Archive for Art Meripol

SXSW: Time for the Craziness – and the Commercials

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by 30daysout

Yeah, there really is a six-story-high Doritos stage that looks pretty much like this.

Although the big South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival starts today (Tuesday), we won’t have sneakers on the ground in Austin, Texas, until Wednesday. That’s okay – we won’t miss much.

Truth is, even if you don’t make it to Austin at all this week (and that’s probably a good thing, because Austin is kind of at capacity) you probably won’t miss much either, because some very big companies have stepped up to help you keep abreast of all the cool stuff happening at SXSW.

For example, one of the most noticeable landmarks in downtown Austin last year was a 62-foot-tall stage rigged up to look like a really huge Doritos vending machine. It’s back this year, and in addition to helping hawk all sorts of Frito Lay products, the stage will also host some cool music.

On Thursday (March 14), the Doritos #Boldstage will host a special concert by LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and Doug E. Fresh. But the lineup is the only thing that’s old school: fans can interact with the show by using social media. Doritos will allow fans to choose the opening act, as well as special lighting effects and even LL’s set list.

Concertgoers are encouraged to start making suggestions about what they would like to see at the show by using the hashtag #BoldStage on Twitter prior to the main event. The concert will also stream online at Doritos’ Facebook page.

Perhaps you’ve mellowed a bit since high school, and instead you enjoy some soothing Americana music. Well, Austin’s venerable Waterloo Records is the place for you, with four days of “day parties” March 13-16 featuring live music from a great lineup of artists.


If you get lost, helpful signs like this remind you where you are.

If you’re into that Americana we mentioned above, Friday’s the day for you – the lineup includes the great Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, The Mavericks and Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell. If you’re in the mood for a little more modern stuff, try Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Tegan and Sara on Wednesday, The Airborne Toxic Event on Thursday and The Zombies and Dawes on Saturday.

Click here to see Waterloo Records’ full in-store lineup, and while you’re there download a free digital sampler of artists performing there for SXSW.

One of the more exclusive parties each year is at a place called the Fader Fort, which is basically a big tent on Austin’s east side. The number of people lined up trying to get in is testimony to this party’s always-sturdy lineup. This year the Fort’s brought to us by The Fader blog and Converse and features acts like Sky Ferreira, French Montana, Delorean, Ra Ra Riot, The Afghan Whigs and Solange (Knowles), among others.

Click here to check out the full lineup for Fader Fort, then go to this place to watch the whole thing live on the internets.

The shoes/apparel company Vans is also a strong presence at SXSW every year, and this year the company is presenting a huge bill at The Mohawk club along Austin’s busy Red River Street.  The roster for the March 13 show includes Ghostface Killah, The Specials and Iggy and the Stooges, along with rising stars Japandroids join Middle Class Rut and Sky Ferreira. Check out the entire roster here, then tune in at the Vans SXSW site on March 13 for a webcast.

Pandora Radio and the TV show “The Voice” present the 2013 Pandora Discovery Den, with live streams of performances March 12-15. Artists include The Mavericks, The Lone Bellow, Surfer Blood, the Eagles of Death Metal and Third Eye Blind. Click here for a full lineup and to get hooked up with the live streams.


The official female uniform of SXSW.

Some other live streams: IROCKE features a full schedule of concerts including radio simulcasts from Austin’s KGSR-FM each morning, and Southern California’s KCRW-FM.

National Public Radio will offer streams of a number of events, including Dave Grohl’s keynote speech on March 14, and the official showcase on March 13 featuring Nick Cave, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Alt-J among others.

The über cool public radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle will offer live broadcasts from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop (yes, a real bicycle shop) March 13-16 with acts including Robyn Hitchcock, Chelsea Light Moving (one of our bands to watch this year), Iron & Wine, Telekinesis, The Zombies (yes) and Ozomatli, among others.

And finally, Austin’s own KUTX-FM has an awesome lineup of artists performing each morning March 13-16.

So you don’t have time to watch/listen in real time. You can still score some great downloads from artists playing SXSW:

SXSW 2013 on BitTorrent: 7.39 GB of Free Music

NPR’s The Mix: The Austin 100

Don’t Mess With Texas: The Daily Rind’s SXSW 2013 Music Sampler

SPIN magazine’s 60-Track Mixtape of SXSW 2013’s Hottest Acts

HGTV/Paste SXSW 2013 Sampler

Finally, you’re actually going to be here in Austin for SXSW this week. But you got in a hurry, became a little too careless and forgot your camera.

