Sherman’s SXSW 2017 Adventures

Sherman’s SXSW 2017 Adventures.

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This was my 8th trip to South By Southwest (SXSW), the worlds largest music festival held each year in Austin, TX. I saw a mountain of live music, I saw many friends, a swarm of bats and I ate an obscene amount of tacos.

Here are a few words about some of my favorite performances at this year’s SXSW that I was lucky enough to have witnessed:


Durand Jones and the Indications played a party put on by Beardbrand. They played a full set, not the usual SXSW 45 minutes or less. I love their record on Colemine Records, but wasn’t prepared for their live show. Where many (if not most) of the new so called “neo soul” acts mostly emulate earlier acts and performers, Durand and the Indications are their own breed of soul.  Top notch musicianship, non stop soul/funk with none of the shtick. They are the real deal. Do not miss any chance to see them play live and buy their album.


The Dexateens are a garage punk band from Alabama that I have wanted to see play live for years. This was my first chance and they did not disappoint. They delivered all of the rock that the tiny bar they were playing could hold. Extra props for bass player Matt Patton who flew in directly from his other band’s (The Drive-By Truckers) last tour date in Norway. Dedication to the extreme. Not a show I will soon forget.


Le Butcherettes climbed the wall and brought their distinct version of performance punk all the way from Guadalajara, Mexico. I had heard tales of their live shows and have enjoyed their first two LP’s. Live they are otherworldly in the innocence and raw power they unleash upon their unsuspecting audiences. I was at this showcase to see a band that I actually missed, but as with all SXSW “mistakes” this one brought a smile to my face and an experience I won’t forget.


The Levitation all day and night showcase at The Hotel Vegas is a non stop psych overload with 4 stages going simultaneously. I have attended this event every year I have attended SXSW and there are always surprises. Every year I have seen some of the best performances at this venue. If not for a friends text (thanks again Mark- I’ll get you that set list) I would have missed this one. I saw Matt Hollywood listed on one of the headlining spots but had planned to see see Dead Meadow to end the night. His name didn’t register as one of the founding members of one of my all-time favorite bands- The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Luckily the text message got me to the spot I should have been in and I was able to see Matt backed by members of the Warlocks play a full set of BJM’s early material, several songs that he claimed had never been played live before. It was an amazing show that I almost missed!


Each year I always see many new bands that are just getting started. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers don’t have an album out yet. They were just recently signed by my favorite label, Bloodshot Records. It takes a lot to catch and hold my attention at SXSW. They did. They are a country blues outfit that are as tight as a band can be with a front woman who channels sadness and despair like few can. The songs and the delivery had their audience enthralled and I for one can not wait to hear their new album out next month. If you like real country music, remember their name.


I was lucky enough to get to see Hurray For The Riff Raff twice in Austin. I have loved this band for a while and had not been able to previously see them play live. Their new album, “The Navigator”, has been on heavy rotation on my turntable since its release and I was very anxious to hear the band perform songs from it live. I was not ready for how good they were. Their front-woman, Alynda Segarra, is a powerful performer who captivates the audience with her intense emotional delivery. You can feel her love and her hatred. She lives inside her songs. One of the most beautiful moments I witnessed at this year’s SXSW was when Alynda was on stage at Waterloo Records and she hesitated, just for a split second, in mid song, right in the middle of the stage, surrounded by her band and the music that had came from inside her. You could see the satisfaction and pride that she felt for the music, that had been inside her for so long, to finally be unleashed into the world. It wasn’t the first or the last tear I shed at this years festival, but it was a perfect moment.

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Another SXSW surprise this year was getting to see the legend of soul, Archie Bell. He taught us to tighten up and took us on a very intimate review of his catalog with sing a longs and dance a longs galore. You just never know who you will get the chance to see at SXSW.


I have seen Jesse Dayton many times, both solo and with X and The Supersuckers. He’s a wild man. He’s a rock and roll guitar slinger like few others. On the last day of SXSW he was cranky and tired. He made it clear in no uncertain terms if you didn’t like Lightnin’ Hopkins you could leave. He then set down and between hilarious stories played some of the best slide guitar blues I have ever witnessed or heard. Oh and that’s Ian Moore, another Texas guitar legend sitting in on a few songs. This was at a fried chicken restaurant. We were sitting on hay bales. Only in Austin. Only at SXSW.

