Thursday, March 13, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 1

Today was the first day of SxSW. It started out slightly overcast, but cleared up nicely as the day moved on.


  • I started off the day, with the Tour Smart panel hosted by ex-PiL drummer, Martin Atkins, Eddie Spaghetti from the Super Suckers, and some nameless manager from Live Nation. All I can say is Wow, Martin is the bomb. He basically monopolized the time, but thank god he did. He had a very engaging set of slides, had a great humorous delivery, and showed real creativity. This was the best panel I've ever attended in 4 years of attending the Conference.

    I had no problem forking over $20.00 for a copy of Martin's book and DVD afterward, because what he said was so valuable. He is continuing the Punk, DIY attitude that I love.

  • For the second session, I attended a talk by three lawyers on Red Flags in Contracts. Honestly, even though they had huddled beforehand and had handouts, they didn't really make the subject accessible to those in the audience, who weren't members of the Bar. They needed someone like Martin Atkins on their panel. Too bad, I think it is important for artists to understand this stuff.
  • The last session I attended was Accounting in Record Deals. It was another case of being dry, but important. Fortunately, the presenter actually had examples of real deals, with a brief explanation. I have a set of the slides hopefully coming via email. Of course, maybe the whole subject is moot, because the whole concept has changed in the Digital Age.


The panels are interesting, but the music is king.

  • I started out the night going to see Van Morrison at La Zona Rosa, with some friends. Apparently the show was under Martial Law. The bar was closed during the entire show, by edict from King Van. There was also some heavy handed enforcement of the no photographing policy via cell phones. While I understand the objection, this was a little over the top.

    I guess I would of overlooked this, if I felt like I attended an exceptional show. Frankly it was boring, and lacked passion. Talking to some other people, it sounds like this is par for the course. (Next)

  • The refurbished Austin Music Hall, was next on the list with the Austin Music Awards. It was crowded and I was able to see Lyle Lovett and Pinetop Perkins, as well as several other acts. Not stellar, the acoustics weren't that great. This is the first time I went to check out the awards, and it will probably be the last.
  • During the walk back towards Red River, I happened across The Photo Atlas at the Cedar Door. They weren't bad, just not my cup of tea.
  • I also randomly walked into Buffalo Billiards, and saw Goldspot, a band from LA. A very well done light rock/pop show. Austin beatbox artist, John Pointer joined them on stage for one number. I enjoyed it, but can't say I would buy their CD.
  • Hopewell and Earthless at Bourbon Rocks. Both of these bands were interesting, but loud. This was the show that made me regret forgetting my earplugs.
  • I attempted to get in line for REM at Stubbs, and after seeing the futility there, ended up seeing The Acorn from Ottowa, CA at Habana Patio. These guys were great. Easily the best act of the night on my itinerary.

Screw ups of the day

  • Forgetting the earplugs!
  • Going to see Van Morrison
  • Not seeing Daryl Hall
  • Not noticing the Steve Reich show at St. David's Church
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