Friday, March 17, 2006

Day two for me, Day three for the rest of the staff

How can I sum up SXSW in a nutshell? It's like muscial tapas. There are so many bands to sample. And the plates are small - each band only "showcases" for 45 minutes to an hour. You sample it and then move onto the next dish. The only problem is the menu is the size of the bible. Here is just a sample of who played through the streets of Austin yesterday - Thursday the 16th - around 11pm.

AM,Jonathan Kane's February, Carbonas,Chris Pierce, Flaming Lips, The Royal Highnes, Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, The Exit, Peter Mulvey, Ross Hogg, The Graves Brothers Deluxe, Pony Up, Duane Andrews, Scott H. Biram Translator, The Tyde, Lovemaker, The Refugee All Stars, Xiu Xiu, Dr. Dog, Chatam County Line, Ruthie Foster, We Are Wolves, Particle, Crystal Skulls, Twighlight Singers, The Living End, Hudson Bell, The Dresden Dolls, Chris Stamey, Man Man, Helios Creed, Rocky Votolato, Mittens on Strings, Pterodactyl...

This is only 3/5's through the list. There is also a ton of marquee acts each night. Here's who else played throughout yesterday:

Morrisey, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, Brazilian Girls, Kris Kristofferson, Lady Soverign, Gogol Bordello, Echo and the Bunny Men, Spoon, Minues the Bear, Goldfrapp.

I, of course, missed them all. I even missed the Flaming Lips, much to the potential chagrin of my Sound Opinions comrades. I did not miss them by choice. It's just the this SXSW first timer was overwhelmed. Jim Derogatis told me before we left for SXSW that the festical can be so overwhelming you sometimes just want to crawl into a ball and cry. I now know what he means after last night. (Yes, poor me). I still got to catch some really great things though. As Jason Saldanha mentioned in his last blog entry we went to the Hideout Showcase in Zilcher park. Later that night, Sound Opinions producer Matt Spiegel and I made a point to audio document the festival for our upcoming Saturday April 2nd broadcast (Saturday nights at 7pm). It was great to walk up and down 6th street. It's what Rush street in Chicago would be if it were cool. Granted, I think the Austin 6th street area is a lot like Rush street during most of the year. But not during SXSW; It is a tolerable type of street scene. The vibe is all about the music. And it eminates from everywhere. And the best part of it is that most of the music good. Not bar band drek.

The cap of the night was a great way to end the evening. Watching a rock concert in a church. I beg to differ with Jason about Rhys Chatham. Sure it was a little on the avant garde pop side but it was still great to see and hear - people approaching guitar pop/rock as if it were classical music. Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth played with him on a song but he just blended in with the other 6 guitarists. The band that performed before Rhys, Jonthan Kane's February was amazing. It was 5 guitarists and drummer - Jonathan Kane - and a bassist playing the hardest blues/pop guitar music I've heard in a while. All of the band members were dressed in suits and played some fierce melodic guitar. The best part of the church concerts was watching Jim Derogatis and Greg Kot react to the shows. They aren't afraid to let the music move them. As they sat in the pews of the church both their hands bobbed up and down to the beat. Even rock critics rock out.

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