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Matthew Houck, frontman of Phosphorescent, was wearing orange-tinted sunglasses and spent more than a half-hour on a sound check at Hype Hotel on Wednesday night. "Is this dude kind of a prima donna?" I asked my companions. But then he took the stage and redeemed himself. He gave a shout-out to the sound guys for working under such stressful conditions. And he apologized for wearing sunglasses indoors at night. "I feel like an asshole, but I have a medical condition," he said. All was forgiven. Phosphorescent played mostly soaring, electric alt-country tunes from its excellent, just-released new album, Muchacho. It reminds me of some of the best work of the recently deceased Jason Molina, aka Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co.
Trapper Schoepp & the Shades
By Sunday afternoon, SXSW had officially ended. I drank champagne and grapefruit juice outside a bar called Yellow Jacket Social Club, then headed to Freedmen's, a fancy cocktails-and-BBQ joint near the University of Texas. There, I tasted better brisket than I've ever had in Kansas City (so thick and fatty and succulent) and caught Trapper Schoepp & the Shades, a country-rock band (think Lucero or Gram Parsons) from Milwaukee. At the end of the set, they brought up a special guest: Jakob Dylan. Dylan's band, the Wallflowers, had opened for Eric Clapton at the Frank Erwin Center earlier in the day. Together, they performed the Band's "The Weight" and Dylan's "One Headlight." It was very casual, very loose. The place wasn't crowded at all. It felt like a good cap to the week: friendly musicians — some more famous than others — having fun, jamming out, eating barbecue.
• Adrian Grenier, at Mohawk Saturday night. He had his hair done up like Tom Cruise in Magnolia. A beautiful man.
• Daryl Hannah, at Freedmen's Sunday night. She has had quite a bit of work done, and the guy who appeared to be her boyfriend had (possibly fake) tattoos on his face.
• Eugene Mirman, at Stubb's for Nick Cave, and later at Mohawk for Local Natives, Wednesday night. Pretty regular-looking dude.
• Jared Leto, on the street near the Austin Convention Center, Thursday night. Technically I didn't see him, but my friend said he walked right past us.
Radkey's pop-punk won the attention of The New York Times, which covered the St. Joseph group on its ArtsBeat blog. Local singer-songwriter David George is currently a touring guitarist for John Fogerty, who performed at ACL Live at the Moody Theater Saturday evening. John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons were part of Alejandro Escovedo's closing party at the Continental Club, which also featured Peter Buck and Rosie Flores. And dozens of KC and Lawrence bands set up at Shangri-La, on the east side of town, and played the MidCoast Takeover showcase. On Saturday, there was a line out the door, down the street.