Weekly scribe Caroline Collier also made the trip to Austin for South-by this year, and here are her reactions to some of Fort Worth’s representatives.
Bosque Brown: Local scenesters love to spread the gospel of Mara Lee Miller, who performs with a backing band under the nom de guerre Bosque Brown. To hear them tell it, she’s the paragon of cool in a wilderness of un-coolness. And while she is unique, I just don’t get the big fuss over her. The band’s SXSW-sanctioned showcase took place in a high-rise hotel downtown, and she and her five backing musos sounded uninspired and looked disorganized. Worse, they had to follow Denmark’s impeccable vocalist Teitur. Miller doesn’t need to worry, though. There’s nothing she could do other than, say, appear on American Idol that would turn her fans off.
Nuwamba: The soulster’s set could have been better and less hurried had it started on time – the club’s sound system was being temperamental – but the soon-to-be-New Yorker still pulled off some of his trademark crafty crooning.
Best Fwends: Nothing personal, but, frankly, these two young dudes embarrassed the Tarrant County music scene. For the umpteenth year in a row, the electronic duo was given a prime SXSW-sanctioned showcase, and they also had a spot at a trendy day-party, thrown by blogger/satellite radio host Brooklyn Vegan. I saw them both times, and at both places the band sounded like bad karaoke: simple drum loops beneath stupid lyrics that weren’t even stupid in a cute, ironic way. At one point at one of the shows, I overheard a guy ask his buddy, “Where could someone perform this kind of music?” When he was told “Fort Worth, I guess,” he asked rhetorically, “I wonder what goes on there?,” meaning “For the love of all that is holy, don’t ever let me wake up one day in Fort Worth.”
Calhoun, Stella Rose, The Frontier Brothers, Holy Moly: Maybe the best showcase of local rock talent I saw, and their day-party gig at Darwin’s Pub, on Sixth, wasn’t even sanctioned by South-by. Co-sponsored by Firelight Music Group, Vatican Apparel, Party Buckit, and the Weekly, “Fire and Brimstone,” as the show was called, represent’d the Fort and then some. And I’m not just saying that ’cause we co-sponsored the thing. After Calhoun closed out the set and everyone went nuts, the pub’s owner told me that ours was the best music he’d heard all week. A Cowtown-centric day-party for next year, hopefully at the same spot, is already in the works.
PPT: After four nights and days of guys with guitars and songs of woe, North Texas hip-hop trio PPT was a welcome relief. Pikhasso, Picnic, and Tahiti had the sizable crowd bouncing up and down and waving its arms to the good times.
Big Ben: Street poet Big Ben brings the notorious back to rap, combining hard driving beats with a gang-star mentality – in a good way. Sounding very East Coast-y rather than Dirty South-ish, Ben reflects on thug life while maintaining a chill vibe. Joined by a crew of large African-American men in shades, Big Ben’s show was sweet redemption for us.
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