Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, a.k.a. Sid ‘n’ Susie, blew us away at the Pop Culture Press party on Saturday afternoon, and then again later that night at The Drink. Backed by their fantastic band of Paul Chastain, Greg Leisz, Tony Marsico, & Ric Menck, they stormed through ‘60's classics from their upcoming Under The Covers Vol. 1 album like a loose locomotive. But that’s not to say the band wasn’t tight and excellent, or the harmonies weren’t scintillating, cause they were. They rose above minimal rehearsals and the traditional no SXSW sound checks to deliver two very special performances.
The nighttime show at The Drink was particularly memorable, as the crowd overflowed into the street. Many not lucky enough to get in were content to watch the band’s backsides through the club’s front windows. To say the setting was, uh, "intimate" would be an understatement, but the tight surroundings and tiny stage only enhanced the performance. We in the audience knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime special show. Susanna seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself, and looked quite moved at the constant adoration. That trademark smile rarely left her face. Matthew played ringmaster, keeping the pandemonium onstage in some semblance of order, and did I mention how great and versatile the band is?
Highlights for me were "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," "Different Drum," and of course Sue’s dedication of the Left Banke’s "She May Call You Up Tonight" to Love Expert Steve Carosello! And kudos to my old buddy Paul Chastain for perfectly nailing Michael Brown’s original piano part! Go Paulie!
Susanna Hoffs, Rick Menck, & Matthew Sweet rocking the Pop Culture Press Party.
Susanna gettin' dreamy at The Drink, with the great Tony Marsico laying down the grooves behind her.
That trademark smile!
Susanna Hoffs, Tony Marsico, Paul Chastain, & Matthew Sweet.
My old buddy Ric Menck mugging with yours truly after the show...