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SXSW 08 Review Part II Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 21st March 2008
Gear Nut
msyno's Avatar

SXSW 08 Review Part II

91 People saw the first part and no one replied - woot! I don't know whether to be happy or disappointed, though I was hoping that there would be others chiming in who went to SXSW even one night. Link for the first thread

Personal SXSW 08 Review

continued ...

Getting back to what I missed for Thursday night, I went to go see a singer/band that the famous local musician in Pangaea told me about the day before. The whole night at Antones was a "Memphis/Nashville" showcase that I wish I could've seen more of. Mike Farris came onstage in sunglasses and a felt hat (I believe), probably standing no more than 5'6 . But don't let his size fool ya, he can belt out some serious blues/gospel/americana. No, hes not black and neither was any of the band, save one backup singer. His voice kinda reminded me of what Blind Willie Johnson (a little, not a lot!)would sound like without any raspiness or baritone in it. Great range and classy choices for songs - I was impressed. Go check him out! Band was very solid, complete with horn section, keys and well-picked backup singers.

Friday 14th

I finally went to the tradeshow and all i can say since the last time I went to it is ... things have definitely changed since the dotcoms were going bust! 1/2 to 3/4 of the companies were online only and many had very interesting niches. Several were of the type that allows musicians/managers to get their music distributed, published and marketed in their own way. Others delved into the tangential. One of these can track (according to them) EVERY time your song or band is getting played somewhere in the world, whether it is on the radio or online. I watched the list and it was interesting to see what was coming in - in REALTIME! And this company had only recently come together to fill what they called, "an obvious void".

Taylor, GHS, Elixir and several other well-known guitars/string companies were there of course, but I was looking for something new and different. Well this company called CA Guitars. Jay, the VP, was showing me these unique acoustics. What, you say, is unique? Apparently his lead designer was ex-NASA (or the like) and believed in using spaceage materials like carbon-fiber in everything. These things were SUPER-light and had an interesting sound. The tops clearly indicated some sort of transparent patterns weaving throughout and when asked, he said something that unfortunately went over my head at that point! Somehow this pattern reacts actively to the sound being introduced to it from the saddle/bridge. These won't be cheap, but I bet they will take off eventually. He said that his first customer (at SXSW) was the main acoustics guy at Guitar Center ... so ya can't say that all GC guys suck! We're lucky here in Austin, in that many of the floor people aren't part of the usual revolving door and are quite knowledgeable.

After being annoyed that the Lemonheads cancelled (hence earning their name-hehe) downstairs, I headed out 8 blocks to rest my feet in my car for awhile. After resting and taking some copious amounts of Vodka/cranberry, I made my way back. Not one block after getting out of the car, some rockstar (it was obvious) and his chick walk in front of me (15 ft maybe). I just knew it had to be somebody so i slowly caught up (they were in no hurry) and realized that it was Perry Farrell again! He was very cool and his porno wife was of course, very pretty in person. I started doing more talking than him (eventually talking about the great weather?? wtf!) so I realized I would bugger off. I was VERY curious to see what would ensue if they continued down to the insanity of 6th St. Any guesses?? Well, I for one, was shocked to see only 3 girls, who were too afraid and giggling to come up to them, notice them upon crossing 6th (might as well be Bourbon St in New Orleans, for those who dont know). They made it to the other side before a photographer noticed them and Perry motioned her to keep walking further. When they got far enough away to take a quick pic, I caught up with this photographer and had her email the picture to remember how weird this was! She couldn't believe it either and was watching in awe as I had from the other side. Priceless

Not 3 mins after seeing this, I saw the young (and very hot!) keyboard player from The Slits walking with another member. I just told her how cool it was that someone Ari's daughters age was playing with them and keeping it alive. After saying about 3 sentences to her, 5-7 guys rushed up wanting to meet them and sign autographs. What the hell!?!?! I was shaking my head in laughter and amazement after seeing this ridiculous irony happen in 5 minutes time. Well, I don't know if its irony, but it was something.

Most of the rest of the night was a letdown after the tradeshow and meeting rockstars. I will confess that liquor was making it easier to be a little less focused on music and more on the scantily clad women everywhere (frickin 89F at 6:00!). I saw a band called the Virgins at Cedar Door which, again sounded like another version of Franz Ferdinand but less engaging. I peaked my head in several bars after this, hoping to catch something that nobody knew about. Well, I did catch a band that was really cool in possibly the most annoyingly loud bar, Room 710. This is a punk club, which likes to mix guitars similar to the jackass method I described for Naked Raygun, with their's more 1-3k than 3-8k (at least thats something better). If you like hardrock/punk bands that feature guitarists influenced by Jimmy Page and other oldschool Brits, then you'll like A Thousand Knives of Fire. If they just get a real vocalist (sorry Mr guitar player, you should be back up) this band would be awesome! Great riffs and nice dynamics for this type of music.

