When I learnt that I will have to shell out 470 USD to attend the fav keynote addresses and listen to some good music, I was literally heartbroken. And understandably so – after all it means almost 24000 Indian Rupees. Couple that with the bad weather in the first weekend of South by South West 2009 at Austin, I sincerely thought I’m in for a serial bad luck (I missed this year’s Mardi Gras despite being in Austin). Next weekend brought good news – luckily, there were plenty of avenues to find good music for ‘free freaks’ like me.
Having wandered through Austin Downtown streets in the last 2 days of SXSW Film and Music Festival, I could honestly say – KatzenJammer girls blew me away. They were the best of all the bands that were ‘free’ (Metallica wasn’t free). But, I actually just ‘bumped’ into them. On friday late night (well, technically it would be saturday), while wandering through the 3rd Street, we (Sankar and me) found four girls playing rather old school musical instruments. In the first song, all I could hear was ‘Oh yeah. All right‘. But the energy was infectious. A couple of songs more and we were hooked. After the little road side show, they said that they would be playing next afternoon at ThreadGill’s. Understandably, it was a must on our to do list for SXSW on Saturday.
Threadgill’s was packed as we entered. On a bright sunny day, people were sitting on chairs and on the grass -donning a cap, holding a beer can/glass/bottle in one hand and a camera on the other. I found a seat nevertheless and started doing what everybody else was doing – enjoying Norwegian Music.
The Norwegian girls played better than the ‘demo’ last night. And it was amplified by the sound system at the bar and made enjoyable by the high energy songs. An interesting thing was that the girls took turns on each instrument. With almost every song, they kept changing who’s playing what. The instrument with a smiley is called Contrabass Balalaika. The instrument on the extreme right is Accordion, and reminds me of the song from Amar Akbar Anthony [here’s the youtube video]. Something really funny struck me. In the movie song too, Vinod Khanna was playing 4 instruments too!
At the end of an hour long show, KatzenJammer did the crowd adieu. The audience gave the girls from Norway a high energy applause. They sure did deserved it. I enquired about a CD, but they haven’t had any with them. And that was a surprise indeed – this is a Music Festival for Christ’s sake!
Please check out KatzenJammer’s videos on youtube, their Myspace profile where you can listen to the songs too, and their website. Trivia: Interestingly, KatzenJammer is also a British Piano Musical Comedy duo.
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