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I finished my SXSW 2017 with The Low Jinx Orchestra in the iconic Continental Club’s Gallery. The Gallery is a big living room equipped with a bar, four couches and some chairs. It’s VERY intimate. The Low Jinx Orchestra is a local Austin super group that has a weekly Sunday night performance and usually includes William Harries Graham (the crown prince of South Austin), Jon Dee Graham (the KING of SXSW), Abra Moore (Grammy winner), and Andrew Duplantis (Son Volt) . Special guests will stop in and and play a few songs with the band. During SXSW the special guests are always a surprise and this evening was no exception. There were performances by each of the Orchestra members including Amy Nicole Cook on vocals, guitar, bass and drums (she is also the creator of the iconic “i love you so much” mural)! Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers) told stories, played songs and did and interpretive dance. James McMurtry and Bonnie Whitmore showed us a glimpse into the depth of the Austin talent pool. One of the more beautiful moments of the evening was when the door man, Ben, came upstairs and gave one of the best performances of the entire evening. The sound guy from the chicken restaurant down the street also stopped in for a couple songs. Austin is overflowing with musicians and talent. You see it everywhere. I was lucky to have been sitting on a couch, in a room above a bar, on this evening. Beauty and love were everywhere.

If you want to see more pictures and some video, check out my Instagram account. For a complete list of all the performers I saw this year see below:

SXSW 2017

Day 1- Tuesday, March 14th

Whitehorse- Austin Corn Lovers Festival

Corinne Rose



The Zeros

Continental Club- Swollen Circus

Abra Moore w/ Jon Dee Graham and William Harries Graham


Day 2- Wednesday, March 15th

Waterloo Records

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Beach Slang

Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift

Modern English


Allison Crutchfield

Chastity Belt

Rattle Inn- Celebration By Beardbrand

Rusty Razors

Durand Jones and the Indications

Big Bang Bar- Baby Robot Media Showcase

The Band Ice Cream


Day 3- Thursday, March 16th

Whole Foods

Durand Jones and the Indications

Austin Convention Center- Flatstock Poster Show (with records)


Cheer Up Charlies- Brooklyn Vegan

Duchess Says

Frankie Rose

Le Butcherettes


Downtown Boys


Under the I35 Bridge


Hotel Vegas- Levitation

Cherry Glazerr


Royal Trux

Thousand Foot Whale Claw


Blind Suns

Mirror Travel


Al Lover



Flamingods (Bahrain)

Christian Bland and the Revelators

Matt Hollywood (of BJM)

Day 4- Friday, March 17th

Yard Dog- Bloodshot Party

Zach Schmidt

The Yawpers

Ha Ha Tonka

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers

Cory Branan



Downtown Boys

Spiral Stairs

Hurray for the Riff Raff

C-Boys Heart and Soul

Renaldo Domino

Archie Bell

The Iguanas

Day 5- Saturday, March 18th

Continental Club- Mojo’s Mayhem

Robyn Hitchcock w/ Allen Oldies Band

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers

Whitney Rose

Jon Dee Graham

Threadgills- Rebels and Renegades 2017

Mando Saenz

Kinky Friedman

Blackfoot Gypsies

The Grahams

Bonnie Whitmore


Sunny Sweeney

Ray Wylie Hubbard

James McMurtry


Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

Shangri La- Midcoast Takeover

Rachel Mallin and the Wild Type

Not A Planet

Day 6- Sunday, March 19th

Lucy’s 7th Annual South By South Austin Fried Chicken Revival

Jon Langford and the Far Forlorn

Ice Cold Singles

Brandy Zdan

Jesse Dayton

Jason Eady

Kelley Mickwee

Ray Wylie Hubbard

C-Boys-Chicken Shit Bingo

Mike Stinson

Continental Club Gallery

The Low Jinx Orchestra

William Harries Graham

Jon Dee Graham

Amy Cook

John Langford

Bonnie Whitmore

Mike Nicolai

Colin Gilmore

Betty Soo

Dustin Welch

Ben Todd

James McMurtry