Saturday, March 15, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 4

The final day, and the weather is still holding up. In fact, I'm wearing shorts


  • I started the morning with the Daryl Hall interview. It was great to see that Daryl is still an Indie musician at heart, and is one of us in spirit. Lots of questions from the Interviewer and the Audience about the whole Sacred Songs and Exposure debacle. Daryl is quite an interesting guy, and I give him major kudos for the Live From Daryl's House webcast site. Here is a major artist that gets the Internet, and wants to bring back shows like Don Kirchner and the Midnight Special.

I would have liked to have stayed for the Alan Parsons panel at 3PM, but was on the hook to go watch my friends in Proteus and Coalition play at the Hi-Lo.


  • I started out the afternoon, to watch Ed Martinez, Dave Johnson and their bands, Proteus and Coalition. Both bands are tight and play great fusion/prog music. Like One2One, Hi-Lo is a bar where the windows can be completely opened, so that people can see and hear the band from the sidewalk. People were stopping and then jammin' along to both bands. What a great afternoon.

    Here are 2 pictures of Proteus in action:

  • Ran into my good friend, Ted from Thirteen of Everything, and went to see the experimental group, Jandek. I like some pretty strange Avant-garde music, but this was beyond me.
  • I then trekked down to Stubbs to catch another friend Scott Brackett and his band, Okkervil River. They're a high energy, folk influenced pop rock act and won the best Indie Band, in this year's Austin Music Awards. They were followed by Austin legend, Roky Erickson, who sounded much better than any previous videos I had seen.
  • I managed to catch one song of the Pedro Menedez Ensemble at the Elephant Room. I probably could have caught more, but they seemed to be on Jazz Time while setting up.
  • For the final show of SxSW, I went to the Hideout and caught AMF friend, Josh Robbins and his band the Invincible Czars. Very Zappa-esque, crazy and fun. Josh you're a madman and great guitarist.

Friday, March 14, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 3

A third straight day of fantastic weather, what could be better.


I attended 2 panels.

  • What is the Future of Record Companies and Artists Deals - actually a CLE for the lawyers. I just found out from my friend Alissa, that this was the first year they were open to non-lawyers. Kind of funny, I never realized that in previous years, and attended anyway.
  • Mobility, Ubiquity and Monetizing Music - great talk. Only Pearlman really got it. Had interesting stats from Ed Felton out of Princeton and China. 30 Million classic music hobbyists and aficionados.

    I was very annoyed at the typical rhetoric against the Free Market, from some of the pundits on this panel. If I hear another lawyer arguing about how government saves us, I'm going to puke.


  • First act I saw was Paddy Casey, on the DirecTV stage. I'm not normally a fan of singer songwriters, but this guy is just Incredible. He sang and played acoustic guitar, with a background singer/pianist. I would buy this guy's CD in a heartbeat.
  • I went to the Brush park party, hosted by the Australians. Can't remember much other than some free Vodka samples and food.
  • To begin the evening, I went to the Tim Fite Hosts show at Antones. Bear In Heaven was the first act, after a humorous intro monologue by Tim. Finding no honey with these bears, I left.
  • I stopped by Cedar Street, and caught part of Fastball. They are an Austin band that had a Top 40 hit in 1999. Pop rock, that is very well done. Cedar Street was even more crowded than the night before with Tim Fite. At least 3 rows of people on the 4th Street sidewalk.
  • I then went to the Tiniest Bar in Texas to catch deSoL. Apparently, I screwed up and they had played the night before. I stayed a bit and watched the White Ghost Shivers, instead.

St. David's

I finished the night catching 3 fantastic shows at St. David's Church. This is officially my favorite venue.

