Trying To Get To You

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One More SXSW Contributor

Greg in San Francisco writes in...

So when Ben mentioned off handedly to me that Darondo was playing on Friday afternoon at 4:15, I freaked out. The first person I called was Tim Broun, who took the amazing photo to the left. Tim and I had recently been talking about Darondo, as Darondo had played a show around last Christmas in San Francisco and it had totally flown under my radar. Darondo doesn't play much. He never did back in the day nor does he now. He lives out in the East Bay in a suburb and is retired and a bit amused, from what I've read, about the his recent resurgence. Anyway, I arrived at 4:12PM and his band was talking to the crowd getting us warmed up in the hot afternoon sun. I spotted Tim and walked over. Darondo came onstage and the band kicked into a song that I think was "How I Got Over" (though if someone does know, please correct me). Darondo proceeded to shimmy, shake, roll across the stage and generally act like he was about 20 years old. A friend of mine leaned towards me and said "he should be fronting the Rolling Stones" and I had to agree. After the song ended he spoke a bit about his own "legend" as it were. How he was just too fast for people in his own time because he was riding around in a Rolls Royce and had women all over him. Then he broke into "Legs." Again, he wasn't singing the high notes, but he sang with (and I hate to use this word) authenticity. I say that not because he was old, not because he was African American, but because he was truly authentic. It's a bit like the Supreme Court ruling on pornography, I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. And Darondo is it, no question. His band was good too, though not quite as dirty as his original recordings. On some of those songs I often wondered if they were 1st or 2nd takes that the producer just said "that's good enough". Not to say they're bad, but they're a bit loose & gritty sometimes, which I think lends to Darondo's vocals. But after "Legs" he sadly left the stage. The band announced a Saturday night gig, but I was leaving well beforehand so I missed it, though I did get a report that he played 5 songs Saturday night. This two song set was by far the best show I've seen at SxSW in years. I saw a few really good ones this year, but this stood head and shoulders above the rest. Do yourself a favor, if you ever get the chance to see Darondo, drop whatever you're doing and go. They don't make them like him anymore.

Oh and Ironworks; the pork ribs are fantastic, but my heart's with the brisket.

PS: Ben actually missed this 2 song set or he would be writing the review. None of us knew it would be only 2 songs and he was late getting there.

PPS: I have to agree too on Earl Greyhound. They got the looks, the chops &and the moves, but not the songs....yet. They remind of the Witnesses in that respect. But I do hope they get the songs, because if they did, I think they would kill.


JamesChanceOfficial said...

Greg got it right. With just 2 songs, Darondo pretty much blew away all competition at SxSW. Way beyond my expectations and my expectations were pretty high.

I'll link back here when I put up the rest of my Darondo pix. Incidentally, my blog is at, and its called Stupefaction.


John J said...

Thanks Greg (and Ben). I've never heard of Darondo, who has a MySpace page:

I'm listening to "Legs" from SXSW right now from the MySpace page.


JamesChanceOfficial said...

See more Darondo pix here: