This past SXSW wasn’t nearly as packed as it’s been in previous years, due no doubt to the crappy economy. But South-by’s loss was Fort Worth’s gain. This past annual Austin music festival was the best I’ve ever seen from both a professional and personal standpoint; professionally because while a lot of clubs were empty, the ones where some Fort Worth bands played were not.
On Friday, at least a couple dozen folks crowded Darwin’s Pub on 6th Street to dance along to cowpunking Holy Moly. From the first song to the last, they were there. At Dominican Joe Coffee Shop for the Fort Wizard Grab Bag –– featuring sets from The Burning Hotels, Fate Lions, Chatterton, Goodwin, and Rivercrest Yacht Club, among other acts (Fort Worthian and non) –– there were never any less than a couple dozen people seated or standing in the rather small space down in front, plus more people hanging out in the parking lot drinking their BYOBooze. On Saturday at The Ale House, Telegraph Canyon played to a few dozen people. Standing room only. From a personal standpoint, South-by 2010 was probably the least expensive and the oddest (in an intriguing way) trip I’ve made in 12 years or so. Case in point: On Friday night, I got to hang out at the fancy Four Seasons Hotel lobby, where native Austinite Matthew McConaughey read aloud a poem that stunned everyone –– they didn’t know whether to applaud or laugh. The next afternoon, some fellow Fort Worthians and I spent a good five or six hours at a place called Kung Fu Saloon drinking from a free keg of Lone Star. Yes, we floated it. And, yes, we all left decent tips. The plan for next year is simple: follow the free hooch, coach McConaughey on the finer points of dactylic hexameter before he gets up and asks a bunch of busy drunks for their undivided attention, and help expand Fort Wizard into possibly a two-day affair. Since as many people attend sanctioned shows as non, a non-sanctioned showcase like Fort Wizard can only get bigger and better.
On Saturday, the much-anticipated Fort Worth Sings for Haiti benefit concert will take place at Magnolia Green Park on the South Side. Slated to play are some of Fort Worth’s finest, including The Burning Hotels, Josh Weathers and the True+Endeavors, The Orbans, Holy Moly, Pablo and the Hemphill 7, Charlie Shafter and the Gnomes, Chatterton, Joey Green Band, Jason Eady, and Me and My Monkey. Admission to the daylong event is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. All proceeds will benefit Haiti relief efforts by Doctors Without Borders, the show’s charity sponsor.
The Cellar by TCU (2916 W. Berry St., 817-923-6116) is experimenting with hosting bands, starting on Friday, when Fort Worth punks Not Equal play. Opening will be an up-and-coming TCU alum, rapper Dru B Shinin. The show’s free and starts around 9:45 p.m.
The first few shows of the Weekly’s and Central Market’s Thursday Night Live are set. The free outdoor concert series will feature The Burning Hotels (April 1), Big Daddy Alright (April 8), Casey Thompson Band (April 15), 100 Damned Guns (April 22), and Kyle Sherman (April 29).
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