sxsw


I skipped the whole thing.  I needed to do it to preserve my sanity.

So much has changed since last year and I was incapable of feigning any enthusiasm to stand around on concrete floors listening to bands I love or loathe.

It’s easier for me to listen to music these days than before but I am not as passionate about it.  Amusingly, I may be more passionate about the business than I’ve been for a while.

I still see a lot of really positive things happening and a tremendous amount of potential.  When I think back of when I started in music, the entire business changed.  A couple of times.

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During SX, there were a lot of private parties shut for capacity, permit, or relatively random (and seemingly fascistic) reasons.

The parties are an essential, though non-official, part of the SXSW experience. Frankly, they are the only things many of us do during the week.

The owners of boutique Factory People wrote an eloquent open letter about their party and the future of private parties that was posted on Austinist yesterday.

It would be nice, for once, if the City of Austin have some collective sense about a big event. I would hate to see SX become scrubbed of all of the unofficial gatherings. A week of just conference panels and showcases would be absolutely sucktastic.

Brooklyn Vegan has a link to an mp3 of Beirut’s live performance on KEXP during SX last week.

I am now home, drunk, after my only real foray into SX territory.

Yes, it’s like 7:30 here, but I have been drinking for a few hours. I don’t drink much anymore, but S kept bringing them and who I am I to say no?

I went to the CDF showcase, which was excellent. I caught a few minutes of Sounds Under Radio, a major buzz band . . . about to be signed to WB and featured on the SpiderMan 3 soundtrack (replacing WolfMother, if I am not mistaken). As usual, I have heard no local buzz about them. All the buzz is national.

I spent quality time with our band’s producer. He’s a tremendous talent and he really supports what they’re doing.

The band was awesome, as always. They were all recovering slowly from the flu, so I could tell they were not thrilled with their performances. Musically, they were just as good, if not better, than always. Vocally, they were holding back a bit. Despite the fact they failed to play my favorite song, it was a great set. The audience on the lower level sang along. The audience on the upper level (the industry folks) seemed really into it.

A collected me at 7th and Congress. I thought I walk would do me good. What it did was give me a chance to see all the band dudes in skinny jeans. A note for all the men out there: you look awful in skinny jeans, especially spandex skinny jeans. Look like a man, for goodness sake.

The one piece of advice I gave everyone today is “enjoy each moment.” Don’t rush through thinking that the next level is where it’s at. Right here, right now, this moment is special. Enjoy the good things, and the bad things. Enjoy each stage of this journey for the journey. Focusing too much on the destination will drive you insane.

Tonight, I went with B to see Public Enemy at Auditorium Shores, an amphitheater on the shore of Town Lake, which is known as the Colorado River elsewhere.

It’s a beautiful location with downtown as the backdrop:

There were tens of thousands of people there. I am terrible at estimating crowd size, but it was a remarkable number of people. We were nowhere near the stage and there were 2 or 3 hundred feet worth of people behind us.

The show was decent. Chuck D, Flava Flav, Professor Griff were all there, and they had a live band. The sound was not great. We were over past the speakers, but it just wasn’t very loud.

The set didn’t last more than 90 minutes. They jumped around a bit, mostly old stuff, a couple of new songs. Everything hung together well. There was a little too much Flava Flav for my taste. It was his birthday, so there were at least three separate mentions of it. There was some great political stuff.

Overall, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t the group though. It was the audience. The audience sucked. Hard. We have a problem of bad audiences here in town. People go to shows and stand in front of the band and talk. It’s incredibly rude and infuriating.

There were plenty of people talking throughout the entire show. Not, “I love this song!” and then shutting up, but “I loved Flavor of Love!” “My camera’s not working” “Where are we going when this is done.” The whining! I was absolutely appalled.

I wanted to punch them very hard. I moved as far away as I could, but it was dark and packed and there was only so far I could wander from B to get away from the talking.

How people can be so rude is just beyond me. It’s disrespectful to the audience and it’s disrespectful to everyone around them who are trying to enjoy the show.


This is where I will be tomorrow, supporting my friends (and meeting some people in between sets). Red Eyed Fly is a great venue and I expect it to be packed.

Because I know you will ask, A has been given explicit permission to skip it. Like he needed permission. I am lucky if I can get him to one showcase per year. It’s just not his thing. Plus, I think FireKills was just a little too far afield for him the last time (though he did acknowledge they were great musicians).

I have been getting messages from friends and clients braving SX downtown, as we try unsuccessfully to find each other or meet for drinks in between.

This has been my favorite: “X is at some Douchey show, so I can’t hear him.”

I am very interested in finding out which douchey show.

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