Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It's Monday today, right? And the bulk of the St. Patrick's Day celebrating is in the books. The green beer is a fading memory and the corned beef and hash isn't sitting too well. It's depressing, but more people than general are not looking at this week with the same kind of sluggish stupor that is the typical precedent for the start of a week. They are ready for gluttony of everything. More so than any other week of the year, this week in March - when everyone and their pets are flocking to Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest music festival - is anxiously anticipated. Every cargo van in the continental United States will be blowing out exhaust, high-tailing it to get to the one street in the state capital of that large and proud state for five days of the kind of musical stimulation that trips all circuit breakers and gives a good handful of bands the shot in the arm that they needed. The economy is a weakling right now, but this is a week that proves time and again that the pure power of rock and roll music is as resilient as anything else out there. Bands are always broke, so what's new? This is a gathering of the broke on so many levels and yet all of the free Mexican food, free beer, free music and delightful BBQ make everyone feel like sweepstakes winners. Even without free eats and drinks, the bountiful sunshine and all of the pasty legs and arms dangling in the light for the first time in months leads people to a rekindled excitement and vitality. One of the bands that will be playing in Austin this week didn't need to drive very far to get there (San Antonio to be exact) and it's the epitome of what kind of effect SXSW week has on most people. It's an awakening and a deliverance from the doldrums of the winter solstice and all of the days clustered around it. It's a middle finger to that Punxsutawney Phil character for having the balls to see a shadow and prophesy six more achingly long weeks of winter. The band is Hacienda and it's a family affair, with brothers and a cousin making the kind of infectious, rootsy rock and roll that makes you wish you were living in some bygone time period where bobby socks and soda fountains were the norm, not online gaming and cell phones. It's the kind of music that one can look to for the spice and for the retro-fitting groove, for the bass hopping that could speed up pulses, that could make you want to roll your shirt sleeves up to your mid-bicep and store a package of cigarettes in the fold. It's music that makes a person want to move their hips in bizarre and new ways though there's no cognizant recognition that any of it is happening, just the spontaneous movement that springs from the ears comprehending what Hacienda is bringing to the table. It's a home-cooked meal. It's getting into a bit of a scrap. It's wearing tight blue jeans and it's smoking hand-rolled cigs. It's a dirty and raw version of all of the amazing things that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Elvis Presley presented when they were walking and singing. It's all that you can ask for in music that needs to felt, more than described, that needs to be witnessed to appreciate. It's all inside - a direct reflection of the heart shining like it means it, the feet jittering as if they're out of control and the sweat glands getting a workout.
Hacienda MySpace Page
Hacienda Official Site