Live from SXSW 2007: Friday Roundup

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Lone Star!

So…I’m back home from Austin, TX and the SXSW 2007 conference is now officially over. Phew! The title of this post might be slightly misleading (as I’m no longer *live* from SXSW), but understand that I was taking notes as I went and I really had no time to nurse a hangover and get my blog posting done before another full day of shows returned. It’s just the way it goes.

At any rate, I still needed to finish rounding up some of my experience from the music festival. Saturday roundup should follow shortly and I’ll be wrapping the fest up soon after…

I’m just now beginning to collect my thoughts on the 2007 SXSW Music Festival and I thought I’d give a small little roundup of all the cool stuff I did on Friday…


The day started off slow for me as I had a really fun night before running to three different shows around Austin. I grabbed a slice of storefront pizza on 6th Street as I wandered from venue to venue seeing what day parties where on the schedule for the day.

I was chatting with my better half on the phone and I recognized the keyboard player from the Lymbyc Systym. I was going to say “what’s up!” but he was walking faster than I was to really give him a nod. I was seeing where he was headed when he took a turn down the alleyway, to which he took something and drew it in the garbage and then headed on his way. It looked rather suspicious but who doesn’t when they’re partying during the middle of the day.

I headed over to the Spin party at Stubb’s and it was invite-only. Luckily, though — I had a contact inside that I wanted to meet up with and it was one of the reasons why I headed over to the party in the first place. He managed to get a pass outside for me to get me back into the party, so I chatted online distribution strategy with the guy from Live Nation and sipped a free PBR.

It was quite a good discussion and I’ll spare everyone the full details, but basically — we chatted about how Live Nation is going to be doing a lot in the near future that will appeal directly to the real music fans out there, not the ones that go see two concerts a year. One of the ways to make fans happy would be to consider how those fans choose to be notified of upcoming events (i.e. RSS vs. email), and also consider what fans hate the most — the lack of transparency in this industry. Why does Ticketmaster.com get to charge so much and why are we left with no proper alternatives to a model that (seemingly) no one can compete with? Live Nation is working to fix that, and I commend them for trying to fill that long-neglected void…

After a little bit there, I decided to head out and see if I could catch Fujiya & Miyagi at the Pitchfork party at Emo’s. This was a visible no-go from a block and a half away; there was a line about 200-people strong out in front waiting to get in, badge or not. I tell you, that “Pitchfork Effect” appears to travel with them as it was clear that this was the place to be on Friday afternoon.

I went on from there to the special screening of Les Claypool’s first movie release, Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo. Longtime readers of the site will immediately recognize this as a small obsession of mine; ever since I started seeing grumblings of this story I’ve been dying to see the movie release.

It was as good, if not better than I had expected. It was hilariously funny to me and very well-done considering the fact that Les has said that this was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. It turned out great and the theater was in stitches multiple times, especially the shot of Gordo passed out in the woods the night before their set at Festeroo.

Les Claypool did a quick Q&A after the screening, which was good for me considering that I was front row. He made his trademark funny quips in response to all the questions he could take and we were wisked out of the theater to make way for the next screening. Good times. And remember, “you only see your first Electric Apricot screening once, folks!”

The rest of the night was rather uneventful for me, even if I was still running around town to try and catch music. I ended grabbing some dinner and then I was sort of torn on what to see next. There was some good stuff coming up around the Convention Center but there was also plenty of good stuff to watch on the other side of town. I decided to stay close to the CC side of town…

In hindsight, that probably turned out to be a mistake. I got to catch a set by Mute Math which was decent, but the lead singer broke his Rhodes into the first song and the crew really had no clue what to do to get it fixed. After that, I caught the overly produced Peter, Bjork and John show at the Convention Center, which was hugely impressive to me given all the hype surrounding this band right now.

