First Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis turned his hand to a cover by ’80s songstress Edie Brickell only to be topped by Josh T. Pearson who, two songs into his set, announced: “This is a Boney M song… just for SXSW.” The former Lift To Experience frontman then launched into a spellbinding version of By The Rivers Of Babylon.
The latter track of course has its roots in a Biblical hymn which was re-worked by reggae outfit The Melodians in 1970 before being hi-jacked by Boney M. The German disco goons piloted the track to the top of the UK charts in 1978. This is not the first time Pearson has reclaimed the song – a version filmed by French website Le Cargo being is viewable here.
Mascis, meanwhile, turned his hand to Brickell’s 1988 mini-hit, Circle. “In the early days with Dino,” explained Mascis. “[drummer] Murph had a lot to do with the choice of music we listened to on the road. He loved Frank Zappa so we listened to that. Then he discovered Edie Brickell.”
Mascis’s version added a decidedly ragged edge to Brickell’s ode to failed friendship and loner-dom. Indeed, his choice of cover blended in spectacularly well with material from his new solo album, Several Shades Of Why.
London-based post-folk outfit Erland And The Carnival also added to the cover quota by playing an inspired, cantering version of the track from which they took their name: Jackson C Frank’s My Name Is Carnival.
Mascis, Pearson and Erland were just three of the acts on the MOJO Bootleg BBQ bill which was once again hosted with our friends at British Underground and held at MOJO’s favourite Austin bar, The Mean Eyed Cat.
The rest of the hand-picked bill included rising instrumentalists Gallops (who delivered an unstoppable set of math-rock precision), New Orleans country-folk troupe Hurray For The Riff Raff (soulful, downhome and mesmerising), and British rock’n’roll wrecking crew The Jim Jones Revue (unconscionably loud, righteous and hugely entertaining). The MOJO Bootleg BBQ brought our SXSW to a fine and fried conclusion.
A full report from the MOJO Bootleg BBQ will appear in a future issue of MOJO magazine.