Hole in the Wall, Sunday, March 22

As a South by Southwest Sunday night rule, those with Monday flights to the coasts go to see Alejandro, the rest sleep, and the rare few looking to extend their buzz go to the Hole in the Wall. And if it weren't for the one-out/one-in line out front, the Hole's weekly seventh day gathering looked like any other Free for All crowd - half local musicians and half local music fans. In fact, the only visible badge belonged to Miles Zuniga, but with Fastball's sudden career turnaround it's easy to believe the nameplate represented more of a pinch-me-so-I-know-it's-not-a-dream reminder than a display of superiority. On second thought, Zuniga doeslive in Los Angeles now.

Either way, a sample 40 minutes at this Who tribute seemed more efficient and entertaining than most prime time SXSW gigs. Spoon's three-song set was typically melodic and methodical, with Britt Daniel's acoustic approach stripping each song down to its rhythmic core, and although "I Can't Explain" was clearly the crowd favorite, a bouncy take of "My Wife" seemed like the hour's tightest tribute yet. But while Spoon appeared to take its time customizing the Who's material for it's own use, Fastball came obviously less prepared. "We didn't know that one and we don't know this one either," explained Zuniga as a segue between "Long Live Rock," and "See Me, Feel Me," neither of which were atrocious nor particularly inspired.

But redemption came in a meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy way on "The Seeker," whereby Fastball turned the post-Tommy single inside out, making it as ready for modern rock radio as the original was for early FM. It was as good a point as any to officially end SXSW, which it did for most of the crowd.

Superego's take on "Pinball Wizard" did sound pretty good from the middle of Guadalupe, though...
- Andy Langer