Live from SXSW 2007: Thursday Roundup

Ice Cream Man @ SXSW

We’re entering the last day (for the most part) of SXSW 2007 and I’ve got a couple things on the list to check out: The Hot Freaks day party with a bunch of bloggers I respect and bands I’ve never heard, as well as the JamBase showcase tonight. I’m expecting it to be oodles of fun, so I’m going to grab some barbeque at Iron Works first, maybe hit the Ice Cream Man second, and then head on out…

I still haven’t written about Thursday’s festivities yet so I thought I’d wrap it up in a nice little roundup. Expect more detail to follow (if warranted).

David Byrne @ SXSW

The first thing on my agenda was the David Byrne panel entitled “Record Companies: Who Needs Them?” The panel was packed full of people waiting to hear what the illustrious musician had to say about record labels these days, distribution and/or production models, ideas/ brainstorms for creative ways to be a musician these days, etc.

His lecture started off insanely choppy, as if someone had prepared his notes for him and he was just reading them for the first time. He worked in some comments about how he believes that radio (in its current form) won’t last another five to ten years before it completely dies off. He called iTunes a monopoly and stated that he personally hates DRM as a consumer (as most do), and that he usually buys his music from or he obtains it illegally (with huge crowd laughter in response to that last part). All in all, though — I wasn’t really sure he was going anywhere too visionary in his thesis so I decided to leave a bit early and head over to Apostle of Hustle’s second (or third) show of the festival…

Apostle of Hustle @ SXSW

Apostle of Hustle played a 2pm set at Red Eye Fly to a nice room full of people that seemed rather familiar with their music already (unlike myself). I was happy to catch their full set that day as opposed to the Wednesday set, as I heard some new ones and some repeats that I enjoyed from the day before. All around good stuff if you ask me; these guys have a bright future ahead of them…

Yesterday while I was catching up on email at the Radisson, I saw Matt Pinfield (again) and I ran into the percussionist from Apostle of Hustle (introduced as Daniel). I told him that I thought their band was rather cool, especially the rhythm section, and I told him that I’d love to catch their upcoming show in Chicago opening up for Andrew Bird. He said, “I’ll see what I can do.” (I love this festival, by the way).

Apostle of Hustle @ SXSW

After their set, I ran over to meet a new buddy of mine that I got to chat with a bunch while down here in Austin. His name is Scott Semegran and he’s the Editor over at He introduced me to his wife and friends and I got a taste of some fantastic Texas hospitality, rather unlike our stereotypes up North of the cowboy-hat-wearing, gun-toting, Yehaw!-screaming Texan (mostly perpetuated by our sitting President, mind you).

Some band played “Freebird” while I was there and I took that as my queue to leave. I headed back to the Convention Center where I ran into none other than Peaches, the (arguably) sexy electroshock princess known for her single, “Fuck the Pain Away.” Hilarity ensued and I headed onward to the panel on bringing ecologically friendly issues into the music world.

Entitled, “Greening the Music Industry,” the panel consisted of discussion on bringing a more “green” friendly approach to producing albums, concerts and music festivals with the environment in mind. Neal Turley moderated while Perry Farrell, Rick Farman from Superfly, and a few other innovators discussed their successes and failures of trying to work with lower their ecological footprint while conducting their respective businesses in today’s economy. The real takeaway was something to the effect of — the technology is there and most people think that the economics are not there, but if fans, promoters, businesses, vendors, etc. demand this of their stakeholders, we will see real results in the very near future and you can make money doing it. Interesting and certainly motivating stuff.

I grabbed some dinner at some wildly overcrowded bar on 6th Street and sat right near the band, Mute Math. Luckily, I didn’t overhear anything preachy — so that’s cool.

After an interesting exchange with a Band Dad about how his son only wants to sign with a major label (to which I told him he needs to beat his son over the head), I headed over to the Dirty Dog Bar to catch a 9pm set by Apollo Sunshine. This was my first time catching them ever and they took way too long to setup in my opinion. I mean, seriously — you’ve only got 45 minutes, guys! Go easy on the gear next time.

Apollo Sunshine @ SXSW Apollo Sunshine @ SXSW

I shouldn’t complain considering I was fully impressed right off the bat. The first song was amazing and it had a really solid groove, and the noise jam in the middle of the song really worked some magic on me. I’m sure it helped that I was standing front row; I really got to see these guys wail away on their instruments and all that gear was probably the main contributor to how large they sounded. Well-worth seeing…

Apollo Sunshine @ SXSW

Immediately following their instrumental explosion to end their set, I ran a couple doors down to the Flamingo Cantina to catch 120 Days, the kraut rock Kraftwerk-meets-Janes Addiction band that played an amazingly tight set. Not that’d I’d expect any less out of electronica, but I can say that they were more dynamic than I expected. The front man was pushing out some incredible energy and he was trying super hard to get the crowd to dance along with their bleeps and bloops, but it just wasn’t happening (except for the hippie in the front row).

120 Days @ SXSW 120 Days @ SXSW

The room was dark and their music nicely complemented the vibe; keep that in mind when viewing the above photos. They ended their set with their single, “Come Out, Come Down, Fade Out, Be Done,” and I headed off onto 6th Street humming the main keyboard line to myself for the next twenty minutes.

For the 11pm time slot, I headed over towards the other side of town at the Karma Lounge to catch Fujiya & Miyagi. I got in right in time and was immediately greeted with some of the catchiest yet silliest yet totally serious electronic music from the UK trio, including a light show. I thought, “wow, a band with a light show at SXSW — these guys really know what they’re doing.”

Fujiya & Miyagi @ SXSW

And they really knew how to work this crowd considering the reaction I was seeing. There were loud cheers after every tune, tons of dancing (for an indie crowd), and the band was all smiles by the end of the set. My favorite tune was probably “Transparent Things” (which you can sample on their MySpace page), and I was truly impressed enough with these guys enough to know that I’d go see them again if they come through Chicago anytime soon.

Fujiya & Miyagi @ SXSW Fujiya & Miyagi @ SXSW

I had fun and I was drunk, so it was a good time to make my way towards my fleabag hotel south of town (otherwise known as America’s Best Value Inn). Stay tuned for some updates from my Friday festivities, including the screening of the uber-hilarious mockumentary Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo. I had a lot of fun at that…