At SXSW, bands get down to business.
Sure, it’s a big party, with lots of marquee names - Snoop Dogg! Keith Urban! Cee Lo! - hogging the spotlight. But it’s a party with a purpose, a place where everyone’s trying to take advantage of the global media and business gathering to hawk their wares and try to make a bigger name for themselves.
Louche Philadelphia rockers Low Cut Connie made their first trip to SXSW this year, even though with two albums of pounding piano and guitar greased rock and roll under their belts, they're far from a baby band.
By SXSW, standards, their schedule wasn't that packed. Just four gigs were planned over five days, though Daniel Finnemore, the British-born LCC guitarist, drummer and singer who front the band with piano man Adam Weiner, was also busy playing around town with his Birmingham, England band Black Mekon. (You can't see Finnemore in the picture because he's on the drums behind Weiner.)
Still, there was plenty to work to do. The band recently finished recording their third album at Dunham Studios in New York with Daptone records producer Thomas Brennock, who twiddled knobs on soul man Charles Bradley's recent albums. The Daptone Horns play on the album, which also includes guest appearaces from Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, Dean Ween and Jerry "The Geator" Blavat.
In Austin, the band, who recently started working with Ween manager Greg Frey, have been playing the music for labels, aiming to hook up with a deal to put the album out in the fall.
Their week started off right when they got a critic's sleeper pick in the Austin Chronicle, which wrote "you can practically smell the well liquor and pheremones wafting off Low Cut Connie," in recommending their Tuesday night show at Headhunter's Patio.
The band didn't expect a big crowd, but it turned out the place was packed, with industry types and regular people. "We totally kicked," Finnemore reported.
The next morning, the bright light of day brought the fresh challenge that tests the professionalism of a hard working SXSW band. Another day, another patio: A noontime gig at the Swing House Patio, whith maybe 20 people in attendance. "I'd like to thank all of your who schlepped out here for breakfast to start drinking this morning," Weiner said before the band leapt into the debauched "Rio," asking the assembled to "please make each other happy."
The band offered a tantalizing taste of the upcomng album, but more importantly conducted themselves as if they were playing before a packed sweaty house at 1 a.m., rather than as the first band on in a mostly empty concrete back yard.
With Weiner doing everything but standing on his head on his piano bench, they didn't let the uninspired setting stop them from arriving at their delirious best. It wasn't likely that anyone walked away unimpressed, presumably including the exec from Sire Records huddling with the band at the back of the room when the show was over.