Category Archives: SXSW

SXSW 2013 With A Twist

fogerty

Oh what’s the twist?  Finally getting something knocked out.  Yeah, I went this year and am now just getting around to saying something about it.  This year’s take was different in the fact that I went all wristband and not the badge.  Did things work out as well?  Yes and no.

First off just check out the playlist of videos.  I uploaded dumped a whole bunch of videos this week on the YouTubes and they say more than I could right here.  Highlights included John Fogerty, Eric Burdon, Orange Goblin, Houses, Bear Mountain, and Black Pistol Fire.  It was another eclectic year and I didn’t bother trying to get into some of the bigger name acts.  That said, and what you could tell from the list, I did alright seeing both big and small acts.

The only real downside with not getting a badge was missing out on the day parties.  Yes, it was more music, but it was also tons of free drinks and food.  It’s no wonder I survived this year and didn’t get sick like I did the last two times.  Oh, I still got mine, though.  Especially Tuesday night and Saturday.  But I digress.  The point is, the lows weren’t too low and I still managed to see some great acts.

I even got to see a KC buddy of mine’s band.  They drove all the way from KC (on tour) to hit up the Dizzy Rooster and rock out Saturday afternoon.  Good times were had by all who came to see Get Busy Living.  We even had room for them to crash at our place.  It gave me a good glimpse of what life on the road could be like.  That van was HUGE.  I can’t wait to see them again.

So that’s my short capsule review of SXSW 2013.  The usual suspects applies but it was just different enough that it sold me on next year already.  And I don’t have to feel pressured into getting the ginormous badge.  That is, unless I want to perform and/or sell my musical chops.  I guess we’ll have to see what 2014 will bring me.  Until then, enjoy the videos.

SXSW 2011 Wrap Up: I Play the Laptop

The cold is gone and I have the energy to write again.  I’ve been behind but I’m all caught up with this SXSW crap.  Now, very few bands I saw were crap this year but I wanted to give a good overview of what the vibe was to me.  The laptop is now a full fledged instrument.  There are some other crazy things but now I don’t feel so alone with my own computer music buddy.

The musicianship was hard to find but once you did, it was beautiful.  Jonahtan Edwards comes to mind.  But outside of the great talent playing old timey instruments, I witnessed a bunch of bands using one ore more laptops.  Usually, it would be next to the guitar player or lead singer, but on one or two occasions the laptop was another percussive tool for the drummer.  The stigma of using a computer for beats on a live stage is gone, or at least gone for this generation of musicians.

That’s not to say the new generation isn’t lost on playing other instruments.  The other trend was switching gear on the fly.  I saw a guy jump from drum machine to bass guitar only to have the lead singer take over for beats.  I wish I was ambidextrous.  It’s like the members of a band all had their own gear that overlapped and they decided to just lump it together and go with it.  So when it was time for Johnny to be on his guitar, the lead guitar player will jump on his rinky dink synthesizer to provide a humming rhythm.  I guess that’s how bands get formed.

At any rate, I’m more confident than ever in not only listening to music but creating.  There’s so much to fall in love with musically, it’s nearly impossible to walk away from your favorite online store, or SXSW for that matter, unhappy. That’s inspired me to work more not only for discovering new music (I have a ton of CDs to go through now), but it’s also planted a seed of creativity in me that now needs nurturing.

So there’s a couple of things coming up that I’m going to unload all of his knife free joint.  I’m not even close to done for uploading the ginormous amount of video I filmed.  Look for more in depth review of the bands I saw when that pops up.  The new music from the conference will get a closer look as well.  I also have some gear to review and/or purchase, depending on the budget.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll toss up a demo here or there and ask for negative reviews only.  The positive stuff is fluffy crap anyway.

SXSW Day 04: The Home Stretch

The last day.  It was the last day for SXSW Music.  I redeemed myself the previous day and now it was time to finish strong.  Instead of sticking around for the softball bbq the next day, we bolted town to get a head start on the driving.  So it was important to make sure all of the musical bases were covered and end SXSW on a fantastic play at the plate.  Enough baseball analogies, let’s see how my final day ended up:

