The music industry virtually shut down this past week while every flack, hack, and sad-sack musician in the land converged on Austin, Texas, for the huge showcase convention SXSW (short for South by Southwest). There are panel discussions and such, but the big draw is the bounty of showcases. There's Mary Karlzen and wonderful newcomer Jewel sharing a club stage with three other acts. And over there Bettie Serveert, Yo La Tengo, Guided By Voices, and Railroad Jerk make up one bill. And so on.
I don't know, but it seems like a showcase convention around here all the time. Just pretend there's less humidity and lots more music-biz weasels around, and a typical week in Miami could be a South by Southeast, minus the panel discussions.
Tonight (Thursday) at Club Steel (a new joint at 841 Washington Ave. on South Beach) Riot Squad continues the reggae showcases initiated last week by Le Coup. Over at Blue Steel (no relation), powerhouse singer-songwriter-guitarist Marianne Flemming debuts her new band, Flem, with the New England folk slinger Rachel Bissex opening and special guests including Laura Sue Wilansky, Ben Peeler (of Jodi and the Rodeo), and Rose Guilot (of Black Janet). If you prefer instrumental rock A yes, there is such a thing A catch Mosquito at the Silver Dollar. And red-hot-on-radio (in rotation at 23 stations, with play on nine others) singer Jolynn Daniel holds forth at Rose's.
Tomorrow (Friday) rockers Tuen take over the Edge. At Rose's the funky Baloney Sandwich celebrates the release of its CD (which I find only slightly less exhilarating than the horn-driven band's live shows). They'll be joined by South by Southwest veterans I Don't Know. And at Squeeze it's the Electric Carnival event with Super Bad Something, Shadow's new band. And the renovated Capone's Flickerlite Lounge in Hollywood debuts live music with blues specialists Midnite Johnny and Smokestack Lightnin', who also play the next night.
The festival continues on Saturday, when those p-whippin' funk rockers Jennifer Culture join the funny-cool Crash Basket at Lefty's, which boasts an excellent sound system. And in one of those shows that threatens to go down in history, Load, Jack Off Jill, Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, and Smite play the Phoenix.