Friday, March 23, 2012

SxSW Day 8

Friday, March 16


Cool Garage Tools and the Crap to Avoid

This was a nice session discussing home recording tools and options, for the semi-pro, or musicians wanting to tackle their own recording. Judging from the attendance compared to some other panels, SxSWm would be well served to schedule more panels like this.

Producing Ecstacy

I started out the morning with a panel featuring the following speakers:

  • Sandy Pearlman (aka. Doctor Doom)

    Presently a visiting professor at McGill University. Was a well known producer working with bands such as the Clash, and Blue Oyster Cult. He is also the infamous Cow Bell producer responsible for BOC's, Don't Fear the Reaper. I have been privileged enough to speak with Sandy on multiple occasions. He's one of my favorite speakers at SxSWm.

  • George Massenburg

    Professor of Sound Recording at McGill. A producer and engineer of note and renown within the AES, with a resume too long to wedge in here.

  • Don Mclean

    Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto.

This session hit on a lot of areas of personal interest. Basically, they discussed how the human brain reacts to music. There is an incredible amount of research in this area, backed up by things such as functional MRIs of the brains of subjects, while they listen to music. I was furiously taking notes, and have quite a long reading list, that I came away with.

Sometime in the near future, I hope to write an in-depth post about my own journey and research into these areas. Among other things, it seems to include:

  • Analysis of Leonard Bernstein's 6 part lecture at Havard, The Unanswered Question.
  • Studies of Polyphonic singing throughout the globe.
  • Hypersonics or the idea that our perception of music is influence by ultrasonic and possibly subsonic frequencies.
Producing Ecstasy Panel

Day Parties

Cutting Edge Music Conference and Capitol View Arts

Because of my involvement with Capitol View Arts, I headed over to their non-official day party, at the Victory Grill, held in conjunction with the Cutting Edge Music Festival. The highlight for me was seeing Drastik perform. They're similar in sound and genre to Rage Against the Machine. Their lead singer is quite the showman, and has a lot of charisma and energy.

Cutting Edge/CVA Day Party

While I was over in East Austin, I also stopped by Kenny Dorham's Backyard, right next door, and had a basket of Perogies from the Food Trucks down at the end of the block.

Kenny Dorham's Backyard

I ended up spending about 4 hours over in East Austin, before headed back towards downtown, at City Hall, where I parked.


The War on Drugs at the Moody Theater

After eating dinner at Austin Java, I headed across the street to ACL Live/Moody Theater to see the Philadelphia based, psychedelic band, the War on Drugs. I also ran into some friends, who were raving about this band.

My friends were right, this band is excellent. Every aspect of their performance was exceptional, and they are all fantastic musicians. I have bought some of their music, now that I have seen them live, and would consider going to see them again.

The War on Drugs The War on Drugs
Wild Belle at Antones

I walked up the hill from the Moody, towards Antones, and was able to just walk right in. While milling around as the band was setting up, I turned around and noticed Greg Kot, from the Sound Opinions show.

I have been a regular listener of the Sound Opinions podcast for well over 4 years. I have run into the two hosts Greg Kot, and Jim DeRegotis every year at SxSW. Having spoken to him in prior years, I reintroduced myself, and had a nice conversation. It was at the time, I also realized that some of the staff mentioned on the show, were with him. So, I asked Greg, along with staffer Jason Saldanha to pose for this shot.

Two of the crew from Sound Opinions

The band Wild Belle was actually from Chicago, and Greg was raving about them. They played good solid Indie Rock, and while I say I enjoyed their set, I didn't fall in love with them.

Wild Belle at Antones
Little Roy in the Victorian Room, at the Driskill

Leaving Antones, I stopped in at the Victorian Room, in the Driskill because it always has good sound. A reggae band from London, Little Roy, was playing. They did a great job, but they weren't Bob Marley.

Little Roy at the Driskill
Next Stop Central Presbyterian Church

Along with St. David's, I find the acoustics and listening experience at the Central Presbyterian Church, to be superb. I caught two acts here, before moving on.

Charlie Mars

Charlie Mars is a very accomplished singer/songwriter from Oxford. The lighting was too low to get a good picture with my phone, but his show went great. Most notably, he succeeded in getting the entire crowd to sing along with several of his songs. This is always a sign that the audience is enjoying the show, and having a good time.

Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid was a multi-intrumentalist, singer/songwriter from Staten Island, NY. She was accompanied by four additional musicians, who also sang backing vocals.

She was another exceptional performer, and could most likely pursue a second career as a stand-up comic, if she desired. I think I have a band crush on her.

Ingrid Michaelson

Graham Reynolds at the Elephant Room

I had to swing by the Elephant Room to catch my good friend, Graham, at the Elephant Room. He was playing with four other musicians, which included:

  • Ruby Jane - teen fiddling phenom extraordinaire
  • John Mills
  • Jeremy Bruch
  • Utah Hamrick
  • Todd Reynolds

Unfortunately, I didn't get to talk to Graham afterwards. The Elephant was SRO, so I decided to move on after listening to 5 songs.

Graham Reynolds

Candy Claws at the Tap Room

I quickly ducked in to the Tap Room to check out this young, pop band, from Fort Collins, CO. What they lacked in musicianship, they made up for in spirit, and showmanship. Very listenable, regardless.

Candy Claws

St. Patrick's Day

It seems that every year, St. Patti's day coincides with SxSW, and the section of 4th street near Fado is always blocked off, with a drunken party. To be honest, this just adds more people to an already crowded situation.

Normally, I would not take further note of the holiday, despite being of partial Irish descent, but I noticed that the Frost Bank (aka. the Rice Owl) building was bathed in green light for the ocassion.

Must be St. Patrick's Day

Lost in the Tree at Antones

This was a prog-ish sort of band from Chapel Hill, NC. There were 6 or 7 people in the band and included, 2 female vocalists, one of whom played keys and flute, the other of which played violin. There was also a cellist, guitarist, bassist (who also played Tuba), and drummer.

I enjoyed the set, but am not sure I wouldn't have gotten bored with their music with an extended listening. From their demeanor and stage presence, their showcase seemed like a chamber music concert.

Lost in the Trees
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