SXSW 2008

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Richard + Jela
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SXSW 2008

Postby Richard + Jela » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:47 pm

Landed back in London this morning after another terrific time at SXSW. Four days of music.....virtually non-stop or so it seems - at one point I said to Richard that this a great 'keep fit' holiday as we spend our time running around from one venue to the next and don't eat much 'cos we're too busy taking in the shows.

There are just so many acts to choose from and often the clashes are a nuisance because it means that you have to make some difficult choices. The official SXSW festival comprised 1700 acts and the unofficial festival is just as, if not bigger, so that gives you a flavour for the scale of it all.

My highlights included:

Jimmy LaFave Band - on at 1.00am last Thursday. Here we bumped into Jimmy's No1 Fan, Freddie, who we'd met in Okemah last year - small world!

Sam Baker - saw him three times, I just can't get enough of the man. Once with Gurf Morlix, once with Walt Wilkins and Tim Lorsch and once with TL, Autumn, and a guitarist whose name I didn't catch. Heard one new song and he told us that he's got lots of new material.

Two artists whose CDs we have but had never seen live before were eagerly anticipated - 1. Sally Spring 2.Cliff Eberhardt. Both were wonderful in their very different ways. In fact we saw CE twice.

An 'in the round' with Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Bonneville and Oh Susanah - you only get dream line ups like that at festivals.

Joe Ely w/ Joel Guzman CD Release show 'Live Cactus' at the Cactus Cafe. Joe Ely is one of my long time heroes. He is fabulous.

All together we saw 41 different sets over 4 days.

Sunday was a non music day and we went to an exhibition on the UT campus 'On the Road with the Beats' which includes the scroll manuscript of Kerouac's first draft of On the Road - 120 ft long. Exhibition features letters, photos of the Beat poets, their travels, musings, etc. Well worth going to see.

Now we're back home, its cold and snow is forecast for Easter - bit different from temps in the 90's in Austin!

Oh by the way, Richard took lots of photos and will post a link to them once he sorts them out. Roll on the next festival!

Jela

paddyinthepub
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Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:08 pm

Jela

Thanks for the SWSX report...been anticipatin yours and it did the trick. My wife, surprisingly enough, had the SWSX website up over the weekend and she was amazed at ALL THE MUSIC scheduled for the festival. I asked her how she got to be on the website and she answered it was a story she linked through the Yahoo news website.

I asked her to scroll down to see who was playing at Stubb's Barbeque and it took her a while to get there saying that it was down in the "S" section of venues and LOOK AT ALL THESE OTHER PLACES hosting music. :shock:

What a time to be a music fan and in Austin, TX. 8)

Though I've yet to see Cliff Eberhart perform I am a big fan of his music. As is a good friend of Cliff's in fellow songwriter extraordinaire John Gorka.

I love Cliff''s record called "The Long Road" which features many of Cliff's finest songs IMHO and also one song featuring vocals by Richie Havens. 8)

Thanks again for the recap and look forward to Richard's photos. :wink:

I like the idea of SXSW as weight loss plan. :D
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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KarenZ
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Postby KarenZ » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:50 pm

Jela,

Thanks for the report and happy to hear you and Richard got to hear some of your faves - include Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy and Sam Baker. :)

While I was at Tim Blixt's on Sunday, we noticed a big article covering SXSW in the newspaper. The main photo showed a shirtless tatooed rapper spraying the audience with beer......and we were commenting that the festival seems to have really changed....it now attracts such HUGE names. Have you noticed a shift away from showcasing new indie artists? I know you were planning to catch a good bit of the Unofficial festival....maybe that's a good thing.

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

Richard + Jela
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Postby Richard + Jela » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:52 am

Karen - yes the festival is huge but the unofficial stuff is where the action is in terms of indie artists - most people who know of SXSW don't appreciate how much additional 'stuff' goes on that isn't part of the main festival, until they actually go and see for themselves.

The beauty of it is that there is something for everyone - whatever genre of music does it for you, you will find it at SXSW.

Interestingly, official registrations have flattened out (24,500) but I think more and more people are cottoning on to the unofficial/free side which is hacking off the officials, I guess they are realising that people (us included) won't spend huge sums on badges/wristbands as we can see eveything that we want, almost for free. I even read about one music industry person who this year only went to the day parties and was tucked up in bed by 10.00pm having seen eveything she felt worth seeing at the free stuff. Another official registrant told us that he was embarrassed to have paid out for a badge (hundreds of $$) and had it tucked away inside his Tshirt and most of the stuff he attended was the stuff we went to as we saw him everyday at the same concerts as us - free!

SXSW generates such a wonderful atmosphere, there is a real buzz in Austin. Everyone is there for the music and you can't ask for more than that. This is the 22nd year and it has grown from its initial inception in 1987 to something so much bigger. Local Austinites I think are split in their opinions - it brings huge revenues into the city but it has definately moved away from what it was initially, a way of showcasing local artists.

One of the most telling comments made to us was by a cab driver who said 'This is my favourite time of year, I meet wonderful people from all over the world and money just falls from the sky! I rely on SXSW to pay my annual Tax bill'

We will definately continue to go to SXSW - its become an annual fixture for us and each year we think it can't get better but it does. You just need to do some pre-planning, sussing out where the music you want to hear is happening and go for it! As you know, one of the main attractions for us is that we get to see artists we love, who don't tour the UK or see favourites two or three times within the space of four days.

Jela

monicar
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Postby monicar » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:39 am

Great report, Jela. SXSW is something I want to do one of these days!

So glad you bumped into Freddie! I'll be seeing her in a few weeks here in Massachusetts for a Jimmy house concert!

I echo Paddy re: Cliff Eberhardt. He's great. And, "The Long Road" with Richie Havens is one of my all time favorite songs!

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

:D
Monica R.

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KarenZ
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Postby KarenZ » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:39 am

Jela,

Very interesting....Thanks for the additional details. :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

annieb
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Postby annieb » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:53 am

Hi Jela,

I was wondering if you caught any of the REM set?

Their new cd is getting really good press, and I loved their short set on the Today show this morning.

Annie

Richard + Jela
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Postby Richard + Jela » Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:36 pm

Annie - no it was a choice between REM which would probably have meant queuing for ages and then probably not getting in (because all the badges and wristbands have priority) OR Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros who I really wanted to see given how Walt W has produced two of my all time favourite CDs - yes, its that man Sam Baker!!!

It was a raucous show somewhat fuelled by alchohol - at one point Walt W was asking for a beer and one of his band members pulled out a bottle of Jim Bean which they swigged on stage..........but best of all for the finale they were joined by Mr Baker who was also in fine form!

Such great memories.

I tried to get tickets for a one off REM show in London recently but no luck, they are back for a short tour in the summer but unless we can spirit ourselves home quickly from the Vermont gig we'll miss them then too. One of these days we'll catch them somewhere.

Jela

annieb
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Postby annieb » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:26 pm

Jela,

The Walt Wilkins show sounds like a hoot! So glad you had fun.

REM is def worth checking out someday....but not at the expense of missing even one of the VT shows.

I have decided that you and Richard are my hero's. Ya'll do get around! :D :lol: 8)

Thanks for your response!

Annie


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