Thursday, March 17, 2011

SxSW Day 6

Panels and Day Stages

Handicapping SxSW Showcases

This was great panel to open up SxSWm. It included people that wrote for several music blogs, including Hype Machine, as well as one blogger who had listened to every single audio clip, on the SxSW website.

The end objective was for each panelist to give their list of 10 to 20 bands, that had to be seen. I had some overlap with some of their choices. My own list was generated from a smaller and incomplete sampling. I can say that I adjusted my schedule based upon some of the recommendations.

I should mention also, that for this year, I made a conscious effort to avoid seeing Austin bands if possible. I figure that I can see those acts, any time.
Panel: Handicapping SxSW Showcases

Entrepreneurs in Music

This was a fairly interesting talk, with Eric Garland of Big Champagne, as one of the panelists. I found it interesting, primarily for the demographic information presented in the talk.


This was one of the more interesting bands I saw on the day stage, they were primarily Electronic, but with some acoustic Latin percussion. I found them reminiscent of Oingo Boingo, in their sound.

Unfortunately, I was not able to catch their later showcases. Casiokids on the Day Stage

SxSW Featured Speaker: Andrew W.K.

Figuring this was a Keynote, I decided to see what it was about. I left about 10 minutes into his monologue. I'm not sure why this guy is famous, and I'm pretty sure that I won't be buying any of his music.

Daniel Johnston - The First Fifty Years

I just happened to walk in on this one. Hmm, not sure what to say about this. I didn't really find Johnston's music that enjoyable to listen to. I've read his bio on Wikipedia and learned some more information about him. Daniel Johnston

Mobile Music Moves to the Cloud

This was the backup panel, after striking out on the other two. Interesting, but no new info. If anything, I'm sure that our Congress will succeed in successfully destroying any new business models that emerge, and the US will continue to be the backwater, with no services like Spotify.

James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow has almost an Irish Tenor quality voice. His band is fantastic. They are extremely competent and tasteful, and then knock you on your ass with their multi-part vocal harmonies.

This was one of the bands recommended during the Handicapping panel, and this selection was spot on. I'm considering buying their CD or a download.
James Vincent McMorrow

The Future of Music - Is There One?

Unlike earlier panels, I was waiting for this one because it featured Dr. Doom himself, Sandy Pearlman. I love this punker turned McGill University professor because of his no nonsense critiques of the music business, and his insight.

Surprisingly, Sandy has changed his tune a bit, and is enthusiastic about the vinyl resurgence, as precursor for more analog. He talked at length about whether there is something to the perception about the warmth of analog tape. He also said some interesting and provocative things about the truncation of the Harmonic series, by the CD Redbook spec and MP3 CODECs. It turns out that recent research is indicating that there is something to the preference by humans, for analog, and it's tied to our brains.

I had the opportunity to speak with him one on one later (a real treat). I now have a whole list of papers and books that I need to read, as a result of this conversation. Sandy jokingly told me that there will be test at next year's SxSW, and I could hand in my paper then.
The Future of Music - Is there one?

How to Keep Your Digital Music Flowing

I sat in on this panel, but was really planning my evening on my iPhone. I'll have to go back and see if the audio was posted.


Canadian Blast Party - Karkwa

I left the Convention Center and crossed the street to claim my free daily booze ration, and then sneak over next door to the Canadian Blast party. I was able to listen to one set, by a band from Montreal, called Karkwa. I don't know how to label their music, other than with the word Alternative. I did enjoy them, however, and will be looking for more of their music.

I did notice one disturbing trend. Other than the Brush Square tent run by SxSW, none of the booze was free anymore. The Canadian Blast Party had a Cash Bar. I guess this is a sign of the economic situation. However, I think the Cash Bars are here to stay now! Damn it!
Sign at Canadian Blast Party in Brush Square Karkwa

Hilton Stage - King Charles

After the Canadian Party, I strolled across the street to the Hilton to see what was going on there. An artist named, King Charles, was there. Backed by a band, he a very strong Reggae, Calypso, and Caribbean feel to his music. I stayed for the entire set. Sign at Hilton Day Stage King Charles on the Hilton Day Stage



This was a multi-national Rock band. I don't remember much about them, even though I was parked at Stubbs all night, and heard their entire set.

James Blake

Although this was recommended by the Handicapping panel this morning, I didn't find much that I enjoyed or was interested in.

Smith Westerns

This was another Rock act that I found somewhat engaging. I used this opportunity to stake a claim up near the front, under the deck. The prime real estate at Stubbs. Smith Westerns

Raphael Saadiq

I had seen Raphael at last year's SxSW, and came away very impressed. Raphael hit it out of the park again this year.

He has successfully taken the old Berry Gordy/Motown sound, and brought in to the 21st century. Can't say enough nice things about this act. Raphael Saddiq

Duran Duran

For the last showcase of the night, I chose to release my inner teenage girl, and see Duran Duran. Since they were just kicking off for a tour, there were some minor glitches. They did sound well rehearsed, however.

I enjoyed this 90 minutes show, but am unsure I would ever go to see them again. Now, I can scratch them off of my bucket list. Duran Duran at Stubbs

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