SXSW: Day One
It always takes a while to get your feet under you once the sneakers hit the ground in Austin for South by Southwest (SXSW). Wednesday, the first official day of the mega music festival, we fooled around so much we almost managed to miss all the music. Thousands of musical performers are in town to show off their abilities and hopefully get some attention from the music bidness types and journalists – but this year they’re going to have fight off many, many big names.
And really, during the first day we seemed to be preoccupied with the already famous people in town. My daughter’s boyfriend Jave has the knack for putting himself in the right place at the right time, but we’ll talk about him shortly.
Our activities revolved around the MTV-sponsored “Woodie Awards,” given to musical acts that appeal to the college crowd – the big event, telecast live on the network, attracted rappers and indie acts. Our correspondent who attended endured about four hours of standing in a cattle call, waiting to be admitted in to the venue, while we hung outside near the “red carpet” gawking at the big shots streaming in.
Well, we saw the Foo Fighters – they were there to perform their new single “Rope” – and we actually recognized Wiz Khalifa, who seems to now be with Kanye West’s old girlfriend (the bald headed one, Amber Rose). The rest of the time, as one act after another vamped on the red carpet for paparazzi, the question went up and down our line (the “losers” line) which went something like this: “Who’s that?” “I think it’s a rapper.” “No, I think he’s on the Disney Channel.”
We did manage to correctly identify Matt and Kim, there to receive an award as well as present one, and the Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club, who also won an award. Wiz Khalifa got the night’s big award, so congrats.
Now while all this was going on my daughter’s boyfriend promptly lined up to see a short comedy set by Aziz Ansari, of TV’s “Parks and Recreation.” Informed that he was one person removed from the fire marshal’s limit, he stuck in there and managed to edge in anyway. Right next to movie star Michael Cera – Jave asked if he could take a photo but stuck his camera in video mode by accident. His camera’s light went on automatically, spotlighting the Scott Pilgrim star, and Cera leaned over to ask “Isn’t there a more subtle way you can do this?”
Not this kid – our hero snapped a quick one with Ansari and left triumphant. Living to
fight another day, he vows to take our group over to Waterloo Records today for some in-stores and a visit from Jack White’s traveling record store, Third Man Records, in a yellow van. White showed up with the van yesterday and played an impromptu set; we hope he’ll do the same today as his label’s the Greenhorns are slated to show up at Waterloo.
So, tonight is the big free show by the Strokes to promote their not-bad new album Angles. Some of us may head over to the excellent South by San Jose lineup on South Congress to catch, among others, rockabilly great Wanda Jackson. She may also have Jack White (he produced her latest album) in tow.
See you tomorrow, promise we’ll hear some more music today. Follow us on Twitter for breaking updates.