One of the most unexpected acts to show up at this year’s SXSW was folk-rock troubadour Donovan, the Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist who recorded a string of hits in the late 1960s and was a friend of note to people like The Beatles and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. People from later generations may know him as actress Ione Skye’s dad, or from his one awesome appearance in an episode of Futurama.
Donovan wasn’t originally scheduled to be a part of the show — he was subbing in for someone who bailed at the last minute, though you wouldn’t have been able to tell by the crowd he commanded. He made his entrance to thunderous applause, playing “Catch The Wind” on that green guitar and turning a restaurant full of people who’d just spent an hour listening to blues rock get all wistful and shuffle their feet. A young guy standing next to me who I’d heard in line talking openly about his love of 60s music shook his head in disbelief and smiled as he mouthed along with the lyrics. It was something.
Of course, shortly after “Catch The Wind” Donovan broke into a short speech about the United States and “another f**king war,” but I guess that’s to be expected when you see Donovan in this set of years.
Donovan’s opening act — the aforementioned bar blues — was Creed.
Well, Creed Bratton, not Scott Stapp, although it would’ve been fun to hear Scott Stapp playing Blueshammer style rock songs for 80 people at the Palm Door. And yes, it was that Creed Bratton, aka Creed from The Office. He even announced himself as such when he was done playing. “I’m Creed Bratton. From The Office!”
As you may know (especially if you watch the show), Creed was a member of the 1960s version of The Grass Roots, so it’s not surprising to learn that he’s an accomplished musician. You get over that pretty quickly, especially if you skimmed through the SXSW guide, saw “Creed Bratton” and thought “lol I’m gonna go see the guy who takes dumps in the women’s restroom at Dunder Mifflin play some folk rock.” There’s a deepness to what he’s doing, even if it’s by-the-numbers bar rock, but it was nice. And he never spoke out on our foreign wars, which is a plus.
I think “Creed from TV and Donovan” might be the most unique bill of the week, especially when you read it on a piece of paper duct taped to the side of a trailer bar.