Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SXSW Part 4 - Day 2

My Day 2 activities at the Convention Center consisted of three panel discussions: Music Publishing, Placing Songs in TV & Film, and Doing a 360-Degree Deal With Yourself. Basically, only the TV & Film one was worth the time, with a few useful tidbits picked up there. The publishing one was given by the Brabec Brothers, who have written an extensive book on the topic. Trying to cram all the info in their book into an hour and fifteen minutes clearly was an exercise in futility. Didn't learn much I hadn't already read elsewhere. The last one turned into a theoretical discussion amongst the panelists on what it means to be successful in the music business these days and also on the advantages/disadvantages of being on a major label. Not sure what any of this had to do with the intended panel topic. Plus, this panel started an hour late. Quincy Jones was giving the keynote speech of the convention in the same room in which our panel was supposed to start at 330pm. Someone clearly didn't want to tell Mr. Jones to shut up, because we waited an hour before they moved us to a different location.

During my lunch break, I met Anthony, a guy who works for a new Web site called Worldsings.com. They're a social networking site for musicians and they're running a contest to find the "best song in the world." Feel free to submit yours. The finalists get invited to a big bash in, where else, VEGAS, next March, where the winner will be crowned. Let's hope the Web site is still around by then.

The lateness of the last panel precluded me from walking the trade show floor, and also precluded me from hopping a free shuttle back to the hotel, so I decided to hang out downtown until the musical showcases began that evening. So I spent some time walking around Austin. This is when I truly grasped the full extent of shitholery that encompasses the city. This was also when I had my near encounter with the Austin bat community. But, the downtime did provide me with the opportunity to get my entrepreneurial gears turning, so I spent a portion of the time taking notes.

9PM - time for the Meat Puppets to play at Stubbs, I'm assuming one of the larger venues on the SXSW circuit. They squeeze around 2,000+ people into an outdoor area...basically the backyard of the Stubbs restaurant. It was like a giant frat party, albeit with a slightly older crowd. The Meat Puppets are best known for their 90's hit "Backwater," which, naturally, they did not play. So that's the first demerit in my book. They're next best known for having penned two songs that Nirvana covered for the latter's MTV Unplugged in New York performance and CD. It was very apparent to me why "Lake of Fire" and "Plateau" were radio hits for Nirvana and not for the Meat Puppets. These guys looked like you could have run into them at a biker bar somewhere in Nebraska. Also very oddly distracting was Cris Kirkwood (the brother who's not the singer) not saying anything in between songs, yet making extremely peculiar vocal sounds and flailing his hands in the air for no apparent reason. Overall, I did not get the Puppets' vibe. It should be noted though, that their 2000 CD, "Golden Lies," is quiet awesome. I am listening to it right now, just to remind myself why I attended the show. Of course, they played nothing from this album :-) Overall grade: C-

I stuck around for the next band, Gomez. I'd heard of them but not known any songs of theirs. When I left in the middle of the third song, the same was still gladly true. Not a fan.

I had plans to catch other shows, but to paraphrase Roger Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon movies, "I'm getting too old for this shit." Just didn't have the will or the energy, so I once again retreated to the palatial Travelodge.

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