Panels and Day Stages
Matt Haimovitz & Uccello
This was an interesting opening act, right before the Keynote. A quartet of cellists played a variety of material, including an interpretation of the Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. Comparisons with Kronos quartet, are to be expected.
From what I understand, Haimovitz (on the left) is a Music professor, and the rest of the ensemble is composed of his students. I wish that I would have had time to catch one of their showcases, but that just didn't seem possible.
SxSW Keynote: Bob Geldof
Sir Bob Geldof opened his keynote lamenting the fact that an impressive list of people had given keynotes in previous years. Feeling somewhat inadequate, he wondered if he was up to the task.
Putting modesty aside however, he then went on to talk about why Rock could have only emerged from America, and why it was important to the rest of the world. He got more specific, talking about how
Howling Wolf and
Elvis changed his entire world, when he first heard them. Rock music was a catalyst for things that would have never emerged otherwise in Ireland.
Bob then went on to say that during his most recent trips to the US, that we as a nation,
seemed tired and exhausted. His challenge was that the US needed new voices to emerge, arising to challenge the status quo. He also indicated that perhaps another nation would need to step up, although he wondered who that could possibly be. He was sure however, that somebody needed to.
This was a
State of the Union address for the A&R world. I'm going to have to go back and listen to the audio again, because although I didn't take good notes, there was some very good information and demographics provided during the panel.
Although I fully intended to see Emmylou later in the evening at Antones, I decided to check out this set on the Day Stage, as a precaution. This ended up being a wise decision, as you will read later.
So, Emmylou played a short set of 4 songs, with a little bit of monologue in between songs. She was as fantastic as I would have expected. My only regret was not getting a better picture, but the iPhone doesn't really do too well in dimly lit scenarios.
Josh was another recommendation from the Handicapping panel. A solo, singer/songwriter type who was a little more on the
Country end of the spectrum. I stayed for the entire set, and found it enjoyable, even if it wasn't my favorite genre of music.
Today's World of Songwriter and Artist Music Licensing Deals
As a proud member of the Austin Music Foundation, I have gotten to know the Brabec brothers (Todd and Jeff) personally. Not only have they spoken at every one of the 7 SxSWm conferences that I've attended, but they have also been brought to town by AMF several times.
Once again, they were top of the licensing game, and their information is invaluable to anyone who holds a publishing copyright. The new information that they discussed this time, was about the mobile App market.
The Head and the Heart
Songwriters Explain Everything
This was another fantastic panel featuring songwriters Hayes Carll, Ron Sexsmith, and Hazel Dickens. Of course, all three artists played during the session, making for a very special experience.
This ended up being my last screening of SxSW 2011. I chose this film because I had heard very good things about it, while waiting in line at the Ritz for Beginners.
The basic story was about several aging West Coast Punk Rock musicians, and how their lives had changed, now that they were in their 40's and had kids. The
F word was obviously fatherhood.
The subjects of the film included Jim Linberg of Pennywise, Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, Tony Hawk, Art Alexakis of Everclear, and Ron Reyes (aka Chavo) of Black Flag. The best line of the movie came from Jim Linberg, who said to paraphrase as best I can, "When I perform for audiences that are predominantly 20 years younger than I am, I feel like the clown at kids's birthday party. Maybe I should be up here on stage making balloon animals"
Additional clips can be found here.
Moody Theater - ACL Live
While waiting to enter the Moody Theater for Bob Geldof, there was Street Marching Band down below the balcony performing arrangements of Rock songs. Of course, here in Austin, this is treated as nothing unusual.
The first show of the night was Bob Geldof. He is about to go on tour, and this was one of his first shows with the band. Besides Bob, there was one other member of the Boomtown Rats in this band, bassist, Pete Briquette. Bob mentioned that it had been quite a long time since he last played in Austin, because the venue was Armadillo World Headquarters.
The set went by way too quickly and featured a good mix of his new material and a healthy selection of Rats' songs. On my end, I spent most of the time on the floor in front of the stage, but snuck up to the balcony for the last 10 minutes, just to see things from above.
This was a fantastic afro-jazz trio, led by a bassist from Cameron, named Francis Mbappe, along with Cuban guitarist Richard Padron, and Will Calhoun, best known as the drummer for Living Colour. The show was at the Elephant Room, and all of the usual suspects (various Jazz fans living here in Austin) were present.
Abigail is another favorite, and I have seen her a number of times, but always with Bela Fleck and the Sparrow Quartet. This time she was appearing at Antones, with a new band.
This great show went by way too fast. The only bummer being the crowd, because Antones was filled to capacity. I abandoned any plans of returning to Antones a few hours later for Emmylou Harris, since I had already seen her at the Day Stage.
This was my first showcase at St. David's this year. (St. David's is my favorite venue because the acoustics are so fucking great in both the Sanctuary and Bethel Hall. I caught the last song of Takashi Kamide's set, a Japanese accordion player with an avant-garde bent.
This was an Avant/Experimental act that I also found enjoyable. I need to listen to more from this band, as well.
City and Colour
I'm not sure that this band was on my radar, but the quality of the other acts at St. David's convinced me to just stay put. I'm glad I did, because this was the best band of SxSWm, as far as I'm concerned.
Dallas Green is a Canadian vocalist and guitarist from the band, Alexis on Fire. As a side project, he created City and Colour, sometimes performing solo, other times bringing along 3 other musicians to back him up. On this evening, he started the set with the band, and then finished the last 4 songs by himself.
All I can say is wow. This band knocked me on my ass. I loved the musicianship, the vocals, and the songwriting. Apparently, I was one of the uninformed, because it seemed at times that about 75% of the audience was singing along to their music. They have a following, and it's well deserved if I must say so myself.