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