Trying To Get To You

Friday, March 14, 2008

SXSW: Day Two

I didn't see as many artists last night as I would have liked to. There were ridiculously long lines as several of the venues I wanted to get into. So it was a good night to have a some drinks with friends, walk down 6th street and take in the sights and sounds.

I did get to see Eli Reed & the True Loves, who played a fine set. The band has gotten better since I last saw them; tighter, more confident and increasingly self-assured. Eli has developed as a singer and the crowd at Club DeVille was genuinely into the show. But there's something missing - sex. A great (male) soul singer, black or white, has more than a bit of the seducer in them, and right now, Eli is way too nice. "Nice" and "soul" do not mix. A bit of the nasty would do this band good, and I'm willing to bet they've got it in them.

I've been anxious to see Alice Russell since last spring when I first heard her. So I when she began her set at the Elephant last night, I was excited. The show started slowly and I was beginning to have a feeling of buyer's remorse. But she gathered strength as the set went on and there were moments (albeit fewer than I was hoping for) when I was thinking, "She's got it." My biggest criticism of Alice would be that her songs, for the most part, are not a strong enough match for her very wonderful voice. They fall into what I call the "Giant Step trap"; vibey and cool but nothing to hang your hat on.

The relative lack of strength of Alice's songs became apparent when toward the end of the set she did her best song, "Hurry On Now," and the energy of the room immediately shifted. People started getting out of their seats to dance and it was just joyful in the club. She followed with a cover of a White Stripes song (I'm forgetting which one) and the joint erupted. When the band finished, the audience demanded an encore - and they got one.

One of the best things I saw all night was a band playing on the street. I didn't get their name, but they were doing absolutely nailing some folk and gospel songs.

Here's the scene on 6th Street:

More action to come.


Anonymous said...

Have a nice day, have a nice week.
Please, come to my blog and vote your lovely hits from 80s. Let's go to make our top ten!
DJ Kostas.

Anonymous said...

Alice Russell is my Queen of the British soul scene and Jamie Lidell is my King. If you haven't heard him yet I strongly advise you check out both his albums Multiply and Jim!