This wristband and badge business at SXSW was becoming less and less believable to me. Keen on seeing Mirah play at Antone’s, I showed up to the venue about two hours before her set. For my non-badge/band self, cover was eight bucks. And there wasn’t a line at all. Bingo.
Getting to a show early not only promises entrance, but also means you’re going to get to see some rad new bands. Thus I discovered my new love, Theresa Anderson. If you crossed the great Swedish music export with the soul of New Orleans, this is who you’d have. A one woman band, she juggled instruments ranging from the fiddle, a dulcimer, guitar, xylophone, and snare drums, looping one into an energetic beat before bouncing onto the next one. (She even played barefoot, so as to better hit the pedals with her toes). Topping it off, her vocals were sweet and soulful, bringing it all together.
Her songs were sometimes sunny, otherwise dance-able, and always fun pop. For one song, she told the audience that her guest drummer would be Smokey Robinson, and then gestured to a record player on a stool that played a Smokey album as her percussion. Just having finished her second album, Hummingbird Go!, she apparently records most of her songs in her kitchen (adding to my love of women who do creative things in their kitchen). Fitting of the twenty minute time slot of SXSW shows, though, Theresa Anderson was finished in a blink, quickly dismantling her many instruments, pedals, and the rug she had put down to play upon.
My old love, Mirah, took the stage next, petite and barefoot as well. I first heard Mirah in someone’s living room in my early twenties, when I went home with a girl who put on Advisory Committee as we sat on her couch and talked. I’ve since loved Mirah’s sometimes tiny, sometimes epic songs of love and quirky-ness. She mostly played tracks from a new album (have I mentioned yet that nearly every band at SXSW is promoting a new album?), but ended with the dramatic song Cold, Cold Water (swoon).
What doesn’t behoove Mirah is the setting of playing in a bar–she at one point asked everyone to stop talking, because she sang so quietly (this was in response to an audience that yelled ‘more vocals!’ to the sound guy, as if we were in charge). Even standing in the second row, it was hard to hear all of the nuances of Mirah’s new songs.
Points, though, for her girl guitarist/bongo-ist and girl drummer. I was getting tired of seeing guys do so much at SXSW. Where are the ladies? I found myself thinking at so many showcases. My last night of SXSW, at the Perez Hilton party, would give me some good answers.