Thursday, March 18, 2010

SxSW 2010 - Day 6


Today was the first official day of SxSWm. With this being my second year with a platinum badge, I am amazed that I managed to find my second wind. Of course, there will be plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead, as one t-shirt I own says.

The Cloud vs. the Paradise of Infinite Storage

This was an excellent panel, mainly because of Sandy Pearlman. Sandy is a former producer of some renown in punk circles, and is now a professor at McGill University. He typically is placed on panels discussing IP and copyright issues. In this capacity, he plays a role analogous to what Bruce Schneier does in the world of computer security.

In the long run, I think Pearlman has it right. Large mobile storage will be ubiquitous. Once that happens everything will be turned upside down. The cloud will serve a utilitarian purpose, but it will not be a point of control.

Cheap Trick Interview

I am a regular listener of American Public Media's (APM) Sound Opinions podcast. The show is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two Chicago newspaper critics who provide the Indie Music equivalent of Siskel and Ebert. In a previous year at SxSW, I had the good fortune to meet and speak with Jim, and was pleased that he remembered me this year.

Upon entering the room for the Cheap Trick Interview, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Jim and Greg were the hosts. As a result, I knew that it would be a good session.

The actual interview session lasted approximately an hour, and included 3 of the 4 original members, Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, and Tom Petersson. For some reason, Bun E. Carlos was absent, and when questioned, Robin laughed and said he was under the weather, and sleeping back at the hotel. (Strangely, he was not present at their show the next night, and their website indicates that he is not touring. but is still a member of the band.)

The interview covered their entire careers, and was a great amount of fun. Kudos to SxSW for having Jim and Greg as the hosts, and here's hoping they are tapped for more interviews in the future. My only regret however, is not knowing that they were doing an ACL taping this same day. (Thanks Ed ;( ) Cheap Trick

Update or RIP: Alex Chilton

I forgot to mention that the subject of Big Star obviously came up at this interview, since Cheap Trick had covered Big Star's In the Street as the theme for That 70's Show. Unfortunately, this is where I first heard the news that Alex Chilton had passed away, on the previous day. This was a bummer since Alex had been scheduled to appear with Big Star at Antones on Saturday night.

Lemmy Kilmister

This was the second interview I attended for the day. This time, the host was awkward and uncomfortable. Lemmy was quite gracious, and kept the whole thing on the rails. Although the session was interesting, I didn't learn anything new that hadn't already been covered in the documentary.

In contrast to the Cheap Trick interview, this one was a FAIL.


Zoe Keating

The first showcase of the night was San Francisco based Cellist, Zoe Keating. She does a single woman show with herself on Cello, and bunch of digital effects and delays. Her act is basically Frippertronics for the Cello.

The venue, the Central Presbyterian Church, had fantastic acoustics. Sitting in the balcony, I found the music filled the entire space wonderfully, and could easily have sat through 3 more sets without getting bored.
Zoe Keating at Central Presbyterian Church


This year, I attempted to focus on acts that were not from Austin or Texas, so I hightailed it down 7th Street to the Elysium, to catch the Polish band, L.Stadt. They had an interesting setup, with guitar/lead singer, bass, and two drummers playing traps, one of whom chose to stand.

I enjoyed the set which had elements of Oingo Boingo, as well as a roots rock feel.
L.Stadt at Elysium

Doll and the Kicks

I stumbled across this act while walking past the Emo's Annex on my way to the Hilton Garden. They were obviously British, and from the write-up are playing their fourth straight SxSW, and have toured with Morrissey. They were compelling enough to convince me to enter the tent, I just wish I had an opportunity to catch them again, so that I could hear more than one song.

Benjamin Rose Band

My next stop of the night was the Hilton Garden's 18th floor. The night time view of Austin from here, can't be beat, and every year it seems I consistently discover great bands playing here.

I had specifically penciled in the Benjamin Rose band from Cologne, Germany, after hearing their demo on the SxSW website. They played a 90's alt-rock set reminiscent of the Wallflowers. Very well done.
Benjamin Rose Band at the 18th Floor


After seeing the documentary and the interview, I had to go see Lemmy the icon. Having seen this band one other time opening for Emerson, Lake and Powell in 1987, I knew what to expect.

Metal is not normally my cup of tea, but I must say in hindsight, that Mikkey Dee is quite the drummer. Motörhead

Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio

Antones was my last stop of the night. I was surprised to see a huge line of non-badge holders lined up outside the club. The band in question was from Mexico City, and played a unique mixture of ska and Mexican folk music.

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