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For those who could get into Stubb’s on Saturday, South by Southwest’s most genial day party was presented by chef and television personality Rachael Ray who served up an all-you-can-eat buffet of food, drinks and music for more than 2,000 people. Ray’s fifth annual Feedback party lineup included a mixed bag of sets by Jimmy Cliff, GIVERS, Blitzen Trapper, The Heavy, Theophilus London and headliners Train, among others. The majority of the bands were notably engaging with the audience of locals and SXSW attendees and seemed genuinely pleased to be there.
Full of cheer and dressed in green for Saint Patrick’s day, guests munched on a menu of free Lil’ Devils (miniature corn dogs), Brisket on a Biscuit with Smoky Barbeque Sauce and Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Pickles, Sloppy Chicken Suiza Sliders and vegetarian and gluten-free Veg-Head Nachos with Green Chili Queso and Spicy Refried Beans. Beverage sponsors included Blue Moon, Honest Teas, Deep Eddy vodka, Bacardi and Cazadores tequila.
Of all the performers, Train (who closed the event) got the largest response, leading the crowd in sing-alongs of their catalogue’s biggest hits and a few covers as well. Lead singer Patrick Monahan dedicated a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Ramble On” to Ray, segueing into Lou Reed‘s “Walk on the Wild Side,” and then called the culinary queen onstage to help him sing Journey‘s “Don’t Stop Believin'” to the crowd’s delight. “Sorry none of you knew that song,” he joked afterwards. “It’s a fresh one!”
Train’s set also included hits “Calling All Angels.” “Hey Soul Sister” and “Meet Virginia,” which Monahan said was written about a girl from Austin, eliciting gleeful cheers. The band also played two new songs from their upcoming album, California 37, which is due out next month — “Drive By,” the first single, and the opening track, which made its live debut.
“SXSW is about new music,” said Monahan, asking the audience politely to allow Train to play the new song, whose lyrics he had read for a piece of paper — that’s because the tune ran through years chronologically in a similar style to Billy Joel‘s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” repeating the chorus of “Maybe this will be my year.” He did not say the song’s title.
“We’ve done a lot of music festivals and this one is by far the best,” Monahan said before the band closed its set with the 2001 hit, “Drops of Jupiter.” “This is how music should be.”
Before leaving the stage Monahan added that this April, Train will serve as the official Rachael Ray Show house band. It will be a first for road-tested group: “We’ve never done that and there’s only one person we’d do it for and that’s Rachael Ray.”
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