Drank for over an hour straight listening to Japan Night in Elysium, though the music this time wasn't as fun as I'd remembered it. Last time I saw a japan showcase in Emos, they had an all-chick band that was 'out-heavying' the other 'heavy' bands! Their drummer sounded/played like frickin Ginger Baker and everyone's jaws were dropping, including my own. Ah well

Anticlimactic end to the night, sort of, by going to see N.E.R.D . I don't really know what exactly to say about this one. I first heard of them when a coworker at Dell introduced me to them. Back then, I was impressed with the creativity on several songs with music and lyrics. It didn't sound like the nauseating hiphop of the last 10 years or typical funk. It sounded like somebody might be carrying the mantle of Parliament/Funkadelic. Well, this ended up being the agro-hiphop I've been nauseated with, for the most part. I heard hardly any of the creative songs I was hooked on (I think off Fly or Die) originally. What I saw was almost interchangeable with ****e like JayZ, 50 Cent or whoever else sucks on mainstream hiphop/rock radio. Disappointing

Saturday 15th

This should be significantly shorter than the previous 3. Thats because I mostly wanted to relax and party - i earned it after being a mostly good boy for 3 nights. After eating/drinking free food at a showcase all afternoon, I missed most of the tradeshow today. That doesn't mean I didn't have something interesting happen! After most of the exhibits were starting to slowly pack up, I happened to see a name that caught my eye and I stopped. I looked up and indeed, Dave Marsh was sitting down in front of me. There was some pimply-faced kid asking him completely moronic questions and something deep inside, something compulsive told me to push him out of the way and ask questions that had been dormant since the 80s. No, I didn't throw the kid ... I just nudged him over, because nothing was going to stop me from getting long-awaited answers! It went something like this:

"Dave Marsh, can you give me a concise, yet fully unambiguous reason as to why you have panned the Doors since they came out 40 years ago?" I got a look from the other panelists immediately and everybody stopped talking around me. Ha - I was not uncomfortable in the least. See, this question amongst several has bugged me with respect to the 'uber-critics' since I started reading album reviews in the mid 80s. I can't tell you his exact responses of course, but this one was sastisfactory for me. Morrison was a drunken buffoon, a 2nd tier poet who was all about indulgence. Krieger was a good guitarist (understatement I think). I said to myself, "Ok- I can deal with that one". I'm definitely condensing what he said. Then I asked him what has bugged me probably more, but I thought he would somehow dodge; why did most critics (like himself) pan Led Zeppelin until after they broke up? This time, the other panelists had smirks on their faces and I kinda think they really wanted to hear what he thought. After about what seemed like 30 seconds, he said:

"It was Bonzo ... he couldn't keep time". WHAT??? wtF did you just say (in my head)????? You must've been sipping the koolaid AND mescaline when you saw them!!!!!! He went on about how he saw them first in 69 and thought they were awful. This leads me to believe that Mr Marsh was indeed born on another planet from ours ... but I'm glad in general that he came to it. I kinda knew what he was gonna say when I asked him his favorite band - The Who. I love The Who too, but that doesn't mean I can't love other bands from that time who fully deserved it. Both bands have drummers with HUGE sounds and singers with powerful voices, extremely solid bassists and legendary guitarists. What do I think of his response? I think it STILL was some sort of dodge. I think he (et al) thought their overthetop treatment of the blues was too much. It focused too much on the heavy, riffs that they REALLY hated in bands like Black Sabbath. They should be so f'in lucky ... look what we have now. Sigh

I didn't see too much music and was busy cavorting until almost 10:00, when I got in line to see X. My god, what a ****in nightmare (i had to say the complete word here, cause it absolutely applies). If you read my first review, it talked about how badges have preference over wristbands. Usually they average letting in 5 badges for every wristband, with plenty of subjectivity. So how many badges getting in, slowly, over time with no wristbands in is excessive? 25? 50? Letting in 50 badges and then moving 5-10 wristbands would be the norm ... probably a 30-40 minute wait, if you come to the line 25 deep. The assmunch bouncer (it might be coming from above, I know) let in over 200 BADGES for over 2 hours without letting one wristband in. He consistently joked about it, while letting people (connections) who had neither a badge or wristband get in as well. By themselves, these connections are normal with venues but the way they handled it was atrocious. Several people in the wristband line came only Saturday morning and mainly came to see X. They are never coming back to SXSW, they said, and telling all their friends about the experience. The bouncer didn't even stop a guy pissing on the wall in front of everyone, the wall of which is his (Emos) property. I got in around midnight, but not without finding out the bouncer's name and who had control over the situation. I'm hoping that the bouncer is fired if it was ultimately up to him. If it was an owner/manager's call, then I'm going to write to SXSW that they either apologize or be fined heavily next year for this stupidity.

Its a good thing X was putting on a good punk show inside to let off steam. Except for bad monitoring levels (they complained for the first 5 songs), they sounded great. Billy must really be the only guy in punk who always has a smile on his face. Huge guy took a stagedive and bit it hard. A nice way to end an unnerving night. Well, I went to the Redbull afterparty, but no one wants to hear about sloppy drunks and sloppy women. Unless, they're there ...
Old 22nd March 2008
Lives for gear
infopimpster's Avatar

Great review, wish there were more reviews like yours. Detailed, personal, and touching on matters from the profound to the arcane to the... short skirted.

Pics of any hotties? COme on...
Old 22nd March 2008
Gear Nut
msyno's Avatar

Actually yes, heh But I wasn't the one with the camera and I have to track that person down, have him email the pics. I myself only have stupid pics with Miller Lite/Budweiser girls which anyone can get in most big cities

I do have a link to the Farrell pic, which was taken about 3 mins after I talked to him. This is a SXSW blog that has many pics from the festival. That girl with him is the photographer I mentioned, from WRNR in Annapolis:

Old 27th March 2009
Gear Head
ergower's Avatar

nice review....I tracked the new Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm review record @ The Station Inn here in Nashville...if you enjoyed the show you should pick up a copy, great representation of what he is all about...I think it comes out next month sometime...

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