Earvolution reviews Attic Jam SXSW
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 21 16:36:16 CDT 2007
On the way back downtown to catch Rachel Fuller's and Pete Townshend's Attic Jam at La Zona Rosa, I learn that the music scene's saturation of Austin life even permeates the transportation industry: our cab driver was extremely fluent in all forms of music and knew the city's clubs and their denizens quite well. Getting to La Zona Rosa at the same time as the Attic Jam was scheduled to begin, we encountered a short line to get in. The venue dropping the price of the show once Townshend played turns out to be a bit of a mixed blessing. While we wait unnecessarily in line, Townshend opens the show with an acoustic version of "Drowned." The cashier dutifully dropped the price while cheerfully making sure everyone knew that Townshend would be coming on and off for the next 2 1/2 hours. Further reason to keep calm: when Townshend is in the building for an Attic Jam, there is but one closing act.
Hosting a bill that caused her to blurt she was so excited "she could pee herself," Fuller welcomed Alexi Murdoch, Willy Mason, Martha Wainwright and Joe Purdy with lavish introductions. Each performer played a song before Townshend and Fuller would join them on stage. Without exception, each musician had a look on their face that expressed their amazement that they were not only on stage with the legendary guitarist but that Townshend was accompanying them on their material. Purdy opted for one of Townshend's songs and their acoustic duet of "Let My Love Open The Door" transformed the song from a cocky demand to a yearning plea. Ever the comic, Townshend kept the mood light, good-naturedly letting the various singer-songwriters shine while letting his star provide the glow. Due to running late, Townshend's closing set may have been cut short and although possibly historic, proved slightly disappointing.
Accompanied by Fuller, Townshend sang "In The Ether," the weakest effort off of The Who's recent Endless Wire before picking up the guitar and closing the show with what he believed to be the first ever public performance of "I Can't Reach You" from The Who Sell Out. Given the wealth of material at his disposal, the performance of an obscure track from 40 years ago felt a tad anticlimactic.
-Brian in Atlanta
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