Jurassic 5: Austin, Texas South By Southwest

Jurassic 5 bring hip-hop to the second day of the South By Southwest festival...

What people sometimes forget at South By Southwest in the frantic scramble to hit every label party and drain as much free liquor as humanly possible, is that there are panels and speakers every day during the hours a hangover tends to be a going concern. Former Kinks leader Ray Davies makes just such an appearance, in the keynote spot. Providing a reminder that the record business is the same as it ever was, Davies allowed, It was really a fight to get You Really Got Me the way we wanted it to. It went to #1. The record company left us alone after that.

If scientists ever perfect a system of teleporting, South By Southwest will become a lot simpler to manage. You could bounce yourself across town from show to show without ever missing anything due to the impossibility of getting from a club on Nueces to one on Red River in under five minutes.

Operating under our current transportation options of cabs and the trusty

shoe leather express, its still possible to amble on over to Mercury Entertainment at Jazz and catch Matt Suggs work his dusty magic. With label boss Mac MacCaughanof Superchunk sitting in on keyboards, Suggs ambles through songs such as She Kept Time To The Teardrops and Eloise, tunes written in the same Central Valley of California that Grandaddy calls home. The fickle nature of the festival is revealed when the same thrift store sweater types that dutifully filed in for Suggs, turn tail and walk out soon after the Rock-A-Teens begin their abrasive assault.

Across town the line for wristbands extends far to the left of Stubbs with the line for badges a shorter stretch to the right. An outdoor venue, the stage at Stubbs rests at the base of an uneven grassy hill, and just on the other side of the side wall is a creek that cuts through town. Following a well-received set from the Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5 put on a hip-hop clinic, exhibiting the kind of presence and ability usually sorely lacking in rap shows. The four MCs trade verses freely throughout J5 staples such as In The Flesh and Concrete Schoolyard, harmonizing and moving in and out of each others individual parts with a precision most Swiss watches would be pressed to match.

The generally sedate South By Southwest audience responds in spades with a breakdance pit springing to life stage left and fans in the balcony above readily obeying Chali 2nas command to Throw your hands in the sky. Not to be outdone, DJs NuMark and Cut Chemist generate a call and response between their turntables, with the formers squeaking out Texas and the latter chiming in with repeated Yalls.

Jabbing, pecking and scraping at their respective decks, in a stunner of a finale, DJ Nu-Mark picks up his turntable and scratches it from

this new vertical position, looking for all the world like a guitarist calmly stepping up to take his solo. Despite being a young act, Jurassic 5 pride themselves on their old school approach and before class is dismissed this evening, its clear the old lessons are still worth learning.

Colin Devenish