Don’t worry, you can still use your iPhone for photos. They won’t be super sharp like the pictures you see in your favorite music magazines, but you can still snap a few to show the folks at home which acts you caught.

Our friend Art Meripol has been a professional photographer for more than three decades. The former Southern Living shooter got his start snapping rock concerts for newspapers in Arkansas and Texas back in the day, and he has some tips for instantly improving those iPhone photos:

1. The photo is taken the moment you let off the button, not when you push it. So to better time a shot keep your finger on the button and let off at the best moment.

2. Before shooting, gently touch your subject on the screen to focus and expose for that exact spot. You’ll see a quick pulsing box as you do that lets you know it’s done. Then let off the button.


Photo of Robert Earl Keen at John T. Floore Country Store, taken with my “eyePhone.” Should have gotten closer.

3. You can ‘lock’ the focus and exposure for your subject and then recompose a shot. When you touch the area you want to be correctly exposed and focused, keep your finger on it a bit longer until you see a second larger ‘pulsing’ box. You can then move the camera around for better composition and keep focus and exposure where you want it.

Lots of people use the Instagram app on their phones to shoot photos. However, Art isn’t a fan of Instagram for image filtering. “You end up with photos that look like everyone else’s,” he says.  “Too narrow a field.” Besides, Instagram wants you to edit a photo right then and there, which is inconvenient for location photography.

He uses Google’s Snapseed, which allows multiple ways to adjust an image depending on what look the photographer seeks. “That way my images don’t look like anyone else’s and thus stand out,” Art explains. “It takes some practice but it’s well worth it. And I can adjust with forethought at my leisure and just concentrate on shooting in the moment. I do use Instagram for sharing, not filtering or adjusting.”


iPhone photos taken in broad daylight look a lot better.

Now remember, when shooting with an iPhone (or “eyePhone” as Art calls it) you are going to need to get as close to the subject as you can. Wait for a peak movement or a pose to snap, to avoid blurring. And for gosh’s sake, put away the darn phone after a few snaps to enjoy the music and avoid irritating your fellow concertgoers. As Tom Morello said at SXSW last year: “Put away the cell phones and live in the moment.”

Good stuff. Check out Art Meripol’s online photography gallery, and his blog.

Check out our coverage on Popdose

Our special Flickr photo account for SXSW

Classic Blues Joint Antone’s To Switch Location

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by 30daysout

Antone’s in its current location at 5th and Lavaca in Austin, Texas.

Antone’s, the fabled Austin, Texas, blues and rock club that’s been in business more than 37 years, will move from its current location into a new, more customer friendly spot this April.

This will be the fourth move in the history of the club, which opened in 1975 on Austin’s Sixth Street. It was the first live music club on that street, which has now become the heart of Austin’s lively music scene.


Yes, that’s Clifford Antone.

The club’s Frank Hendrix said Antone’s current downtown location has discouraged customers due to traffic and lack of parking. Last year, Hendrix relocated both Emo’s and the Beauty Ballroom to larger spaces on East Riverside, about three miles from downtown.

Club owners are considering five possible sites, with some in the downtown area, others on the east side. The club will finalize relocation plans by the end of January and will make the move after the SXSW music festival in March.

By establishing his club in downtown Austin, Clifford Antone gave the region’s musicians a place to call home. He helped jump start the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, among others, and featured legendary blues artists like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Clifton Chenier in extended multi-night stands at the club.

Antone died in 2006 with the club, as well as a record store and label, continuing the tradition with his name. No musical mecca to Austin is complete unless you visit the iconic Antone’s. It will be rich with history and soul, no matter where it opens its doors this spring.

This iconic shot of Jimmie Vaughan of the Fabulous Thunderbirds was shot at Antone’s in 1980, by the great Art Meripol.

MP3: “Down At Antone’s” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds

Antone’s Home of the Blues club official website

Art Meripol’s Concert Photography Blog

Who Dat?™ Geaux Saints!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by 30daysout

Oh yeah … all those years when nobody else cared about the Saints, it was “Who Dat? Nation” and “Who Dat?” dis and “Who Dat?” dat.  Now the NFL is claiming “Who Dat” is copyrighted, or it’s a trademark, or something.  Now that the New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl, the NFL is seizing”Who Dat?” – oh wait … “Who Dat?™” – in hopes of feeding its already bloated billion-dollar enterprise.

