SXSW Spotlight/Highlight: THE STONE FOXES

I find something downright charming about young men making old music; and by ‘old’ I mean the classic sounds that quality music has been built upon, and drawing upon those sounds and instrumentation and kicking today’s ass with it.

Enter The Stone Foxes from the chilly Bay area of San Francisco. A tenacious and hard touring foursome of dudes (Spence Koehler, Shannon Koehler, Aaron Mort, & Avi Vinocur)whose music taps the depths of America’s blues-rock basics,  and I’ve no doubt that they know the importance of the hicktown music festival we’ve all  heard of called SXSW, but damn baby, your drummer just had heart surgery! And yet there was Shannon banging away on his drum kit, expending precious lung power on the harmonica, and getting in your face when it was his turn to handle the microphone on “Mr. Hangman” from their sophomore album “Bears and Bulls”. FYI…tis a CD that should be in your collection and, yes, it wound up on my top 10 of 2010. Yeah, it’s that good.

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The Stone Foxes blew up the little room of Lipstick 24 only to top that fair badass performance at The Force Agency’s Texas Tornado at Rusty Spurs on St. Patty’s Day. Something about an official holiday for drinking was Shannon’s not so subtle request for the room to buy them beers. You may get a little dizzy in the watching as all but Spence (who stays on lead guitar) play musical chairs with their bass, drums and guitar, and all have a go at lead vocals but the result is dynamic rocking, stretches of jam,  occasional twang, electric and funky blues riffs (see “Reno” and “I Killed Robert Johnson” ),  and the beautiful, raw sound of the 70’s.  Those at Rusty Spurs who had no fricking clue who these San Fran dudes found themselves doing a lot of head bobbing, neck rolling, and outright smiling in the sunshine. And they’re a playful bunch, too.  See Aaron (who has a penchant for elevation), during “Mr. Hangman” at Rusty Spurs as he climbed atop and perched himself upon a side wall where he continued to play his bass.  I’m not sure how it happened but I wound up on stage holding the mic for the elevated bass player as he tucked himself into a curl leaning down to sing into it.

I did not charge for my microphone  holding services.


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