South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Glasvegas and School of Seven Bells, March 18-19, Vice and Mohawk lounge

Posted on by Alli in Concerts, South By Southwest | 4 Comments

Austin – Hello from the panicmanual’s ‘American Correspondent’ – I’m Alli, and I’ll be writing from time to time when I make it out to gigs down here in Texas.

I’m along for the ride at SXSW 2009, and here I sit in our hotel room at 11:30pm on the second night of the music portion of the festival. Crazy, right? What am I doing in so early? I’ll admit it, I can’t hang. I’m not used to all this excitement. So I’m gonna attempt to write a bit about my favorite parts so far.

The main draw for me to this fest, aside from the option of seeing any of the 1800 bands playing in less than a week and tons of free booze, was the Scottish band Glasvegas. Of all people, Tim Booth of James recommended them to me – first through a blog he wrote on James’ website, then personally when I met him last fall. I downloaded their self-titled album and fell in love with it quickly. Many people compare them to Jesus and Mary Chain, which I guess I get, as they are both Scottish and both have a knack for that “wall of sound” technique first perfected by Phil Spector in America almost 50 years ago. Comprised of four members (three male and a female drummer), Glasvegas recreate said wall of sound perfectly in a live setting, which is exactly what I was hoping for. We arrived at Vice, the club here in Austin where they headlined last night, a few hours early so as not to miss them and the place was absolutely jammed. They have quite the buzz following them around town this week and rightly so. More comparisons fly when singer James Allan takes the stage; with his wayfarers, pompadour and swagger he reminds you of Joe Strummer, almost exactly. He sings his heart out through every note and you feel it, especially during the personal “Daddy’s Gone”, a great set closer. Personally I had a lovely time singing along at the top of my lungs with every song; as best I could anyway as the Scots lyrics are nearly unintelligible (but nonetheless irresistible) upon first listen.

After seeing Glasvegas I felt like I could turn around and go home happy, even though I had just arrived at SXSW that evening. I made it my mission to see them at least once more during the festival. Lo and behold they had another gig this afternoon at Mohawk, where a party for Rhapsody was being held. Also on the bill were School of Seven Bells, whom I was very impressed with. The two female members of the 3-piece are actually identical twins, whose voices are also equally beautiful and mysterious. It was difficult to get a lot out of their set with the whole party atmosphere going on but I really enjoyed their set. Glasvegas played after them and once again packed the venue and did not disappoint. I think they may have been suffering a bit from the events of the previous night, their sunglasses stayed on and several swigs of beer were taken which only added to the charm of a daytime performance. I talked to several attendees who were there to see them simply because they kept hearing their name, even though they knew nothing about them. Awesome few hours out of the very long day that was day 2 of SXSW..

SXSW Review: Voxtrot, March 17, La Zona Rosa, Austin

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Austin – Technically not a SXSW showcase, Voxtrot played at the SXSW Interactive closing party (hosted by Media Temple) on Tuesday night. For me, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the music portion of my trip then to check out Austin’s favorite Smiths influenced band on their home turf. For those not in the know, Voxtrot became Panic Manual favorites a few years ago with their bouncy pop tune ‘The Start of Something’. Their music can be considered a brand of jangly indie pop.

I would figure that Voxtrot’s showcases at SXSW was because of a new album coming out, but i guess they only have a new song to promote (you can download it for free here ).

The band came on at ten and there was a rather sparse crowd watching them. Most of the people at the party were too busy watching drunk nerds fall off the mechanical bull to catch Ramesh Srivastava’s take on good well crafted pop music. Did I mention this party was an open bar? Anyways, Not having much new material, Voxtrot played a set consisting of tracks from the Raised By Wolves EP , Mothers Daughters Sons and Wives Ep and the self title LP. Despite what I thought was some muffled guitar sounds, the rest of the music was crisp. I don’t know if it’s a curse or not, but it seems like songs off the Raised by Wolves EP are STILL the most popular tracks from the band. Sad to say, they did not play ‘The Start of Something’, but I guess this was realistically just a crowd who was just there for free booze and good tunes. Well, mission accomplished for them.

SXSW Interactive Weekend Report [Austin, 2009]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest | 6 Comments

Toronto – As many of you know, aside from attending the music portion of South By Southwest, I am also attending the Interactive portion as well. I guess being a web developer has it’s perks. Here are some random notes about the interactive weekend so far:

- Everyone bloody twitters. I had no idea this twitter thing was so hot before I came here. I think it’s way more popular then facebook. Everyone tweets each other. I do have to say, once I got a hang of it, twitter is ridiculously addictive. We are #panicmanual on twitter. Follow us.

- Everyone has an iphone.

- If you were a girl who likes pale guys with pony tail, glasses and a goatee, then boy, is SXSW a wet dream for you. I think one out of every 7 guys has this look.

- If you were a girl who likes overweight guys, then honey, this is REALLY the place for you.

- Apple dominates the laptop market. I would say about 60% of people attending talks has a laptop in the room, blogging or tweeting away as the talk goes on. A.D.D is at an all time high here. I am old school, so I went to the panels with a good ole notebook and a pen. Until I won a moleskin at the Adobe stage, then I used the moleskin with the pen.

- “Social Media” is the new hot word at this festival. Everyone talks about the Social Media here, you would think we are all part of some revolution or something.

- I feel a bit out of my element here, despite being a software/web developer, I pay almosts no attention to tech sites on the internet, so when people are laughing it up when a speaker makes fun of techcrunch, or when panelist refer to other internet celebrities by name (some guy named zeldman..or the people who run digg), I feel like a stranger in another world. Maybe I should look into sites that aren’t music or sports or shopping deals or celeb gossip or style related…

- Everyone here is ridiculously nice and easy to talk to. All the free alcohol probably helps.

Party Report
Here are some random thoughts from the parties.
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