  1. Needless to say after a week of partying and getting sick between all of the interactive and music showcases, I was pooped.  It’s a good thing the first stop was in the Austin Convention Center.  I was early for the first must see so I popped over to other stage and checked out music/video masher DJ Yoda.  I have to say this genre of mixing video with music at the same time is starting to blow.  It makes DJs more dynamic and provides another layer of skill to show off to the peeps.
  2. Toro Y Moi was going to feel my presence on St. Patrick’s Day but Montezuma said NO.  So, with the power of the badge, I found myself at the afternoon day stage in the convention center and witnessed a hot set.  It’s funky, it’s electronic, it’s ambient, it’s mega tasty.  This summer will be the summer of Toro Y Moi for me and I will raise a lemon rimmed pint of my favorite wheat style beer in salute every time Toro Y Moi comes on.
  3. I have on my list of notes two weird things, “Aussie Death Metal” and “Impress Records Weak Peeps.”  I’m guessing that they both stunk and I was out and about for badge fringes, or drink, food, and schwag.  On to the next tent!
  4. Kitten sounds familiar, right?   If you’re as old as me then you will remember the all-girl nu-metal band that popped up around the last 1990s.  Welp, there was no reunion to be had as this Kitten had a different coat.  Led by some lady that kept bouncing the tambourine off of her boobs, the male backing band that completed this Kitten gave us ample room to punk out and jump around.  The energized the crowd in the afternoon, all thanks to this pint-sized tank of a singer.
  5. The Dolphin City Records tent party had this band from San Diego called Dynamite Walls.  They were alright.   Nothing really jumped out at me and the band didn’t have enough crowd to get anyone excited about their sound.
  6. With the day party stuff done, it was time to line up the night-time shows.  I had huge excitement for one band so I lined up at least an hour before the show.  The badge gave me first shot in and the since the doors weren’t open yet, I was sure to get in.  So I plopped across the street into some green energy demo rest area and proceeded to listen to an Austin band named The Flesh Lights. Some hard-driving rock punking out in the street at Beerland passed the time perfectly and this little surprise held my attention enough to where I had to look them up afterwards.
  7. Now it was time to go into Esylium for The Ghost a Saber Tooth Tiger.  Sean Lennon formed a band with his model girlfriend and the sample song I heard was pretty cool.  The live show sucked.  They talked too much in between songs and they thought they were alot funnier than they actually were.  The old style instruments they played were pretty cool though so at least I came way with some decent musicianship.
  8. There were a couple of bands I wanted to see at the Austin Music Awards and I had to book all the way across downtown to check them out.  The real treat for me was to check out the last couple of songs by the Bright Light Social Hour.  The jammed out my ears so hard, they bled happily.  I’ll have to see these guys the next time they are in town.
  9. I had my psychedelic itch scratched yesterday, but I went full on with an Austin based band that reunited for the first time in forever for the award show.  The Bubble Puppy isn’t really known but after hearing a couple of their songs on YouTube I figured it would be a treat to see.  Boy was I right, the jam style they had made them seem more like The Allman Brothers Band than something like a Pink Floyd with their dueling guitar jams.  It was nice to get a peak into the history of Austin with this great sounding band.
  10. Speaking of Austin history, some guy named Rocky Erickson took the stage with the Meat Puppets and the locals went nuts.  For me, the two songs the Meat Puppets played were pure magic but Rocky’s set was a little uninspired.  That’s fine, a little bit of Meat Puppets is all I need.
  11. Next up was country time and I doubled over to Momo’s to see Terrie Clark.  My girlfriend loved this lady so it was treat for her to see Terrie up close and personal.  I, on the other hand, was just along for the ride.  She’s a pretty good guitar picker and she put on a good set.  I was more enthralled with the Porchstep electronic boot thumping device.  It was a piece of wood with a mic jack to capture a foot stomp when kicked.  I never knew that existed.
  12. I ended my SXSW experience at Emo’s Annex and got there early enough to see Fang Island first.  The building joy from this band filled the stage and poured out to the audience with each minute of ecstatic jamming.  The crowd, as well as myself, was into this fully and everyone left the set with a smile on their face.
  13. Lastly, it was the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group.  He was out supporting a compilation with his band but SXSW made for a very special appearance by Cedric Bixler-Zavala.  For those of you who don’t know, put those guys together and you get The Mars Volta.  My SXSW experience was complete with the jamming and off tempo thumping of this collective.  Ho man, when they ask 1o years from know where music skewed off into fantastic directions I will point to these guys.

That was it.  My feet were tired and I beat up my body so much that I am just now getting over my SXSars sickness.  I’ll be uploading the videos I took for a good deal of these artists so look for that.  Thank you SXSW, for filling up my music discovery and rediscovery needs for another year.  It’s my music honeymoon.