The Smithereens, along with Seven Mary Three, played a private party sponsored by Sun Microsystems at the SXSW conference in Austin last week. The band put on an excellent set including classics like "Behind The Wall of Sleep," "Room with a View," "Cigarette" and a couple of covers including "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Behind Blue Eyes." Even though this was a smaller-scale gig than when I saw them in November at Cow Palace, the band gave it their all right down to the finale with "A Girl Like You." Then they took it even further with a couple of encores that had Jim Babjak playing his Telecaster in the audience. For Smithereens fans, it was a great moment!
I managed to get some good photos and also a some video which I've posted on YouTube. Unfortunately, the sound on some of the videos is a bit distorted since I was very close to the speakers. I'll post the results of a backstage interview with Smithereens guitar player Jim Babjak in a few days. The Smithereens is one of the best classic American rock bands in thirty years, outlasting punk, new wave, synth-pop and dozens of pretenders. They've got a distinct sound, rich vocal harmonies and catchy, timeless melodies. It's music you just want to turn up to 11!
Watch for a new live album that's been recorded recently and should be out in May. There's also a tour shaping up that will take them through the east coast and the midwest. I hope they'll add some more west coast dates and make it to the bay area again this year.