The real gem of the night was when I made it over to the Japan Night show at Elysium and caught Pistol Valve. The crowd was really excited with anticipation for their set, and when they came on, I still wasn’t really sure what to expect. It was about ten girls all dressed like a slutty professional, and a hip-hop medley spun by their DJ (also a woman and also dressed the same) was their intro. All the ladies started dancing and getting the crowd revved up, and then the music stops and the crowd cheers. The drummer counts out four on the hi-hat and then launches into an upbeat ska groove that really got the band members fired up. The horns come out and the crowd was greeted with some great, upbeat, overly energetic ska/dancehall tune that got everyone all excited again. It was really odd from where I was standing…

All of a sudden, the band launches into a ska version of The Who classic, “My Generation.” Hilarious. “I’m so glad I came to this,” I thought to myself, and I chose to end my night on their set as I was truly beat from the week of partying and walking around Austin. I figured I’d make Friday a chilled out night even though I probably could have easily seen moe. very close by. It would have been fun and all but I just decided to forgo at the last minute.

All in all, a somewhat lackluster day down there for me but I didn’t mind — I still had fun and that’s all that really matters. Here are some photos from the day:

Les "Moondog" Claypool @ SXSW Les "Moondog" Claypool @ SXSW

Mute Math @ SXSW

Mute Math @ SXSW

Japan Night | Pistol Valve @ SXSW Japan Night | Pistol Valve @ SXSW

  • http://burningoak.com Kane from BurningOak

    I’m pretty sure we must have walked by each other about 15 times this weekend lol, sorry we never met up but I must have been equally inebriated for just as long… It was a whole lot of assorted notes and pictures and hangovers and no time to update the site… feels like a cleaner version of Summer Camp actually.

  • http://burningoak.com Kane from BurningOak

    I’m pretty sure we must have walked by each other about 15 times this weekend lol, sorry we never met up but I must have been equally inebriated for just as long… It was a whole lot of assorted notes and pictures and hangovers and no time to update the site… feels like a cleaner version of Summer Camp actually.

  • http://myspace.com/jameseari Jim

    I had a good friend who made it to the Japanese night as well, and he said it was the best show he saw on friday.

    I did the whole Ozomatli/Public Enemy show during the day which was pretty fun. Ozomatli always put on a fun energetic show, this being my 3rd in the past year. At one point they even were trying to get Leon Mobeley (Innocent Criminals) to join them on stage, and I am kind of pissed that it never happened.

    Public Enemy was more than a treat. Chuck D and Flava Flav were all over the stage with a bunch of old hits (My favorite being Welcome to the Terrordome). The Highlight for me was Flava Flav yelling “F*ck You” to all the high ranking officials in the USA and England, while families enjoyed their free evening in the south Austin park.

    Towards the end of the Public Enemy show we decided to take off, avoiding the thousands of people that were at the show on our walk back to downtown Austin. After a stop off at our car for a quick change of shoes, and a break, we headed to 6th Street to try and get into Emo’s Main Lounge to see Aesop Rock and Galactic with Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born and Boots Riley. The cash line for this show was at least 100 deep, so we took a walk up 6th street to see if anything caught our ear. We knew that moe. was plaing at the Convention Center, so we decided to head that way to see if we could get in there.

    We made it to the nearly empty Convention Center Ballroom to catch the last half of Pigeon John who was playing before moe. I was extremely surprised by Pigeon John. Him and his backup “Band” (Really nerdy white guy on the drums, and equally nerdy looking asian guy playing Keyboards, and dropping beats from his computer) put a really addictive blend of Hip-Hop, Funk and Rock that made me an instant fan. At the end of Pigeon John’s set he just happened to bring up two of his labelmates Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born, the exact two MC’s that I wanted to see with Galactic later that night. After listening to some great flows by the three rappers, I had a wide smile on my face. I even got a chance to meet Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born while I was smoking a cig before moe. took the stage.

    Moe. came on strong with a very spot-on “Crab Eyes”, jammed a good “Bullit” with several new songs sandwiched in between, and a fun “Plane Crash” to close the short one hour and fifteen minute set. I have not seen them since Bonnaroo 2004, so it was good to see them again. It was also good to hear the live interpretations of the material off of their new album “The Conch.” Hopefully I can catch a full length moe. show sometime in the near future.

    I could have walked away then a very happy man, but we still had a very fun exposition of sorts from the Polyphonic Spree. If you still have not seen this band at least once, you must make it a priority for your visual and audible music needs. Think of twenty of the happiest people on stage all playing different instruments or singing, and all dancing. If you are mad, go see a Polyphonic Spree Show. If you do not walk out with a smile on your face then let me know, because i have never met a soul who hasn’t. Instead of the robes that they usually wear, they came out dressed in black combat outfits with hearts on their chest, red crosses and a new logo on their arms. It was nice to also hear some of the material from their new album “The Fragile Army.”

