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  South By Southwest 2006 - Day 3 dayshows  



Austin, TX


Super XX Man, Knife in the Water, Peel, Black Lipstick, Palaxy Tracks

Reviewed by:
  Tracers and PostLibyan  
Photographs by:



The third day at SXSW this year is what Tracers likes to call "amateur night for drinkers" aka, St. Patrick's Day. We are both ethnically Irish, and serious concert-goers rather familiar with drinking, so it is always amusing to us to watch the otherwise relatively sober crowds get hammered in order to celebrate our ethnicity. Thanks guys, really!

Anyway, this day started out with the Peek-a-boo Records barbeque at a gallery on South Congress. When we arrived things were running late, so we wandered across the street to have authentic Mexican food. I had the "Mexican noodles" which i have never seen on a menu in Atlanta and were awesome. Thus fortified with solid food, we headed back to the barbeque to have a few free beers from the keg.

Portland, Oregon 's Super XX Man were ending their set when we arrived. They played a sort of light acoustic guitar pop that was somewhat enjoyable. Granted, we saw the last song and a half, and that is all i know of the band, but i enjoyed what i heard.

Super XX Man.

After a very efficient set-up, my favorite Austin band, Knife in the Water took the stage. This is a 5-piece with a female keyboardist/backing vocalist, lead vocalist/guitarist, bassist, drummer, and pedal guitarist; except that the pedal guitarist didn't play for most of the set, making the band effectively a 4-piece. But that's okay, because Knife in the Water is so strong that they can carry their tunes with the slightly sparser sound.

Knife in the Water: wonderful male voice.


The Peek-a-boo Records barbeque took place outside, in the backyard of a gallery. It was a nice day, most cloudy, with a threat of rain. Having primarily seen Knife in the Water in a dark, mostly empty Atlanta club, it was a pleasant surprise to see them in the daylight, surrounded by attentive listeners.

Knife in the Water: bassist with eyes closed in enjoyment.


Their music is hard to describe because they change genres so much. The lead singer has a slightly warbling tenor which is a really beautiful voice. The keyboardist backs him up with her equally sweet voice to great effect, and their songs fluctuate between old timey light jazz pop, old country, and rockabilly. They are, i guess, kind of a retro-band, but the music that they do is so beautiful i do not mind.

Knife in the Water: keyboards and harmonies.

This is the fourth time i have seen them play (twice they played in Atlanta to me, Tracers, and the staff at The EARL), and i do not think i have seen them play the same song twice. I also have to admit that i own their entire recorded catalog to date, and i did not recognize a single song. Still, it was stunningly beautiful. What an amazing band. I have heard a rumor that they are recording again, which hopefully means that they will tour again. If they come near wherever you are, you need to go see them. Knife in the Water do not disappoint.


Knife in the Water have this haunting quality to their sound. I think it is the combination of vocals, echoed guitar, and beautiful keyboards that make it so unique and interesting. I'm continually amazed by the strength of their infrequent live appearances, and the weather just enhanced the experience.


Up next, after a considerable setup intermission, was new Austin band Peel. This was a young band of very hung-over kids. They were a five-piece with two guitarists, a keyboardist, a bassist, and a drummer. Both of the guitarists also sang. They played a sort of garage rock reminiscent of The High Strung, with Sterolabish keyboards. I enjoyed their music, even though it was kind of sloppy today and overall very hungover (most of the band looked a little green this afternoon), but i thought that they played a bit too long. That is to say, i enjoyed them, but as a young band they didn't quite have the songs to play for 45 minutes. Still, there is potential there, and Peel are an Austin band to look out for.

Peel: drummer looking skeptically at keyboardist.


Peel were playing at a disadvantage this afternoon. Obviously not at their best, they still strived hard and managed to produce a jangly distorted rock. Both vocalists had their good and bad moments, but I had to attribute that to the acknowledged hangovers. I think if they had played longer, I would have grown quickly tired, but all in all I can hear potential in the band.

Peel: rocking out, hungover.


The patio of the gallery slowly filled up as we waited for Black Lipstick to take the stage. Neither Tracers nor i had ever seen the band before last night, but based on the strength of that performance we were looking forward to seeing them again. They played mostly the same set, which is unsurprising considering half of the band lives in Austin and half lives in New York City . They sounded great, but i think they sounded better at Latitude. I enjoyed seeing them, and would love to catch the band at The EARL some night on tour, if that ever happens.

Black Lipstick: lead (shiny) guitar, and bass.

Black Lipstick: drummer Elizabeth Nottingham.


Black Lipstick played a similar set to the previous evening, but they still had an infectious energy that seemed to be drawn from the crowd filled mostly with family and friends. Toward the end of their set, two members of The Octopus Project joined the band for a guitar jam. It was funny, and seemed to please everyone.

Black Lipstick: in action during the day.


After Black Lipstick geared out (and we had the chance to talk with them), Palaxy Tracks took the stage in a reversal of last night's band order. The band looked very hungover, especially lead guitarist Ted Cho, but still i was impressed. This band is much better in concert than on album. (I offer this opinion as an excuse the Brendan for the fact that i have yet to finish my review of their latest album.) Anyway, they pretty much played the same set as last night, only this time i heard the entire thing. Very enjoyable.

Palaxy Tracks rock out under the hot pepper lights.


Palaxy Tracks were another band whose music was enhanced by an outdoor setting. Without the confines of a normal venue, the instruments seem to overlap more, and Durham 's voice sounds fainter and more hushed than ever. The strength and clarity of the music made them an excellent opener for The Octopus Project, at least theoretically.

Palaxy Tracks: lead guitarist Ted Cho.


The Octopus Project was scheduled to play next, but there is such a buzz on this band that the patio was getting over-crowded, and so we headed out to catch a quick rest before the evening's festivities

Related Links:

Read the entire South by Southwest 2006 review:
    Day 1: Dayshow
    Day 1: Night showcases
    Day 2
    Day 3: Dayshow
    Day 3: Night showcases
    Day 4: Dayshow
    Day 4: Night showcases
Added bonus material:
    Photo gallery: Signs around Austin
    Photo gallery: hollow-bodied guitars at SXSW06
    Photo gallery: Pedal fetishism
In addition, some of these acts have been reviewed before. Links within the review point you to the appropriate places.


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