I know it's a few months off, but if this is your first year attending SXSW, might I offer you a few tips for a fun and pleasurable time? Trust me folks, I'm a doctor.
Never pass up the following:
- A chance to recharge your phone.
- A clean bathroom.
- Free BBQ.
- Free beer.
- Breakfast burritos.
- All other types of burritos.
- Free bottled water.
- Free snack bars.
- Standing under a tree full of grackles.
- Parties with beer pong as the primary form of entertainment.
- Start up parties = frat parties.
- Pedicab drivers that ask you for directions.
- "The kids." It's Spring Break that week. Be thankful that St. Patty's Day isn't happening at the same time THIS YEAR. OMG. OMG.
- Comfortable shoes. I'm not kidding.
- See the bats. Everyday around sunset. Go. Just don't stand under where they come out. #poop.
- Beers on Rainey Street.
- Shopping on South Congress.
- Lunch/Dinner at Bangers.
- Bring sunscreen, a hoodie, and an umbrella. Austin weather is insane in March with the winter/spring swap over. A few years back it was 90 one day and the next day it was 20.
- Stubb's BBQ for dinner or a show.
- Plan your day but be prepared to throw all your plans in the trash at a moments notice when something cooler comes along. This will happen 6 times a day. Embrace it.
- The free bike rentals for badge holders are a quick way to get around.
- Walk up and down Sixth street at 2am on a Friday or Saturday night.
- Talk to total strangers. You never know who you might meet. I had a great chat with a guy in an elevator that turned out to be Guy Kawasaki, and I bumped into Lou Reed on the street.
- Take advantage of all the SXSW badge perks. The free snacks and drinks tent across from the Convention Center is a great place to catch your breath and plan your day.
- Drink lots of Jo's coffee.
- When possible, sit down, you're tired.
- Look for celebrities at the airport. They all come and go through here. I've seen so many random folks at the food court.
- Death Metal Pizza.
- A big glass of water and some aspirin before bed is never a bad idea.
- RSVP TO EVERYTHING. Figure it out later.
- Hi-Five every famous person you see.
- Take the Bus. The "Airport Flyer" runs directly from the Airport to downtown and back with just 2 or 3 stops. It costs $1. Do it.
- Wait in a line so long you'll never get in. Move on quickly to your number 2 or 3 option. Get to your destination at least 15 minutes before it starts, earlier if you want to be 100% sure you get in. Sometimes you can stay through back-to-back sessions, sometimes they clear the room first. The badge line is the obvious exception.
- Don't sleep. Seriously. You can do that when you get home. Go have fun. You can operate on 4 hours sleep for a few days in a row. Sleep on the plane ride home.
- Don't check a bag if possible. 10,000 people leaving Austin at the same time can make for a hell of a check-in line at the airport.
- Don't grab too much swag like t-shirts and heavy stuff unless, like me you pack so light that you need the free shirts just to get through the week. If you HAVE to grab all that free swag, mail all your dirty clothes to yourself so you've got room in your bag. Hotels like the Hilton will take all your stinky clothes and put them in a box for you. They will stare at you disapprovingly, but they will make it happen.
- Don't overpack. Austin is a modern city and you can buy anything you need.
Hey friends, this weekend I'll be in North Carolina. Chapel Hill on Friday and Wilmington on Saturday, to be exact. If you're out that way I'd love to catch up and share a coffee or a drink and see your face. What brings me your way? Well, The Good Graces are playing a few great shows with our friend John Harrison's new project, Lakes&Woods. Hope to see your face!
Hey all, I have been doing so much songwriting for this new group called Theme Music and I've only shared a few things with everyone. So, for your enjoyment, hopefully, I've got some videos for all the tunes below. Have a listen!
I wrote and recorded this tune on Sunday for a songwriting group I'm part of. I knocked the lyrics out on Saturday night over dinner and did a quick recording on Sunday. I think it came out pretty cool!
Superchunk is a force of nature live. So, upon hearing that bassist Laura Ballance was staying off the road because of hearing issues I worried that the live show would be compromised. Oh, I worried. But, once I heard Jason Narducy (Bob Mould, Telekinesis) would be getting in the van, all fears were put on hold. I've seen that man rock it out live. We should be good.
And good we were.
Out to support their latest record, I Hate Music , Superchunk hit the stage and hit it hard, playing a heathy dose of the new record (people singing along already!) and a great mix of old favs. I had a chance to spin the record a few times before the show, as I had just received the deluxe LP package on Tuesday, and already I was digging it hard. So many great tunes, and for me some of Mac's best lyrics to date. Me & You & Jackie Mittoo and Out of the Sun were great live.
