Mar 20 2012

Watch: Arcade Fire’s SXSW Performance During Their Lecture at UT

Mar 18 2012

SXSW 2012 Music: Final Day Recap

My SXSW, I’m sorry to say, ended on a low note that should have been high, but overall it was another fun year, though not as fun as previous ones, for a number of reasons that I won’t go into just yet. The final day probably had some of the best weather that any day of the festival had. I spent most of my day time at Hotel Vegas and Volstead for the Brooklyn Vegan/Partisan/Knitting Factory showcase, where I saw awesome bands like Lucero and Diamond Rugs (a huge highlight for me this week), and rapper Cadence Weapon. Then I met up with some good local buddies and ate at Takoba, the finest Mexican joint on the East Side. Finally, we wandered over to 8th and Trinity for the Red Bull Thre3Style event, where special guest rumors were already running rampant. By the time we got in and got a drink, they had already closed off the gates, so people started jumping the fence early. We saw Datsik, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Erykah Badu, Z-Trip (with Brother Ali), and Questlove from the Roots. The final special guest of the night was Nas, which should have been incredible, but due to microphone problems from the onset, and then a final onstage power-out (whether intentional due to curfew or not, I have no idea), the set was mired with problems and major disappointment. Z-Trip and Nas embraced and walked off saluting the angry crowd, visibly frustrated with the situation.

So overall? SXSW is still the absolute best festival in the world, and this year I got to take more part in the Film and Interactive portions. It cannot be described, one just has to experience it for themselves. That said, this year, compared to the previous years I’ve gone, was a bit of a disappointment. I suppose the letdown that concluded it is symbolic of how I felt throughout, especially during the Music portion. Maybe the City has cracked down on the fun, maybe promoters just didn’t have all the weapons they needed, maybe my expectations for the fest have gotten too high, but whatever the case, I still had a blast, and I’m still looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

I do know no one in the world is happier SXSW is over than my two feet. They braved the elements, and for that I reward them with a relaxing Sunday. You did good, guys. You did real good.

Mar 17 2012

SXSW 2012 Music: Day 4

My feet feel like they’ve been stabbed repeatedly, but it’s all good. Yesterday we kicked off things at Mess With Texas, where we opened the day with the smooth sounds and choreographed dancing from Turquoise Jeep! Keep tha jeep ridin’! Then we rocked out to Cloud Nothings and chilled to Purity Ring. The biggest surprise was Titus Andronicus, who have grown into an incredible live band. The place packed up pretty quickly for Built to Spill; the entire warehouse felt like a sauna, but the band sounded amazing. After grabbing a bite to eat and resting our feet, we split off. I met up with some old friends and ran into others at the Green Label Sound Showcase at Club Deville, featuring Flosstradamus, Star Slinger, and all the Mountain Dew you can drink. So, you know, heaven, basically. My good buddy Rachel and I then meandered to the big ol’ Doritos Vending Machine stage thing, where she got me in with press credentials and together we deliriously watched Chiddy Bang. Then it was on to the sweaty ND for Cloud Nothings one last time, who had all apparently succumbed to the SXSW cocktail of heat, exhaustion, sweat, and copious amounts of alcohol. They were in prime shape for a loud, sweaty punk show. It was excellent.

Today I’m hitting up Hotel Vegas for Brooklyn Vegan’s Hotel Vegan party, where I’ll hopefully catch Cadence Weapon, Lucero, and Diamond Rugs. Tonight? We’ll see how my feet feel.

Mar 16 2012

SXSW 2012 Music: Day 3

Ah, SXSW Music. What a beautiful, chaotic, serendipitous experience. I’ve met many lively souls, seen many old and new friends, and watched some incredible music. And there’s still two days to go!

Yesterday started off with a jaunt at Mohawk to see Japandroids, who still sound amazing and loud. The new stuff is awesome, can’t wait for the album. After that we high-tailed it to Mess With Texas at the Tops Warehouse, which surprisingly I’ve spent a lot of time at. Two Gallants put on an amazing set, then we walked over to Scoot Inn for a rowdy show from Andrew WK. Beer can throwing, incessant moshing and crowd-surfing. Relentless. We regrouped at the apartment, and then I left my out-of-town friends and met up with some credentialed ones for the Turntable.FM Party at Tops, which included amazing sets from Araabmuzik, A-Trak, ?uestlove, and Diplo, with Reggie Watts entertaining in between. Too awesome to describe, that venue is perfect for electronic music.

