Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Planning Ahead: TIcket Round-Up

If you're anything like me, you don't want to see live music for at least a week after SXSW but guess what kiddos? There are lots of great shows on the horizon and lots of them will be sold-out by the time you want to go. So, once again it's ticket round-up time! Some of these shows I'm hesitant to post about because I fear they will sell-out before even I can get tickets but I love you so much that I"m going to share them with YOU the Bloggy-faithful. As usual, click the name of the artist to go to the ticket purchase page. Click the name of the venue to go to that venue's website. This is not a comprehensive list and this list is not, necessarily an endorsement of said artist nor said venue. Lastly, if you see this it means the show is sold-out. Find the FULL round-up after the break but consider this video a sneak peak.

Tennis - Origins video via YouTube

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Monday, March 19, 2012

SXSW 2012: Bloggy Awards

In lots of ways SXSW is as much about what you missed as it is about what you experienced. Just as our human brains tend to define things more by what they're not than by what they are. Yesterday, rather than relishing in all of the events I was able to attend and enjoy, I found myself lamenting the bands I didn't have the chance to see. My boyfriend, the wonderful Mr. S., expressed a similar sentiment saying there were many films he wished he had seen at the SXSW film festival.

I regret that I didn't see Rubblebucket, Sports, Races, Daughter The Robert Glasper Experiment or Lee Fields & the Expressions to name a few. Now, let me tell you what I'm GLAD to have missed. I'm happy I didn't see Jay-Z, Nas, Erykah Badu, Bruce Springsteen, Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Eminem, 50 Cent or Lil' Wayne. Why am I glad I missed these multi-platinum selling legends? Namely because they are a complete and utter distraction and their presence at SXSW is not only inappropriate, it's rude. For every corporately-sponsored, unofficial event that takes place, another potential fan for an unknown artist disappears.

There has been a lot of virtual ink spilled about how this year's festival was the most offensively corporatized event in the history of SXSW. I understand that without corporate money the festival couldn't be what it is today but I also feel like those corporations need to stop paying big-named artists to play private events. It makes your brand look bad, it makes the artists look like whores and it makes the audience look like sheep. It's a big, steaming pile of shame and its stench was all over downtown Austin last week. Does Lil' Wayne interrupting his set to pontificate the pleasures of Mountain Dew make you want to drink that neon-green, conduit for Type-II diabetes? If you answered yes to this question, please move on.

Robert Glasper Experiment - Ah Yeah feat. Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele video via YouTube

Now, I am not going to claim to be completely above all of the corporate shilling, I like getting free alcohol and food as much as the next person. I'm more opposed to the attention magnets whose appearance at the festival detracts from the purpose of the festival. You want to build a giant branded stage, more power to you but if you want to put some big-named artist on that stage to try to big-up your brand, that's where I call bullshit. If 50 Cent wants to play a surprise, free, pop-up show in Austin there are 51 weeks that would be more appropriate. I'm sure he would still be mumbling and grunting in front of a large crowd and he wouldn't be upstaging someone who traveled across the globe for THEIR 30 minutes worth of industry attention. Now, that I have that rant out of the way how about some highlights. Let's do this Bloggy-Awards style:

Best Band You & Your Parents Can Jam Out To Together: Alabama Shakes.
They came in to SXSW with a lot of hype. They were chosen for some high-profile showcases and tagged by all of those Dad critics as the band to look out for. Great songwriting, great energy, buy their CD for your parents when it comes out, they will feel like the hippest people in their cubicle cluster.

Biggest Hype to Talent Ratio Imbalance: Grimes.
What is everyone seeing/hearing that I am not? Grimes are not re-inventing the wheel sonically, visually or in any other fashion. Sure, it's a fun record but everywhere I went it seemed like people were talking about how they saw Grimes and they were great or how they wanted to but missed them and were sad. Their performance is lackluster, a girl with a bunch of knobs and buttons vaguely singing while some, homeless looking guy squirms around on stage. We get it, you're quirky. Now get off the stage so Purity Ring can show these dumb motherfuckers how electronic music can and should be performed in a live setting.

Most Likely to Get a Best New Artist Grammy in 2014/2015: Of Monsters and Men.
This 7-piece from Iceland really lived up to all of the hype that surrounded them. Their songs are light, catchy, sing-alongs that are totally arena-ready. Sure, the opening track from their upcoming album sounds just like Home by Edward Sharpe but that's a great fucking song. I look forward to people telling me about Of Monsters and Men in the summer of 2013 when they are playing every major American festival.

Of Monsters and Men

Band I Was Predisposed To Love Then Did: Caveman.
This should come as a surprise to no one. The record is great, the band is great the only thing that wasn't great was the sound mix. I want them to come back and play The Parish soon and for a week-long residency.

Band I Thought I'd Like But Then Loved: The Apache Relay.
Perhaps, this love is due to their highly-enthusiastic audience but The Apache Relay kicked fucking ass. Their songs were terse Americana that made my heart race and I love them. I knew I liked their record but it's got nothing on the live show.

Band You Should Regret Missing But You Probably Don't: Team Me.
I could have given this award out to many, many artists who I saw at SXSW 2012. My strategy was to see as many international acts as I could. The logic there is that all of the American bands will be back in Austin by the summer time, whereas the bands traveling from abroad are less-likely to return, especially if they don't have a successful visit the first time. Team Me won best pop-band in Norway and after seeing them perform I can see why. Their set was completely infectious. They had to duct tape most of their instruments in place because they all jumped around so much. They looked like they were 17, they wore headbands, they played their instruments and sang in the crowd. What else do you want?

Band I Hope Finds an American Audience: Electric Wire Hustle.
I did everything I could to make Electric Wire Hustle more hyped. I talked them up in real life and online before, during and now after the festival but I fear they won't impact big here in the states. The vocals are beautiful and soulful, the drumming is driving and ass-shake inducing and the keys and electronics add the perfect textual element. For the love of all that is holy listen to Electric Wire Hustle and tell everyone you know how great they are!

American Band That Will Be Bigger in Europe Than They Are At Home: Love Inks.
To be honest, this award could have gone to several Austin bands including White Denim but I'm giving it to Love Inks because I saw them perform and there was a woman in the audience singing all of the songs. I approached her after the set assuming she was also from Austin, turns out she lives in Manchester, UK and tons of her friends and twitter followers were jealous she was seeing Love Inks perform. Couple that with their upcoming European tour and it's clear why they won this award.

Best Trend at SXSW 2012: Awesome female musicians.
Tennis, Hospitality, Blouse, Widowspeak, Purity Ring and Eleanor Friedberger all had fantastic female leads. Team Me, Of Monsters and Men, and The Love Language all had kick-ass women in the band. Razika was an all-female band that sounded like the 5,6,7,8's. These are just a few examples of how females are making their mark on the indie-music scene this year. Move over smelly dudes with wretched facial hair and ironic wolf t-shirts!

Worst Trend at SXSW 2012: Women with Skrillex haircuts.
I know, I big-up the ladies then I subjugate them by criticizing their looks but seriously the shaved head on one side thing? I just want to smack your nose with a rolled up newspaper and firmly say, "No!"

So, there you have it, my curmudgeonly, get-off-my-lawn look at SXSW 2012. Another year with lessons learned and room to grow. Next year I hope to see even more incredibly obscure international bands who will never become famous and I hope you do the same. Don't buy into the hype y'all! No one gives a shit that you took a blurry picture of Timbaland on your camera phone. Next year try to focus on what's important, the cute, barely-legal Scandinavian boys who just want you to pogo at their rock show.

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