Friday, March 19, 2010

SxSW 2010 - Day 8

Panels

DIY or Sign with a Label

This was a great panel featuring among others Richard Bengloff, from A2IM, and Cameron Strang, president of New West Records. There were no profound revelations at this panel, but it was encouraging to hear that Indie Labels are still doing well and not whining like the Majors.

CBGB Stories

Although I lived right across the river from NYC, in Hoboken, from 1979 to 1983, I was only able to visit CBGB once, while it was open. However, I do remember my own Punk Rock days, fondly.

I was very anxious to see this talk. The panel included Clem Burke, the drummer for Blondie, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, of the Talking Heads fame, along with Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer from Sire Records. Several other CBGB alumni were in the audience including Jerry Harrison, and Bill Popp. The session went by way too fast, and covered every aspect of the late Hilly Kristal's club, the undisputed birthplace of Punk.

Some time was spent discussing the antics of the resident club bullies, the Dictators. A good friend, Joe Schaedler, formerly of the Sic F*cks had told me all about their hi-jinks. Their favorite targets were the Talking Heads. So, it was humorous to hear Tina Weymouth's account of Dick Manitoba's constant heckling.

The club stories were plentiful, and the time flew by quickly. All and all, this session was too short. I hope to find a new documentary or new book about this unique landmark and this era of music history. Sid Stein and Chris Frantz Tina Weymouth and Clem Burke

Day Stages

Court Yard Hounds in the Hilton Lobby

On the way up from the parking garage I was surprised to find yet another day stage in the lobby of the Hilton. In this case, it was a side project of the Dixie Chicks called the Court Yards Hounds. As you can see in the picture, the lobby was packed.

I listened to two songs before proceeding into the Convention Center. Court Yard Hounds

Ashanka - Malaysian Band

At lunch, I just happened to hear this excellent 8 piece band on the smaller day stage. They played a fusion of Jazz, Rock and Eastern Asian Music. Although they had a showcase at the Copa the following evening, I was unable to go. As a result, I was thankful that I was able to catch the remainder of their set here.

The band included keyboards, electric bass, guitar, western drums, and a Cajone player. In addition, there was also Sitar player and two people playing Indian percussion. On the right, the Tabla player's drums are unfortunately obstructed by someone's head in this picture. Malaysian Band Akasha

Amarala - Zaragoza, Spain

This Spanish singer was being interviewed in the Sx Booth in the Convention Center. I had missed the opportunity to see her the previous day at the Spanish Music party. Her voice and the music were fantastic, and I made a promise to myself to check out more of her music going forward. Amaral from Zaragoza Spain

Citizen Cope

Today I was able to see a full set of music from this Philadelphia born, singer/songwriter. In both cases, it seemed to me that he had a huge amount of charisma, totally captivating his audience. I found this phenomena interesting because although I personally found his set enjoyable, I did not find it anywhere near as moving, as those around me.

That said, I am certainly aware that I listen to music differently than the average Joe. Citizen Cope

Court Yard Hounds

I remained at the day stage for a second helping of the Court Yard Hounds. Not much to say other than the performance and the band were all top notch.

Jakob Dylan and the Three Legs (Featuring Neko Case and Kelly Hogan)

The last act of the afternoon on the large day stage was Jakob Dylan, with Neko Case. This new band still brings back reminders of the Wallflowers, who performed at SxSW several years ago.

Another great set of music, in a great listening space.

Auditorium Shores

At the beginning of the night I decided to head to Auditorium Shores, because I had never actually seen Cheap Trick live, despite being a huge fan.

The BoDeans

After working my way through the conflicting and confusing directions to the correct shuttle, I arrived at Auditorium Shores in time to hear the end of the BoDeans. As in previous years, they had a special tent and bleachers for badge holders. The sound was great.

The Bodeans at Auditorium Shores

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick sans Bun E. Carlos took the stage promptly at 8PM and played about an hour set, which included all of their hits. This show was a guilty pleasure for me. The band is probably past their prime and are teetering dangerously close to becoming a State Fair show or Six Flags act. Several other industry people in my section were loudly joking that this was most likely the largest crowd they had played in front of for a long while.

None the less, they sounded good and they can still play.

Showcases

Raphael Saadiq

I listened to the end of the Cheap Trick set while crossing the 1st Street Bridge on the way to the Austin Music Hall. My goal was to go see Raphael Saadiq and his retro-Motown act.

I was first exposed to Raphael through a free video on the iTunes store. I was impressed enough at that time, that I immediately went out and bought his latest album. It was great, and brought back memories of the Funk Brothers.

The packed house at AMH was visibly into the music, and I think there was agreement across the board that this act killed. I can think of no better opening act for Smokey Robinson. Raphael Saadiq

Smokey Robinson

There's not much to say other than the King of Motown held court in the Austin Music Hall. He played for almost 2 hours, and covered all of his hits, as well as several others that he had written for other people.

Throughout the show, Smokey had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, converting them into a loud and enthusiastic backing choir. I don't think I have ever witnessed an artist manage a crowd to the degree that he did. It was amazing.

Bottom line: It was great to see this living legend. Smokey Robinson

The Low Anthem

I ended the night at St. Davids, and ended up hitting pay-dirt with this band from Rhode Island. This 4 piece band was highly creative, with each member performing as a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars and basses, there was a trap kit, violin, musical saw, a reed/pump organ, and crotales.

Arguably you could pin the Americana label on this band, but it wouldn't adequately describe what they do. I was totally engaged in their music, and duly impressed by the cell phone resonance/feedback trick at the end of the set, requiring audience participation.

In closing let me just say that this is only one of two bands this year at SxSW where I chose to buy a copy of their CD, after their showcase. The Low Anthem at Central Presbyterian Church

6th Street

On the way to St. Davids, I attempted to capture a picture of 6th Street so that others could appreciate how crowded it was on this night. 6th and Trinity

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