Saturday, June 21, 2008

Perceiving a Pattern

On two separate occasions this week, I observed buzz surfacing about things that I had experienced for the first time about a quarter ago. I am beginning to wonder whether there is something significant to this 3 month time period.

Bar Camp Austin III

I participated in this on a lark, while SxSWi was going on in force and really enjoyed the experience.

Birds of Feather (BOF) sessions have always been popular at Technical Conferences, and I've always felt that these were typically the most (and sometimes the only) valuable parts. Running an entire conference as a set of BOFs seemed to be a next logical step.

Then last year, I heard the Java Posse describe their Roundup, during their Podcast. It was the first time that I heard the words Open Space and Unconference. I was a little surprised then to see Seth Godin propose the idea a few days ago. He is usually one of the earliest adopters and has appeared as a TED speaker (which is at least in the right neighborhood). Needless to say, I think Open Space will begin to make inroads everywhere.

Branded or Artist Specific TV Stations

In an equally odd and coincidental fashion, I started seeing tweets and blurbs on Bob Lefsetz's site talking about Live from Daryl's House. This show was heavily marketed at SxSW Music this year, and I agree that it is amazing. I've been watching it regularly since first hearing about it. I am somewhat amused by the fact that I would have never considered my self a big Daryl Hall fan in the past.

The timing of this seems to indicate a pattern. BTW, check out the recent episode with Nick Lowe and Daryl!


I think the confluence of people and ideas here in Austin during SxSW, is a major catalyst. I don't believe that it's the breeding ground, but it is certainly a place where you can first observe the early adopters using new things in the wild. Of course, there's a jaded part of me that has tended to scoff at the value of SxSW, because some parts of it seem so commercialized (and political). The impact of the event seems obvious now.

This has led me to the conclusion that I should continue to keep my eye on certain new things in the Tech Industry. Right now, I am fascinated with the Ruby community and what is being done with cloud computing, github, and heroku. I'm sure they will be very prominent at Bar Camp Austin IV.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Thursday Night at Emos

I received an email from Graham Reynolds early last week, about his Golden Arm Trio show at Emos, on thursday night. Since I happened to be attending the Live Music Task Force meeting at City Hall, I decided to stay downtown and catch some music. After grabbing some food at Best Wurst, I headed over to Emos, for the first show I've seen there in probably 7 or 8 years. I arrived at around 10:15 and the first band was already playing:

Mr. Lewis and the Funeral Five ...

were already on stage. The Tom Waits influence was obvious. They were all good musicians, but this type of music just doesn't work for me for longer than about a set.

Golden Arm Trio

This is about 4th time I've seen Graham play this year, and this time he was using essentially the same lineup that he did at SxSW, and included an AMF friend, Wayne Myers on trombone. For this smaller show, Graham brought along his own console piano. He also opted not to play drums, and had a very exceptional drummer instead. Great job, Graham is quite demonic sometimes when he plays. The crowd was surprisingly into them, and expressed their enjoyment freely.


Firewater finished up the night. I had missed them at SxSW, and it was obvious that this show was a result of their trip here in March, and they had a minor buzz. Their base sound is an offshoot of Ska and Dub with an injection of some other world music. I enjoyed the show, as did everyone present. The band played superbly.

Two individuals stood out in the band in addition to leader Tod A, Reut Regev on Trombone and Flugelhorn, and Dhol percussionist, Johnny Kalsi.

I had originally planned on cutting out early during their set, but decided to stay until closing time after I had heard them play. I'll be keeping an eye for them in the future.

Airto Moreira at the One World

I attended a Master Class given by famed Brazilian drummer and percussionist, Airto Moreira, last Sunday (6/8/2008) at the One World Theater. Airto is famous because he played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, and was involved in the seminal beginnings of both Weather Report and Return to Forever. It's too bad that Chick Corea couldn't have had him sit on some dates with that tour.

The Master Class was free and afforded all present an opportunity to peak inside the mind of the artist. It consisted mainly of him talking, with a little bit of singing and playing intermixed. It was a little bit different than the other Master Class I had attended there with Terry Bozzio and Pat Mastelotto, which consisted entirely of a performance and very little talking

I was unfortunately unable to attend the show later that night, but my friend Fito did. He enjoyed the show but mentioned that Flora Purim was not present (even though advertised) and they did not have guitarist.