    We had a long drive to Houston after the show, so as soon as 2 am rolled around we had to get out of there. I had a really good day in Austin for SxSW. I am now educated on how the conference works, and will be much wiser when I am in Austin for the 2008 editon. Thank you to the City of Austin for holding such a grand event.

    Jim Bricker

  • http://myspace.com/jameseari Jim

    I had a good friend who made it to the Japanese night as well, and he said it was the best show he saw on friday.

    I did the whole Ozomatli/Public Enemy show during the day which was pretty fun. Ozomatli always put on a fun energetic show, this being my 3rd in the past year. At one point they even were trying to get Leon Mobeley (Innocent Criminals) to join them on stage, and I am kind of pissed that it never happened.

    Public Enemy was more than a treat. Chuck D and Flava Flav were all over the stage with a bunch of old hits (My favorite being Welcome to the Terrordome). The Highlight for me was Flava Flav yelling “F*ck You” to all the high ranking officials in the USA and England, while families enjoyed their free evening in the south Austin park.

    Towards the end of the Public Enemy show we decided to take off, avoiding the thousands of people that were at the show on our walk back to downtown Austin. After a stop off at our car for a quick change of shoes, and a break, we headed to 6th Street to try and get into Emo’s Main Lounge to see Aesop Rock and Galactic with Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born and Boots Riley. The cash line for this show was at least 100 deep, so we took a walk up 6th street to see if anything caught our ear. We knew that moe. was plaing at the Convention Center, so we decided to head that way to see if we could get in there.

    We made it to the nearly empty Convention Center Ballroom to catch the last half of Pigeon John who was playing before moe. I was extremely surprised by Pigeon John. Him and his backup “Band” (Really nerdy white guy on the drums, and equally nerdy looking asian guy playing Keyboards, and dropping beats from his computer) put a really addictive blend of Hip-Hop, Funk and Rock that made me an instant fan. At the end of Pigeon John’s set he just happened to bring up two of his labelmates Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born, the exact two MC’s that I wanted to see with Galactic later that night. After listening to some great flows by the three rappers, I had a wide smile on my face. I even got a chance to meet Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born while I was smoking a cig before moe. took the stage.

    Moe. came on strong with a very spot-on “Crab Eyes”, jammed a good “Bullit” with several new songs sandwiched in between, and a fun “Plane Crash” to close the short one hour and fifteen minute set. I have not seen them since Bonnaroo 2004, so it was good to see them again. It was also good to hear the live interpretations of the material off of their new album “The Conch.” Hopefully I can catch a full length moe. show sometime in the near future.

    I could have walked away then a very happy man, but we still had a very fun exposition of sorts from the Polyphonic Spree. If you still have not seen this band at least once, you must make it a priority for your visual and audible music needs. Think of twenty of the happiest people on stage all playing different instruments or singing, and all dancing. If you are mad, go see a Polyphonic Spree Show. If you do not walk out with a smile on your face then let me know, because i have never met a soul who hasn’t. Instead of the robes that they usually wear, they came out dressed in black combat outfits with hearts on their chest, red crosses and a new logo on their arms. It was nice to also hear some of the material from their new album “The Fragile Army.”

    We had a long drive to Houston after the show, so as soon as 2 am rolled around we had to get out of there. I had a really good day in Austin for SxSW. I am now educated on how the conference works, and will be much wiser when I am in Austin for the 2008 editon. Thank you to the City of Austin for holding such a grand event.

    Jim Bricker

  • http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com satisfied75

    man, too bad we never caught up!

  • http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com satisfied75

    man, too bad we never caught up!

  • http://www.abandonedtoys.com/store.htm contemporary classical music

    I rather enjoyed the festival this year. Looking forward to next years.

  • http://www.abandonedtoys.com/store.htm contemporary classical music

    I rather enjoyed the festival this year. Looking forward to next years.

  • di

    Ohh the wonderful Lone Star. How I miss Austin.

    Thanks for the recap of the shows.It almost felt as if I was there.

  • di

    Ohh the wonderful Lone Star. How I miss Austin.

    Thanks for the recap of the shows.It almost felt as if I was there.