SXSW Day 3: Soundgarden, Band of Skulls, Capital Cities, Troker, Sam Roberts Band

Another amazing day, and another reminder of the merits of live music.  I was blown away by the quality of performances today, and even more impressed by the layering of sounds that you just can’t get via mp3 or cd these days.

We started out at the crack of noon, after getting in at 3 a.m. the night before, and we headed out to the convention center to pick up our wristbands for the iTunes Festival.  While we are ambling around we heard some amazing music coming out of the International Day Stage, so we wandered in.  Stumbled across the first amazing find of the festival: Troker, a jazz/funk/fusion jam band from Guadalajara, Mexico with horns and a DJ.  They were having so much fun, it was infectious to the rest of it.  You couldn’t help but smile and cheer them on.  They found a new fan here!

We hung around a bit to see the buzz band The Dum Dum Girls, but found them a bit underwhelming considering the crazy hype.  So we headed out to get in line at the ACL Live Theater for the iTunes Festival.  Wow, what a venue.  The acoustics in this theater are unreal, and have set a new standard for me.

The iTunes Fest started with Capital Cities, who were the next big surprise of the day.  While they have catchy tunes, their recordings sound a bit flat to me.  Not live.  Wow, the trumpeter alone could put on a show, and they all had so much energy.  They even threw in a cover of the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive, with some of Weezer’s Sweater Song mashed in.  Really pumped up the crowd.

Band of Skulls put on a solid show, with their juicy, big sounds.  But they aren’t a dynamic band, so the energy in the room died down a little.

We were all there to see Soundgarden perform the Superunknown album from beginning to end for its 20th anniversary.  It was the first time the band ever played the whole album front to back, which was cool.  But sadly, though the playing was masterful, it seemed perfunctory with little energy.  Chris Cornell can really belt it out still, and his voice sounds just like it does 20 years ago. Glad I was there, but on the way out the door we raved more about Capital Cities than we did Soundgarden.

The band we really wanted to see was Royal Blood, but we didn’t get in to the packed solid Latitude 30.  So we headed over to Maggie May’s to catch the Sam Roberts Band.  Wow, talk about a great show.  The band was tight, and they sounded so much better than their recordings.  I would see them again in a heartbeat.

Today we are trying to get into our first party, as we’re on a mission to see Royal Blood while we can.  Wish us luck!

Photos from Day 3:

Troker

Troker

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts Band

Sam Roberts Band

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