Mac spent about half the show two feet off the ground, Jim Wilbur had a sly smile on his face all night, and the rhythm section of Narducy and Wurster just crushed it all night.
After the show a few of us hung out for one more beer, not quite ready to head out and Mac and Jon Wurster came out and hung by the merch table for a bit. We got some t-shirts and chatted them up a bit, and then a bit more. "I remember Club Detroit in St. Petersburg, it was ALL GLASS. What a weird room!" "You signed my UNC shirt at Washington Square in Miami Beach." "I did?" "Yeah, everyone in the band wrote 'I hate Miami' all over it." "Ha!"
This was the first time I've been to Terminal West. It's got a few bars around the room and out back, a place to grab some food and really good sight lines from the audience onto the stage. It's even got a little balcony where you can look down on the room. Mac asked folks if they were VIP. Lights were great and sound was impeccable all night. Great venue. For about 95% of the show I kept the 24-70mm on the camera and grabbed a little corner spot on stage right. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the show so I applied the 3-song rule to myself and rocked out most of the night. Such a great show.
Camera gear: Nikon D90, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
Parting Gifts opened up for Superchunk at Terminal West here in Atlanta on the first night of their I Hate Music tour, and to be honest, I haven't been able to find out a whole lot about them on the Internet. But, I did dig their take on popped up garage rock sound with some lovely guy/girl vocal interplay and dead string bass tacking. Really good stuff.
Camera Gear: Nikon D90, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
Hey everyone, haven't touched base for a few week so I just wanted to share a new tune that The Sunset District is working on! It's a song called Gone, Gone, Gone and you can download it for free from our Bandcamp site along with a few other things.
Also, I'm really looking forward to a few shows coming up in the next month or so. The first one is going to be at the Red Clay Theater on August 28th. I'll be opening up for James Hall and Bain Mattox. Needless to say I'm incredibly excited about playing with these guys. Also, look for a podcast from each one of them before the show.
And finally, the band will be playing the International Pop Overthrow Festival here in Atlanta, GA on Friday, September 27th at the Red Light Café. Back in 2001, a few months after 9/11 I can remember flying into NYC with my band Honeyrider to play IPO, and it was a great experience, so I'm really excited about playing it here in town.
Alright, that's all for now. I'll be away from the computer for a week or so, but when I get back I should have some new stuff for you.
Hey friends, I'm playing a few songs at Eddie's Attic open mic night tonight at 9pm sharp! Swing by and cheer me on if you're in the neighborhood!
"It's a 'Rorschach’s cat' type of scenario."
"I think you mean 'Schrödinger’s cat?'"
"That's not the way I see it."
"Did we just have this conversation?"
"You tell me."
I have been just terrible about promoting shows lately, but my band, The Good Graces is performing tonight at The Drunken Unicorn here in Atlanta, GA. Click the link below for all the details!
Doors @ 9 pm
I've been pretty pumped for this show since discovering and downloading their latest record, Light Up Gold a month back, and I was hoping to run a quick podcast interview with the band before the show, so I was at the club early and ready to rock.
Memorial Day Monday afternoon traffic seemed to have other things in store for the band however, and when show time came and went it was pretty clear the band was in the middle of it.
About 30 minutes late the guys rolled in and quickly set up. 15 minutes later, and with a quick "thanks for waiting," these guys blasted off into a pummeling, and angular 35 minute set that had the capacity crowd bouncing, at times shoving, and singing along to the band's take on that classic New York sound. Something that hit me about the band live, which hadn't occurred to me upon repeated listens of the record is how much they were really imbibed that twin-guitar, wall-of-sound. The guitar interplay reminded me of bands as diverse as the Strokes, Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three, Television, and even at times Superchunk.
Borrowed Time and Stoned and Starving were justifiably crowd favorites, but tunes like Light up Gold II and Master of My Craft were caustic scorchers with the crowd kicking back the answer to "A minute of your time?" "Forget about it!"
Been so busy it's been hard to keep up with everything that's be going on, but wanted to mention that there's been 2 new podcasts released since I've posted last and I think you're going to love them! Episode 3 is with power-pop extrodinaire, Kenny Howes, and Episode 4 is with the wonderful and talented Kim Ware from the Good Graces, and I'm not just saying that because I play in a few band with her. Check out the episodes below!
Episode 3 with Kenny Howes
Episode 4 with Kim Ware (The Good Graces)
I'll be performing tonight at the EARL to raise money for ovarian cancer research. We'll be celebrating the music of Bob Dylan and raising money for a great cause. Music starts at 9pm, but you'll find me there earlier with a burger jammed in my mouth.