singleand I've never seen that venue used to better capacity. Queensbridge was projected behind him, and from "N.Y. State of Mind," on the crowd was lit up. His set, soundtracked by DJs AZ and Pete Rock, made me remember just how singular the album was at the time. I guess what I'm saying is: Can someone please get these two on a summer tour together?
Glossary - Jovita's
Glossary is a five-piece band in which one of the guitarists plays steel from a small city outside of Nashville. They played Lucero's Family Picnic showcase late Saturday, warming up earlier that afternoon at St. Louis public-radio station KDHX's annual SXSW Twangfest party at South Austin creekside Tex-Mex music venue Jovita's. Glossary turned out to be a good band for St. Patrick's Day, very Thin Lizzy with a twin-guitar attack, choppy riffs and a bluesy heart. (It's always a twin-guitar "attack.") Singer Joey Kneiser introduced "Save Your Money for the Weekend" with "this is about trying to sleep with a Christian girl" and a gleam in his eye, but his wife Kelly was not far away on vocals and maracas. One song nipped a bit of Sheila E.'s "A Love Bizarre," but that could have been an accident. And they had a skeleton selling merch.
Donovan - Palm Door
My SXSW was one of memories I will treasure forever, and Donovan's last-minute addition to the Palm Door bill on Saturday night was one that will live for like, forever. The '60s bard, the precursor to Bowie, the guy in the car with Dylan in Don't Look Back, the guy whose influence gets lost on this side of the pond, turned in a great solo set with complete candor and style. His voice was still impeccable; his hits sounded the same live as they do on the now-dusty slabs of vinyl sitting in so many record stores. I was standing next to the bar when I noticed the Animals' Eric Burdon drinking wine ("spill the wine...") listening to Donovan on his iPod, learning "Season Of The Witch" so Donovan could summon him to duet on the darkly magical wonder. Later, when Donovan covered the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon," Burdon bellowed along, sending me into a wondrous garage-rock K-hole I never wanted to leave, and might not for weeks.