SXSW 2010 Day 3 With Doug Burr, Lights and Son Lux

The One21music journey on day three of SXSW 2010 was a day of two great bookends with hours of waiting in between.  I started the day this afternoon at the Ramble Creek Recording Studio Day Show and ended the evening in the belly of the SXSW beast with 100,000 in Austin’s music home Red River Street.   In between I noshed on ceviche, watched a mildly interesting R&B act, an entertaining post-rock noise drone band and a scary avant garde minimalist blues racket band; caught-up with the rest of the One21music crew at the HM free evening showcase and wandered the very crowded streets of Austin, Texas.

SXSW is a major music industry conference that attracts music artists, journalists, label executives, agents and government agencies from all over the world.  Sometimes in the rush to meet as many people as we can, take advantage of as much of the free food as possible, gather all of the free swag, catch the right best bands from the 15,000+ acts performing and,oh yes, find a parking place we just might lose track of why we care about all of this.  Here is why.

Ramble Creek Studio

These are the generations of families, at the Ramble Creek Studio Day Show, gathered around some musicians to celebrate a great day in Austin with music and laughter.  It was a spectacular way to start the day.

Doug Burr – Ramble Creek Studio Day Show

As you can see it was an idylic setting in the backyard of the Ramble Creek Studios as they celebrated some of their Doug Burrfavorite artists.  We were there to see Christian music artist Doug Burr, but I received an special bonus prize when two of favorite secular artists preceded Doug to the stage (really a covered porch).  Centro-matics Will Johnson played an ethereal set of Texas alternative music and Monahans played smoking set of noisy, droning alt-country.

Then Doug Burr set down to the mike with a group four musicians playing organs, guitars and  banjos. Doug Burr performed a set of music with obvious influences to Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde era and that was just fine with us.  His sad, wistful singing style carried us away into his mournful, redemptive songs.  At times I swore he was challenging a catalogue of hymns.  I was mesmerized along with the crowd and peace settled into that backyard.

Lights- The Prague

Lights, the electro-pop phenom, is quiet popular.  I arrived at this dungeon of a club about one hour before Lights was scheduled to hit stage and over that hour I saw the broadest group of fans fill the space.  I don’t have a picture of Lights because it was impossible for me to get close enough to the stage.  That crowd consisted of fully bearded hipsters (guys, of course), bubbly teen looking and acting girls (over 21 club so not really teens), European techno caricatures and geeks and nerds of all types.  Lights herself was fresh faced young woman playing driving electro-pop with her three person band (her and a guy on synths and a drummer).  She bounced around the stage with her keytar (combination guitar and electric piano) and displayed a much stronger singing voice than I anticipated.  Lights set was just what you would expect from synth-pop, in all the good ways.

Son Lux- Barbarella

There are stories from people who saw John Coltrane live that at some points in a song, Coltrane would throw his sax to the floor and would start poiunding his chest and making musical sounds with his voice.  When asked, he would say that he caould not always get the sounds he eas hearing through his sax.

Son LuxI remembered that story as I watched electronica artist Son Lux deliver an awe inspiring set of electronica music that felt more like hard be bop with a driving beat.  With his excellent drummer, Son Lux laid down a thick, intense platform of drone noise and sound over which played his synthesizer and computer.  Son Lux lurched, convulsed and danced to his own rhythms as his songs caught up with his vision on stage.  The few lyrics in Son Lux’s songs can be seen as faith cries, as in the lyrics to his opening number, “Believe my words”, repeated over and over.  By the end I was no even trying to write notes because the audience and I were mesmerized.


  1. Britton B. says:

    Thanks for the sentiment and the coverage, Chuck. Very glad that you enjoyed what you were able to see of the Ramble Creek Day Show.

    A few corrections:

    - The show did not take place in the backyard of the studio. The show was graciously hosted by friend of music, Callie Snyder (aka Show Lush). Credit where due.

    - I’m not %100 on this (I’ll have to check the footage), but I am pretty sure that Doug Burr brought out more of an evangelically aware, yet secular-ly slanted set.. but, it’s hard to tell, as most of the musicians that participated in the show yesterday don’t draw hard lines between secular and spiritual music.

    - Monahans. Noisy? Yes. Droning? Definitely. But, I just looked up Alt Country on wikipedia.. and, I don’t think it’s a fit. Maybe this one: I like calling it Landscape Rock, but when I looked to see how others might define/describe that style of music, I just get this:

    Anyway. Thank you again for the kind words. Hope to see you at next years show.

  2. ian says:

    Doug Burr wrote an entire album of hymns……….I would say thats pretty spiritual

  3. Britton B. says:

    Point missed, Ian. I am familiar with The Shawl (performed by Doug Burr), as I recorded, co-produced and mixed it. I was mostly being sarcastic.. which I guess was hard to “read”. I wasn’t suggesting that Doug Burr is not a Christian or a “spiritual” artist, rather that maybe the definition for what that means is broader than is suggested here at one21. Additionally, I found the labels/descriptions attached to Doug, Will and especially Monahans to be disturbingly inaccurate.. which is what prompted my post in the first place. It’s okay. Let’s all be friends anyway.

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