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March 19, 2011

SXSW 2011: G. Love, Rachael Ray, Tiny Victories, Baltimore House

g. love!Whew! The past few days have been a whirlwind here in Austin, Texas. Hi, it's Sam Sessa again, bringing you another update from the South by Southwest music festival.

I've been here since Tuesday, seeing and interviewing bands, as well as talking to industry and government folks. My main reason for going (I was sent here by WTMD and The Sun) was to find out why Austin (the "Live Music Capital of the World") has such a great music scene, and what Baltimore could do to help make ours better.

Here's the end result, a piece which runs in Sunday's paper.

After filing the piece, I headed out to catch G. Love (pictured, top), who played at one of celebrity chef Rachael Ray's parties. I shook Rachael's hand (omg!) and talked with G. Love  for a little while after the show. He's got a new, bluesy album he recorded with the Avett Brothers.

drew from baltimore house

I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of G. Love's music, but he seemed like a really nice, genuine guy. He talked about playing in Baltimore a lot when he was first coming up, and gave a shout out to longtime Baltimore favorites the Kelly Bell Band.

Then I plunged back into the wild & crazy downtown Austin scene for some more music.

I met up with Andy Rubin, owner of Cyclops books in Station North, and saw Stephaniesid, a chill indie rock band with keys, guitar, vocals, drums and a sax player. Stephanie, the lead singer, had an airy, interesting voice and a cute stage presence.

Stephaniesid was playing a showcase co-sponsored by Baltimore House, a recording studio run by a former Baltimore guy named Drew Schlegel. He's been in Austin for three years, where he plays in his band, records other bands and -- get this -- runs a snowball stand! Austinites love the egg custard and marshmallow, he said.

tiny victoriesAfter waiting in line for a while to see Das Racist, I gave up and had a couple drinks at an upstairs patio bar. Austin has a ton of outdoor bars, most with live music. With the temperature creeping up into the 80s and a steady breeze blowing, it was almost perfect outside.

The last noteworthy band of the night was Tiny Victories, a surprisingly Brooklyn electro-rock duo who played drums, keys and sang. You can download their single here for free, but the album versions don't do the live show justice. Their set was up, but the crowd demanded an encore, and so they stuck around and played one more.

I'm here until tomorrow morning, when I'm catching the early plane out of Austin and heading back east. See you then!

(Photos by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:03 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music, Sessa's Weekend Watch


Did you actually go and see a Baltimore band perform? Like one?

Yeah man! I saw Dan Deacon, the pharaoh of Baltimore's music dynasty, last night. I just got back east and need to rest my dancing feet, but I'll have a review first thing in the morning. Oh, and I shot a video of June Star (Andrew Grimm and pedal steel guitarist Dave Hadely) performing with the capitol building in the background. I'll rustle that up, too.

Awesome! I've visited Austin (and the Baltimore House!) a few times, and I can say that Baltimore Ballers makes a MEAN snowball. I miss hearing those guys play at the 8x10 (as Gonzo Circus), but I'm glad they're doing their thing in Texas.

Drew plays bass.

@Tom -- Great. And?

And - he plays the bass.


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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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