So today the plan is a stint at Mess With Texas again, and after that, who knows? I might meet someone with cooler plans, you never know. Randomness and excellence abound; SXSW Music constantly reminds me why I moved to Austin.

Mar 15 2012

SXSW 2012 Music – Day 2

No convention center meandering anymore, as I am in full showcase mode. That became apparent yesterday when I stumbled into Side Bar (Beauty Bar line for CoSigns was hilariously long), a place that NEVER has any live music and one that I frequent regularly, only to find an upcoming slot for Hooray For Earth! Needless to say the set was excellent, so happy to see those guys again. Afterwards I got into Stubb’s and witnessed my most wonderful surprise of the week: an emotional, brilliant set from Fiona Apple. Sharon Van Etten sounded great as well, and Dan Deacon was up to his usual hijinks, of which I have mixed feelings about. Alabama Shakes played after, and I must say I was a bit underwhelmed – I couldn’t help but feel they were too derivative of old Kings of Leon material. I enjoyed it, but I was expecting a bit more from a band hyped so much. After that I met up with a friend to end off the night with a short raucous set from Eve 6. So yeah, I haven’t seen either Eve 6 or Third Eye Blind since 1998 (at the same show) and this week I got to see them both.

So today it’s looking like either Mess With Texas or the Pitchfork Day Party at Mohawk, then I’m likely going to the 1100 Warehouse for the Turntable.FM party. We’ll see though, things are getting quite random as SXSW Music rolls on.

Mar 14 2012

SXSW 2012 Music: Day 1

For once, my schedule went exactly as I planned it. I caught all my panels, which were all pretty great. The first featured David Draiman of Disturbed, which was….surprisingly…..really great. He was very informed chatting with Spotify guy Ken Parks about streaming-based services and the future of music. I also enjoyed a talk from the founder of Pandora. After that I ventured to Mohawk and caught a set from White Denim. Then I walked out and got in line for the Pitchfork Interactive Showcase, which I caught most of. Teengirl Fantasy, Star Slinger (who ruled it!), Mr. Muthaphuckin Exquire, Bear In Heaven, and Schoolboy Q were all super awesome.

Today I plan to hit up the SXSW Trade Show and Flatstock, then it’s off to Stubb’s for the NPR Showcase and copious amounts of live music! Plus, there’s people in town that I haven’t seen in ages, so life is good! SXSW Music is in full swing!

Mar 13 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 5

So Girls was fantastic, and I had no idea Judd Apatow would be there! We previewed the first three episodes of the new HBO series, and I’m already a fan. I am looking forward to seeing the whole first season, and I highly recommend it. Guaranteed to be the next big hit for HBO. After that I went to my cohort and alumni party, which was put together splendidly with food, drinks, and spontaneous dancing. I ventured over to Spaghetti Warehouse to catch Sleigh Bells and Major Lazer, but it was pretty pointless due to the line, so I walked back and continued the private party function. Mohawk never happened, but yesterday rocked nevertheless.

Today, I’m hitting the panel circuit; a lot of the music tech discussions are happening today. Currently I’m sitting in Ballroom E/F, waiting for The Future of Music Consumption panel featuring Ken Parks from Spotify, Bill Werde from Billboard, and….apparently David Draiman from Disturbed. Afterwards I’m looking at the Can Social Music Save the Music Industry? panel. Then it’s The Evolving Role of Radio and the SoundCloud Open House before making a concerted effort to get into Pitchfork’s Interactive Party at Mohawk. Busy day, kids! Stay hydrated!

Mar 12 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 4

So you know all that stuff I told you I was going to do yesterday? Yeah, almost none of that happened. Such is the nature of SXSW, that of serendipity and aimless wandering, which I’m doing some of today. Hunky Dory was better than I predicted, a feel-good Welsh teen movie based in the 70’s and filled with Bowie tunes. Never went to that Mashable party, got talked into the Funny Or Die shindig at Hotel Vegas and caught Dale Earndheart Jr. Jr. again. Then we moseyed on over to the Tom Hanks Electric City party featuring an open bar, Asian food, and White Denim. Ended up at Mohawk with free beers in hand, and then we stumbled upon a killer rave at the Art House on 7th and Congress featuring Fred Falke and Nosaj Thing. All in all? An excellent Sunday night.

