I landed in Austin for SXSW after 6 days traversing New York, Montreal and Toronto for Canadian Music Week. My first night in town I had dinner with my parents, who live a few hours South, and made it an early night, prepping for the onslaught.
On Wednesday, I hit up KCRW’s night and day showcases and then hopped a couple of pedi-cabs and chariot-raced over to catch Moby’s afterhours set at the Pure Volume House, which was kinda funny. The place wasn’t PACKED, yet police and fire marshalls were pushing back a crowd that didn’t seem to be needing any pushback. Was it for the cameras? My head hit the pillow around 6am.
The next day I saw one of my biggest muscial highlights — Gary Clark Jr. I caught the future star doing an acoustic set on the porch at the Saint Cecilia (THE best hotel in Austin).
Gary is an utter phenomenon-in-waiting, and Angelenos can catch him with his band, free this Monday March 28th for his encore performance at my School Night series at Bardot.
When night rolled around, I was already starting to feel weak from what was for me Day 10 of music conferencing, and decided to call the night early, knowing i had a panel and a radio show taping with two bands the next day.
Friday, I rolled out of bed and into a seat on the panel titled Adult Rock Music Meeting. Me and programmers from other major market radio stations including Norm Winer from WXRT were played upcoming singles from mystery bands, and we were directed to rate the tracks from 1 to 10. 1 being: who cares. 10 being: OMG. We heard new tracks from Fleet Foxes, Emmylou Harris, Gomez and the aforementioned Clark.
From the Convention Center, I dart over to our makeshift radio studio, Tequila Mockingbird, for soundchecks and back to back live sets with The Civil Wars and Agnes Obel. All through the proceedings i am getting sicker and sicker and sicker. pausing to clear my throat and grab a fistful of kleenex. Both sessions feature stunning performances (while i wheeze in the background) and possibly the briefest two interviews I’ve ever presided over. (Hear the live sets in our archives)
I literally go directly from the studios Friday afternoon, and head straight into bed at my hotel, only to re-emerge on Monday morning to catch a flight back home. Three nights with room service and a remote, effectively bypassing the full brunt of the SXSW experience. UGH. Guess Ii’ll read my colleagues posts here to see what other shenanigans I missed.
– Chris Douridas