After attending and speaking at the SXSW Interactive conference this year I deliberately extended my stay for the SXSW Music portion for multiple reasons. Although the interactive conference was much stronger than the music portion in terms of speakers and panels [I mean come on, I'd rather spend quality time with Clay Shirky over Little Steven anyday - read old rockers who don't pay attention should keep quiet please] the live shows and the day parties lived up to their usual exemplary standards.
First up I think I’ve attended SXSW for at least 15 years; second, I wanted to spend quality time with one of the South’s finest rock ensembles, my friends known as the band Dead Confederate, and third, because I wanted to witness first hand the unsigned band that Hardy from Dead Confederate had told me was Austin’s finest – Ume. I bet well, my hand was strong.
Ume can not be pigeon-holed so I refuse to try. They simply have passion and firepower, something that has been missing in rock music for some time. They may not be absolutely unique – as in you will find elements of Dinosaur Jr, The Breeders and yes, Sonic Youth, but let’s admit that those influences are not shabby.
I saw them perform 5 times all over Austin during SXSW with only one official SXSW showcase. Lauren, the group’s leader, bewitched me at every show – she is nothing less than incendiary as both a front-woman and a guitarist. She is disarmingly fragile in public yet completely in control of her art, her instrument, her songs on stage. She is unassuming and humble, polite to a fault and caring [she called a friend who was driving me back to my hotel to ensure that she was ok to drive.] Lauren cares on a grand scale yet lives only for her music. This is not hyperbole; Ume are not being touted as the next big thing by Perez Hilton nor are they championed as saviors of music and are not yet lauded by music blogs beyond the Moose. I suspect that may change and that may be why they have a few solid record label deals on the table as I write.
During SXSW, WOXY.com, the online radio station out of Cincinnati OH, set up shop to broadcast multiple bands live from EAR studios in East Austin. It was during this session that Ume played a new, as yet untitled song – enjoy and stay tuned as I believe they’re here to stay.
Ume Live Video – Ume Live at The Mohawk Austin at SXW 09
More live video – From Nitesatx blog
Ume MP3s MP3s from the Sunshower EP