Who Dat?™ who’s greedy?  The NFL, dat’s Who Dat?™!

In other news, our great friend and awesome photographer Art Meripol sent an e-mail yesterday: he’s on assignment in New Orleans shooting jazz clubs from about now until the middle of next week.  The Super Bowl’s on Sunday, Mardi Gras hits its fever pitch next week (or Sunday if the Saints win), and our buddy’s in the middle of it all.  Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, the covergence of these great events is convenient … so in the interest of public service, here’s a handful of New Orleans and Louisiana swamp rock songs for your Super Bowl/Mardi Gras party.  You can find many more by going to our “Walkin’ To New Orleans” series, plus we have a handful of Saints fight songs.  Of course, there are beaucoups more Saints fight songs at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  The Saints, the Colts and the Who are gonna tear it up this weekend … be there, square hair!  Geaux Saints!

MP3: “Party Town” by Bobby Charles

MP3: “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino (Live at Austin City Limits)

MP3: “The Crawl” by Guitar Junior

MP3: “Tell It Like It Is” by Eddie Bo

MP3: “Shake Your Tambourine” by the Neville Brothers (live)

MP3: “Hang ‘Em High” by the Meters

MP3: “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way” by Ernie K-Doe

MP3: “I’m A Fool To Care” by Joe Barry

MP3: “Rockin’ At Cosimo’s” by Lee Allen

MP3: “My Toot Toot” by John Fogerty w/Rockin’ Sidney

MP3: “Down South In New Orleans” by the Band w/Bobby Charles & Dr. John (live)

MP3: “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” by Professor Longhair

MP3: “Don’t Mess With My Popeye’s” by Fats Domino and Doug Kershaw

Walkin’ To New Orleans: Mardi Gras!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 19, 2009 by 30daysout

Mardi Gras in Mamou (Photos by Art Meripol)

Well, here we are.  Mardi Gras, for all intents and purposes, is New Orleans.  The parades, the beads, the coins, the crowds, the costumes, the bare breasts … ahem, that’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Many places celebrate Mardi Gras around the country – and of course they celebrate “Carnival” in other parts of the world.

My favorite Mardi Gras is the old-timey party they throw in Mamou, Louisiana, a small town in “northern” Cajun country (north of where Interstate 10 crosses the town of Crowley).  They have the traditional Mardi Gras celebration, consisting of a big dance on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, then a “courir de Mardi Gras” the next day.  That’s a sort-of procession where men (traditional) dress up in wild-ass costumes and ride horses (mostly) around to farms in the area, gathering food items for a big community gumbo that night.

My Uncle Harold (Champagne, from near St. Martinville) told me about it once, and I mentioned it to my Port Arthur News partner and ace photographer Art Meripol.  So, very early one morning in 1980, we were in the car headed east with the vague idea that there was some kind of Mardi Gras thing in Mamou.

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Sweet Sweet Connie

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 6, 2008 by 30daysout

WARNING: Contents of this post are graphic and may offend some readers.

This post is written by our good friend Art Meripol, one of the greatest rock photographers around.  Check out his photo blog here.

It was 1973 when Grand Funk Railroad officially dropped the ‘Railroad’ and became Grand Funk. Their November album release that year We’re An American Band was produced by Todd Rundgren and signaled a new more commercial direction for the band.  Its autobiographical title song was sung by drummer Don Brewer. “We’re An American Band,” released before the album, became an instant gold-selling number one with its matter-of-fact detailing of life on the road for Grand Funk.

The song’s classic opening of “Out on the road for 40 days/ Last night in Little Rock put me in a haze/ Sweet Sweet Connie doing her act/She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact” made everyone who wasn’t in a band wish they were, just for the groupies.

In case you ever wondered, Sweet Sweet Connie was real and lived in Little Rock too. During the 1980’s while photographing concerts in Little Rock, I got to know Connie since I saw her at almost every show I went to. Of course, that was 10 and more years since the song and she’d lost a bit of the ‘youthful’ look. Her skin wasn’t aging well and she was starting to look a bit worn and hard from the life.

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