  • First up was Sxip Shirey. Holy f*cking crap, was this guy amazing. He basically has some pedal effects, a microphone, harmonica, and table of toys. A former guitarist who came up with career ending tendinitis, he turned to making music in non-traditional ways. I would fail miserably to describe what he does in words. (He does for Music, what Tim Burton does for film). He was joined by an equally amazing Human beatbox performer for several songs. This show totally blew away some of my previous conceptions about live musical performance and instruments. A must see, if you ever get the chance. He lives in Brooklyn.
  • Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio were next. Another amazing Austin musician who I have gotten meet through AMF. The Trio was actually a quartet, with a Cellist, Trombone Player (Wayne Myers another AMF acquaintance), Saxophonist, and Electric Bassist. Graham plays Piano and Drums and is an unbelievable talent. He is always entertaining.
  • The Brannen Temple Trio with D Madness on bass. An Austin Jazz Trio with Drums, Steel Drums and Electric Bass. My friend Brian over at Mixtank has been ranting about D Madness for a while. Now I know why.

Screw ups of the day

Not putting the deSoL show on the right day in my calendar.

SxSW Music - Day 2

A second awesome day of weather. This makes up for a SxSW I went to 10 years ago, where it rained every day


  • I caught the tail end of Lou Reed Keynote, no need to book the Hilton Ballroom, this year! LOL ;)
  • The first panel was the Performance Royalty Debate, led by AMF Board Member, Chris Castle. Very interesting talk with reps from SoundExchange, A2IM, AFTRA, and others. Chris Castle did a great job as host and antagonist, keeping the whole panel on their toes. Each group was still protecting their own interests first, exactly as you would expect.
  • I then attended the Steve Reich Interview. (This is how I discovered that I had missed the night he had hosted at St. David's. Doh!) Fantastic interview, I took some notes, but hope that a Video Podcast will eventually appear on the SxSW site. He had lots of interesting things to say about the Beatnik generation that he grew up in, and particularly Jazz great, John Coltrane. I stand in awe of the great Composer, and Musicologist!


After the morning lightning round of panels, I went to go see more music.

  • It started with the Austin Music Foundation Party at the Music Gym. Austin music diva and Rockstar SuperNova contestant, Patrice Pike. Great day outside, and great music.
  • After the party wound down at 4PM, I went back to the Convention Center and caught, Martha Wainwright on the DirecTV soundstage, the Long Star Lounge. I had seen her last year at La Zona Rosa show with Rachel Fuller. She was fantastic and her band was awesome.
  • I went upstairs to look over the Trade Show. It has gotten worse each year. Lots of booths with irrelevant vendors. Most hawking nameless digital music services, that I had never heard of before entering the room.
  • I started the evening at Stubbs for the Body of War show. This is part of the promotion for a documentary film with the same name, produced by Phil Donahue. (Who was in the audience). The music consisted of Tom Morella (Rage Against the Machine, Audio Slave), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Ben Harper, Billy Brag, and others. Interesting Serj played piano, Tom played the blues and sang, Billy Brag was awesome. A group encore completed a very enjoyable show.
  • I managed to walk across town to Cedar Street and caught the end of Tim Fite. I was blown away by Tim, 2 years ago at Antones. Word has gotten around, and the house was packed. He was entertaining as always, but Cedar Street is probably not the best venue for his multimedia fun.
  • On the way back, I happened by One2one (non-SxSW venue) with the windows open, and the house a rockin' with the Everyday People. Outside, I ran into the drummer from Cellus and Loose Grip, Mike Burnall, whom I had met at the Ron Paul fundraiser in SA. They were on a split bill at the same bar. Mike introduced me to del Castillo bassist, Bert Besteiro. Both bands were interesting enough to make me stay for a parts of both sets.
  • I finished the night with the Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck show, at St. Davids Episcopal Church. There was a bit of a line, that included Jackie the Jokeman Martling. This room, a chapel, had incredible acoustics and the show was unreal. A very memorable experience. (Driving home the realization about what I probably missed at this venue the night before with Steve Reich).

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

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brain Science

Brain science seems to be a popular topic in the Blog/Podcast Sphere. I recently ran across the following:

I found both of these to be very interesting. Much to ponder.

In other news, my mood is both excited and happy, with SxSW Music commencing tomorrow morning!