As the headliners of the Americana Music Association’s showcase at Antone’s, GPN had all the time and understanding that was missing from their last SXSW performance at the Cedar Street Courtyard in 2007. With the place packed in anticipation of their set, they opened with “Sweet Hands” before attending to the business of SXSW, whetting appetites for the new album. Scott and Benny ramped up the Crazy Horse guitars for “Oasis” and “Tiny Light,” the room bounced to the reggae lilt of “Goodbye Kiss,” a more finessed version of “Paris” had Antone’s rocking and “Medicine” received the drum circle treatment. With enough time at their disposal, “Ah Mary” and “Big White Gate” had room to breathe and, as is her custom, Grace dropped jaws with the a capella opening to “Nothing But The Water,” which finished with a distinctively Southern, somewhat Skynyrdish flair. If anything overshadows the set, it’s gonna be Grace’s dress, which was probably one inch away from violating Austin’s public decency codes. Far from a wilting Southern belle, Grace shared the logistical problems the short hemming was causing at the organ bench with her own sense of knowing naivete. Rolling Stone just tabbed GPN one of the best new bands of 2010 and SXSW sets like the one at Antone’s will only enhance the growing legend.
Review by This Is Somewhere special correspondent David Schultz whose writing has frequently been featured on This Is Somewhere. Thanks to Schultz for this unanticipated and specially timely treat.