Today? Well, I’ve been meaning to pick up my Hype Hotel wristband, so hopefully that will get done. Don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but hey, better safe than sorry. Also, I’ve been wanting to check out the SoundCloud Open House, so that’s a priority. Then, surprise! I’m actually catching another screener today at the Paramount! Girls! And then I have this St. Edward’s party thing to get to, and then it’s the Mohawk for Barbarian Group/Tumblr’s party featuring Japandroids and Wavves. That’s what I think I’ll do, anyway, but the way things are going, expect a different report tomorrow.

Mar 11 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 3

Daylight savings, am I right? I slept a little longer than I originally planned because of the time change, but no worries, as Sunday was initially planned to be my laid-back day anyway. I feel like I should see at least one screener this year with this fancy platinum badge, so my sis and I are checking out Hunky Dory today. From the description it sounds like it could either be a terrible movie or an enjoyable one. My sister picked it, so if it sucks, I’m blaming it on her. Tonight I’ll be doing some party jumping. Mashable’s party is at Buffalo Billards, The CNET Party is happening as well at Maggie Mae’s with the Delta Spirit performing. Also going on: the Crowdtap VIP Party, FLUENT Party Rock, the Latitudes Party, and the Tom Hanks Electric Party. Probably going to take it easy for the most part, because once music starts, that won’t be the case at all.

So yesterday was a mixture of busts and high points. Started the day off with the Tech Career Expo, which was a giant letdown. Seriously, how many people actually find a good job at one of those things? And apparently if you’re not a programmer or coder, you’re out of luck. It just shocked me almost none of these companies had any kind of internship program, or marketing. Got a lot of business cards, handed out very few. A waste of two hours in retrospect.

Fortunately my spirits were lifted when I saw one of my favorite bands ever, Third Eye Blind, in one of the best venues ever, ACL Live at the Moody Theatre. What a blast. I was up front being a fanboy the whole time. It was insanely awesome, and a definite personal highlight for me for the Interactive portion, which thus far has been underwhelming. They ran the gamut through all of their albums, which, yes, all those albums are good, not just the first one. And yes, I know it’s 2012.

After that I snatched a bite to eat (love you, Which Wich!) and headed over to a private function on Brazos. Saw many good friends, made some new ones, ran into some surprise ones, and weaseled my way into the VIP area with the help of a partner in crime. All in all, even though it started out disappointing, Saturday was a grand ol’ time. Maybe too grand, which is why Sunday will be more relaxing. Here’s to booze and live music!

Mar 10 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 2

Another late morning, another late start, another rainy, cold day in Austin.  Another day of taking it easy, for the most part.  Last night didn’t get too wild, but the weather certainly changed my plans for many things.  Didn’t see the Girl Walk screener, but I did soak in two panels, including a semi-informative one about public radio and its influence on media as a whole.  After that I had my share of free drinks at the Do512 Interactive Party at the Belmont, which was fun and mega crowded.  Once the word was out Ghostland Observatory was playing a totally free, totally non-credential show at ACL Live, my posse and I scurried four blocks south and got right in.  And Ghostland, and their phenomenal light show, killed, as per usual.  So no karaoke, no screener, but still a grand old time.

Today the plan is to mosey on over to the Austin Music Hall, where thankfully I won’t be hearing any music.  Instead, I’ll be taking in the Tech Career Expo, checking out some awesome tech companies and maybe even handing out a few business cards.  I gave out three yesterday! Can you believe it?! Me neither!

After that it’s back to the Convention Center for a solo panel from Frank Abagnale.  Yes, THAT Frank Abagnale, the one the movie Catch Me If You Can is about.  Pretty certain Leonardo DiCaprio won’t be making an appearance, but Frank is likely going to talk about his past, and, as is the case with most panels, plugging a current project or startup or book or something.

I guess I could network some more, but the junior high girl inside me is screaming that I must go catch Third Eye Blind at ACL Live.  Which is probably where I’ll be.  I’m currently listening to them on Spotify in anticipation, so….yeah. You can count on it. And after that, I’m going to a private function you’re not invited to. Sorry. Rolling with VIP over here.