SXSW Overflow 2011: Last Day! (Mal Blum, Zoe Boekbinder, Space Capone, & East Cackalacky Ascetic Marching Death Band)

Well, damn. I’d thought tonight (Wed., March 23rd) was going to only be the final-night-plus-one of the Super Happy Fun Land SXSW Overflow Fest extravaganza, but now I’m looking at the SHFL calendar and seeing that, erm, tomorrow night (and Friday, too) is marked as “SHFL closed for naptime!”

Can’t say I blame ’em — it’s got to be mind-numbingly exhausting running a venue, much less one that’s doing nonstop shows every. freaking. night for (probably) close to zero dollars, but what that means is, yep, tonight actually is the final night of the Overflow Fest.

With a heavy heart, I bid it adieu for another year; here’s what I think of the last handful of bands:

MAL BLUM & SIMON LITTLEJOHN: Looking like the night of sideways folkies, I swear… Most times, that’d make me facepalm and run far, far away — I mean, I like indie-folk as much as the next guy, but nearly a whole roster? — but I’m drawn in by Mal Blum‘s strangely-accented, almost childlike voice on the tracks I’ve heard so far, not to mention the lyrics that seemingly take oddball metaphors and drag them out far, far beyond their logical endings. Gut reaction: she’s like a female Joe Mathlete. Whoa.

(Bad part? Well, on Blum’s Website, she doesn’t list tonight’s show anywhere, skipping on ahead to Fayetteville, Arkansas tomorrow. Cross yr fingers, folks.)

ZOE BOEKBINDER: Wasn’t sure what to expect here and was pleasantly surprised; Zoe Boekbinder does unassuming, straight-ahead indie-folk with vocals that kick aside the standard pretty-voiced shtick, her voice sounding at times like Linda Perry (no, in a good way, don’t worry) and at a lot of others like the excellent Mirah. It’s sweet, quirky stuff.

SPACE CAPONE: Um. Okay…that Bee Gees falsetto seriously threw me off, especially when I saw it was coming from this bald, bearded dude wearing sunglasses he must’ve stolen from Curtis Mayfield. That said, hell, I’m liking this — very, very, very ’70s-ish funky, jazzy pop-soul that sounds a little like Maroon 5’s first album if those guys were crossbred with The Bar-Kays or something.

Here, decide for yourself; hold tight past that initial cringe factor:

THE EAST CACKALACKY ASCETIC MARCHING DEATH BAND: Okay, so these folks win on band name alone, right there. Unfortunately, they lose points for the music, which is messy, rambling, almost-folk strangeness that hits the right note on some tracks (the slide-heavy “Tule Lake”) but collapses in a shaggy, WTF?-inducing pile at others. (And no, they’re not a real marching band, just two people. Dang.) Although, yeah, they do win some points back for playing a saw. Love that…

BLACK MAGIC MARKER: Um. So…I know I’ve heard of Black Magic Marker before, but it turns out they’re utterly un-fucking-Googleable, so much so that I’m starting to doubt my own damn memory of seeing their name somewhere previously. They may be good, but sadly, I couldn’t tell you…

That’s it, y’all — get on out there & enjoy the last night of the fest…


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