SXSW 2013- late wrap-up and addenda
With whirlwind blur of SXSW over two weeks over now, it's good to reflect on what happened, if only to remember it all- I saw about 66 shows this time (which is a record for me there). Even then, there were a bunch of things I wished that I could have seen, like Pharcyde (see this video from their Austin show) and California X but there's only so much time and so many acts...
Still, I was fortunate enough to cover the festival for both the Wire magazine and Billboard this year (see this bit.ly bundle for the stories that I did for BB). Even after the coverage that I did for both publications, which including a few dozen bands, there were still some others that I didn't have time, space or context to write up otherwise. I did want to take a moment to note some of these other acts because they did make an impression on me and I hope that you'll want to hear more about them too, which you can do at all of the links below and see some of the videos of them that I shot.
Loved last year's Reservation mixtape from this Michigan/Virginia rapper and her live show reminded me why- she's sassy, smart and quick-lipped (play the video above for some proof of that). It's no wonder that Carson Daily not only made her the feature act for his showcase at SXSW but also went out of his way to offer her slobbering praise when introducing her and insisting that she will blow up big soon- most likely after she finishes her album for Universal I'd say.
As much as I was looking forward to seeing Killer Mike (whose R.A.P. Music album I enjoy more and more) and Myka 9 (whose Sovereign Soul album was unfairly overlooked last year) and curious to see what Kendrick Lamar would bring live, K.R.I.T. put on the best 'big name' rap show I saw at the fest. Mike was great doing "Reagan" live (especially when he pointed out each lie in the Gipper's vocal sample about Iran-Contra) and Myka had moments of brilliance that he couldn't keep up momentum for and Lamar worked the crowd well but not as well or expertly as K.R.I.T. did, totally owning the show and the audience. 4eva N a Day indeed.
By now, most folkie/country bands that try to sound authentic just sound hokey instead. And with their punky get-up's, you'd think these gals and guys (with a stand-up drummer and androgynous bassist) would be no different, but they are. Maybe it's because they really are having fun at what they do which makes for good music, but their enthusiasm and good cheer is definitely infectious too, even for a former skeptic like me.
Siouxsie fans Savages were called 'the saviors of rock' and other nice hyped-up phrases even before SXSW ended but I thought that this Brooklyn crew flew the post-punk revival flag much prouder and better. Glad to see I wasn't the only one who noticed as they landed a deal not longer after the fest.
More Or Les (who you should see). I did catch this NC kingpin though and was glad that I did. He manages to stand out from the pack by being a little smarter and funnier than the rest. Why won't he be consider for a Revenge of the Nerds sequel is beyond me.
These youngsters have 'heart throb' written all over them but they also have the songs that you'd hope from a poppy rock band (or vice versa). They did a purposefully low-key show for their convention center day gig but it suited the music just fine- a high powered outing would have trounced their adorable tunes.
Speaking of World music, how about some desert blues? Like Tinariwen, they're part of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of the Sahara and also play hypnotic music though this band is a little more sparer. Still, you get a good buzz from those repeating guitar figures.
right here). It didn't hurt that they had an over-enthused friend/fan in front, touting them and directing people to purchase said album- good marketing there!
BONUS CUTS: In addition, a few other items worth adding that happened at SXSW.
Joe Boyd- the famous producer was in town to tout his Nick Drake tribute shows/film, plus a panel on Drake. I got to ask him some questions related to his SXSW experience shortly after he arrived.
Q: What's the best band/artist you've seen yet?
JB: I've only been here for one day but I saw a great documentary about Arhoolie Records called This Ain't No Mouse Music with people like Flaco Jiminez and Nance Lipscomb.
Q: Who are you most excited to see?
JB: Prince and Buddy Miller. I'm a great admirer of both of them!
Q: What's the best party you've been to?
JB: I loved the NPR party with Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah's and Cafe Tacuba.
Q: What's the best panel or keynote you've seen?
JB: I'm sorry that I missed two- Infamous Band Disputes and the Muscle Shoals panel. Of course, I'm looking forward to my own Nick Drake panel.
Q: What's the best gossip you've heard?
JB: I'm not the ideal responder- I'm an outsider now.
Q: Who have you met/hope to meet that you are most excited about?
JB: There's a young singer named Aoife O'Donovan who I'd like to include at a an upcoming Nick Drake tribute in New York (April 10, Joe's Pub).
(NOTE: This did in fact work out as she'll be performing there)
Q: Who/what do you think people will be buzzing about after SXSW 2012 is over?
JB: In his keynote, David Grohl was talking about going back to recording on analog, going back to the basics for a naturalistic approach. That's still a minority view but that might get some relevancy here. If people would leave here with more fervor about that, it would be great.
Chuck D & Bootsy
For any funk fan, this was a tough one to miss. Chuck of course was very respectful and Bootsy had good perspective about the music biz, some of which you can peep in this video.