Day two at South By Southwest 2008 began with the Keynote speech by Lou Reed (covered in an earlier entry). Following Lou Reed I headed six or seven blocks north to catch Jesca Hoop doing a live radio broadcast with Nic Harcourt. One of those free shows that drew only a handful of insiders, fans, and the curious. It was only noon, a bit early for many festival goers.
For all the years I've irritated, embarrassed, amused, and embarrassed more, my kids (and those around me) with painful amateur photography, there was no camera for me at South By Southwest this year. At times it was a blessing.Van Morrison
Other times it was painfully grueling. Cameras everywhere. In phones, on cranes, pockets, purses, prodding every one around them. Flash, no flash. Credentials, no credentials. You know how much artists like having their pictures taken. Most artists and venues were very lenient.
Had to see Jesca Hoop, scheduled to appear on a live radio broadcast at noon. First, curiosity brought me to the keynote speech given this year by Lou Reed. He was appearing in conjunction with a screening of Julian Schnabel’s "Lou Reed’s Berlin", which documents a recent performance of the 1973 album. Schnabel considers it “the most romantic record ever made.”
In a Q & A conversational format, Lou spoke with Hal Willner (music producer), bouncing from the root theory behind his early rock, to movies on ipods. A loosely connected, or disconnected, stream of personal insights on culture, music, and technology.
Sitting next to me at the Daniel Lanois show was a guy who looked surprisingly like Buddy Miller. I had seen Buddy a few times, and spoke with him at last year’s SXSW. The same baseball hat. Unruly white hair bouncing out underneath it.Daniel Lanois
Daniel Lanois is in a mold all his own as both a producer and guitarist. A drummer appears behind him, and the new buddy next to me turns and says, “this is going to be one great show. That drummer is Brian Blade. He’s from Shreveport Louisiana. He has a brother who is also a great drummer.”
James McMurtry has fierce dedication. SXSW began for me at the Coqueroo showcase at Mother Egan's. Small stage on the patio behind a deck with crowded tables. There is a chatter about the crowd. At a showcase of songwriters it seems a bit odd the songs take a back seat to the scene. James McMurtry stares down the chatter. His writing doesn't give in to commercial radio boundaries. In a moment, a song, he silences the crowd. There can be great power in uncompromised personal vision.
In this first entry, it is the night before going to Austin for the South by Southwest Festival. At this point we have only a rough idea of which of the 1,700 bands to try to see. It all begins tomorrow, Wednesday, afternoon with the Conqueroo Showcase at Mother Egan's on 6th Street. Afternoon showcases are sponsored by recording companies and promoters to feature the artist they represent. Very relaxed settings...