Amy LaVere - SXSW, Antone's, 3/13/08
Taking up a position next to the stage while waiting for the first set of music, the legendary venue Antone's began to seem eerily familiar, considering that this was the first time I'd ever stepped foot in the place; by the time Amy LaVere took the stage, it felt like a comfortable place I'd been coming to for years. Tonight's two sets here were revelatory on any number of levels. Although I knew of Amy LaVere, I'd not had the privilege of hearing her music until this show, and little did I suspect I'd hear some of the best blues/rock power trio music ever, anchored by Amy with her upright bass and vocals.
With the additional elements of jazz and folk and some terrific songwriting, Amy's set was at the level of the best live music I've ever heard. Along with Paul Taylor on drums, Steve Selvidge backed Amy with some of the most awesome electric guitar work I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Standing a few feet from him as he played, it was extraordinary to see the music seem to flow effortlessly from his guitar, working at a level I'd only encountered before from Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Fogerty.
Check out her debut album, This World is Not My Home (2006) and her second and most recent release, Anchors & Anvils (2007) which includes many of the songs she played last night, such as "Overcome", "People Get Mad", "Pointless Drinking", and the killer song "Killing Him". Amy explains..."A friend had seen a woman on the news who'd just murdered her husband of 30 years. As they're leading her away in handcuffs she's screaming, 'Killin' him didn't make the love go away!' And I thought, 'My God, if that's not a statement of devotion…'" Amy is based in Memphis, her talent is huge, and seeing her set was one of the best moves of SXSW. I had no idea at that moment, but her set also proved the ideal lead-in for what was coming next at Antone's.