Postcards From SXSW – The Theater Fire on Smog, Jandek and Adult Swim

The Theater Fire wraps up their coverage of SXSW with reviews of Smog, Jandek and Tim and Eric. Thanks guys!

Here’s the Saturday report.

We stood in line for over an hour at Antone’s to see Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd before the word spread that he had cancelled. It was a great disappointment to miss seeing this soul legend. We headed over to the Central Presbyterian Church to catch some of Jandek. I don’t know anything about this Houston legend and after hearing a few songs live, I know even less. I guess I just don’t get it. Gothic, droney, and loosely improvised, what I saw was a little creepy (especially in a church), but not very interesting.

We were really there to see Bill Callahan. He was accompanied by Joanna Newsome on piano and Elizabeth(?) Warren on Violin (or maybe Viola) who both made some very creative contibutions to the set. Bill did beautiful versions of “Strayed”, “Cold Discovery”, “Cold Blooded Old Times”, “Rock Bottom Riser”, and two new songs from his new CD, due out in April, including one called called “Sycamore” that really showed a new level of maturity and depth to his songwriting. I’ve been following this guy since “Julius Ceasar” and he just keeps getting better and better. This was definitely the best Smog show that I’ve ever seen both in sound and performance. I’m not sure why it was billed as Bill Callahan, but I purchased a two song CD called “Diamond Dancer” and it looks like he might start releasing under his own name. Is this the end of “Smog”? Either way, before the first song of his set was over, I had completely forgotten about missing Charles Wright and thankful that I hadn’t missed Bill’s performance.

The last show we watched before packing up and heading back to Fort Woth, was Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric. It was like wathing a double episode of the TV show. Between the handful of live skits, including a special performance by Uncle Muscle Hour, they showed alot of new video for the TV show and included a shameless promotion for the Tom Goes To The Mayor DVD coming out soon. The show was kicked off by DJ Dougg Pound “In The Mix”, who made everbody uncomfortable by telling bad jokes and playing bits of the worst DJ music and samples of the last 20 years. It was great.

That’s it for SXSW 07. We had a great time, saw some great shows and got to play for people from all over the world. Thanks for letting us be a part of your coverage. We’ll pass along any photos or other items as soon as we can.

Thanks again,
Don

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2 Responses to “Postcards From SXSW – The Theater Fire on Smog, Jandek and Adult Swim”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Yay! Thanks for the great review!

    Elizabeth (violin)

  2. Curtis says:

    This is Curtis from the Theater Fire. I’d just like to say that I thought Jandek was challenging and great. I’ve been following him for awhile, and getting to see him perform in a church from 10 feet away feels like an accomplishment. Like I finally licked my way to the center of a tootsie-pop, or shared a beer with L.Ron Hubbard.
    Jandek annointed us with a line of wisdom: “It isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It just is. Don’t be mad.”
    That’s generally how one should approach the music of Jandek.