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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kate Galloway's report from Day #1 of SXSW

Here's the first of Kate (Vamp Music Source) Galloway's reports from the SXSW festival in Austin. Stay tuned for more. (Photos will be gathered here.)

Stringer Crew
Miles Shrewsbery (drummer for Dave Stringer), Aubry Walch, Kate Galloway and Dave Stringer

"This is Vamp Music Source's third year attending as a company, and we've added one more agent to the staff which brings us to four (Kate Galloway, Craig Grossman, Charles Gehr and Aubry Walch). The 20th Annual SXSW Music Conference started like most all of them do for me. Exhausting, but exciting. We drove the 20 hours to get here, but were wise to leave early Tuesday morning so we could stay a night in Dallas before making the final leg of the trip to Austin. It was worth it.

Upon arriving to our digs, (courtesy of Matthew Odam, Editor of The Austinist, we quickly readied ourselves physically and mentally to go to the convention center for check in. Last year was a disaster. I heard it was because of some computer mishap, but all I know is that I had to wait in line for over 2 hours. It was horrible. Not sure what they did this year, but I was in and out with virtually no wait. Kudos to them for getting that figured out. This year, they offered the option to upload your photo prior to your arrival, so you wouldn't have to get your photo done there. I ended up forgetting to to that, and was dreading the line I'd have to get it to have the photo done. But, to my surprise, the woman at the check in said they had my picture. What? I was so confused. Then she said, "Oh, it's your photo from last year." Damn, those crafty bastards. The technology upgrades are certainly a plus. But, are they turning into the CIA?

Off to the panels... went to a pretty good booking and touring panel first, then a couple hours later went to see the Beastie Boys interview. It was pretty cool, they were really funny. Seemed a bit tired, like the rest of us. But it's obviously a great opportunity to get to see these people speak in person (Kris Kristopherson, Neil Young, The Pretenders, et al). Of course, the panels are just one part of the perks for us badge holders... the best part is the music!

Aubry and I headed off to an unofficial (and maybe illegal too) party hosted by the Austinist behind a bar called Red 6. We caught one band called Asobi Seksu from New York. They were a good indie rock band, with a bit of synth pop mixed in. I'm pretty sure the lead singer was singing in Japanese. I can't say for sure since a makeshift party held out on a back patio is bound to have sound issues. Vocals being the biggest one.

As 8pm (official start time of the music showcases) crept near, we made our way to Redrum to see a band called New London Fire (Eyeball Records). Aubry was really into them, and I thought they were good, but just a bit too clean for my taste. I prefer things a little dirty. Great vibe though, 6 people on stage at once is pretty fun. I had to run out though to catch Aberdeen City from Boston for their 8:30pm slot as part of the ASCAP showcase. I'd heard these guys about 2 years ago and have slowly seen them get picked up by the radar, which is great because their music is quite amazing. Always good to see a band pull it off live too.

Next, I walked down the street to catch one of my all-time favorites, David Mead. I remember seeing him 3 or 4 years ago with 20 other people at the 400 bar. He used to be signed to RCA and has a much bigger following in the UK than here. Not only is he an amazing pop singer/songwriter, but he couldn't be a nicer guy. I ran into my friends Lou and Rain who host house concerts at their place in New Jersey and was so happy to hear they were going to have him in a couple weeks. I wish I knew more about people that might be hosting house concerts around the Twin Cities. It would be a blast to see someone like David Mead in a setting like that.

At 9:15pm I rolled in to see Dan Israel & the Cultivators with Randy Casey on electric guitar. It's always so fun to see Dan here. There were plenty of Minneapolis folks in the house to lend support. Funny, didn't see Raihala! But I see he got some photos of the show... sneaky Ross.

Shockingly, I had not much to do at 10pm, so I followed Craig and Aubry to go see Oranger... but we were aurally seduced while walking past Stubb's to go in and see the New Pornographers. Normally, I steer clear of the "big" shows, but I couldn't help myself. They were playing my favorite song!! The line was pretty obnoxious. I'd have to guess that the people with wristbands (about 100 or them) were waiting for over an hour, only to be told that the place was at capacity. The badge line was close to one of the longest I'd been in, but it only took about 20 minutes to finally get in. I was happy. My husband was happy I went too. He thought I was crazy that I wasn't even considering seeing Belle & Sebastian at first. I saw about three songs but had to go to get to the next place. I probably would've stayed longer had it not been for the obnoxiously drunk Irish and British people I seemed to find myself standing next to - two different groups in two different spots. Nothing kills a show better than annoying people.

At 11:30pm I had to haul ass to get over to see one of Vamp's bands, Moth. I was half-way there when I got a text message that another one of our clients, Dave Stringer, was there and looking for us. Stopped at Bourbon Rocks and met with him and brought him around for the rest of our adventures, even though he didn't have a badge or wristband. There are ways to get around those things at SXSW if you're crafty. Moth rocked our faces off for a bit, ran into Sean Hoffman, Kat Hixon and Ryan Smith at that show. But we had to GO!! Willie Wisely was playing with none other than Andy Dick!! Walked at least 10 blocks only to find out Andy Dick decided to cancel. The good news was that the venue was right next to Katz's deli and we were hungry. Finally rolled into be about 3:30am.

That was pretty much the night! There were fun and funny things that happened at every spot, wish I had the time to get into them. I did find out about a secret show that I'll write about tomorrow! And the Minneapolis meet and greet is this afternoon so I'm sure I'll have stories from that too."


solace said...

Aberdeen City are great!