This Land is Sharon’s Land – SXSW 2010

Broken Bells. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Spoon. The Walkmen. Visqueen. All playing on the same night. And get this – on the same bill!

Where’s this happening? Well, it could only be at the 2010 South By Southwest Music & Media Conference, held in Austin, Texas. It’s where I am now, and will be, for the next 4 days.

In case you’re not familiar with the music portion of annual event, it’s a five-day convergence of hundreds of artists from all over the world, often playing numerous times on more than 80 stages. That Broken Bells/Spoon/Sharon Jones show I mentioned? That was just the first night.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ve recovered from the jet lag, two-hour time change, standing next to Country Joe McDonald while waiting for a taxi at the airport, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ blistering show last night. Especially that last one I mentioned.

The Dap-Kings set the tone for a full-on soul/funk/gospel experience with their brilliant horn and rhythm sections before Sharon sauntered out and immediately set the place ablaze with her stage presence. Wearing a slinky new green dress she’d bought to coincide with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, she proceeded to lay down some of the funkiest dancing this side of vintage James Brown. And that voice. Good heavens, what a voice. Sent chills up my back numerous times. Seriously.

I don’t mention Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings just because we’re carrying their new album, I Learned the Hard Way, on April 6 (even though you will want to hear it), but because she’s simply one of the best live acts there is. Please see her if you get a chance.

I could expound at length upon the Broken Bells, too, but did that in a previous post. Also managed to squeeze in scintillating sets from Bowerbirds and Califone, and caught a discussion panel entitled: “How Will We Listen To Music in 2020?” Apparently we’re all gonna be sharing music via telepathy. Kidding. So for now … that is all.

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