Wednesday, March 16, 2005

S'up, groovers?

Not too much to report today. Went to court this morning, but it was really quiet up there. Last night I went to Rounders Pizza down on 5th Street with Crackbass and The Pea. It's a relatively new place, but they had some pretty darn tasty food, and the atmosphere was cozy with good music and a friendly waitstaff. All in all, I would recommend it.

The South by Southwest Music Festival begins today here in Austin. Like many Austinites, I have mixed feelings about this yearly event. On the one hand, I think it's a cool idea, and I'm happy to live in a town which has a strong commitment to live music. On the other hand, SXSW occurs during my birthday week each year, and it's kind of a pain in the ass trying to find parking or do anything anywhere near downtown (including restaurants, movies, music, etc.), as the town gets crowded full of hipsters and rock and roll wannabes from other states. Still, I'm willing and happy to deal with this as part of the cost of playing host to a national music event. But there are some other... issues. Unless you wanna drop a small fortune on a badge, it's difficult to get into the clubs to see any of the bands you are interested in seeing (you can stand in line for a long time with the hope of getting in, but you have no guarantee, and can be turned away if the venue gets crowded), and the festival caters first and foremost to bands from out of state, so a lot of local Austin bands can't even get booked. It seems like some of them are turned down specifically because they're from the Austin area. Combine this with a few experiences standing in line at the 7-11 listening to some guys with long hair and leather pants bitching about the fact that they host SXSW in such a "redneck state", and you might come to wish they would just move their little party somewhere else.
The festival started with an aim at showcasing bands who might not necessarily be local, but who were at least from this region of the country (thus, SXSW). The festival used to be meant to attract the attention of national record labels to regional talent. Now it's just a trade show for the national music industry- a cool trade show, but a trade show nonetheless. Bands which perform at SXSW have no particular ties to this region at all. Therefore, despite the fact that Austin was the first area with the ingenuity to come up with the SXSW concept, now we're chock full of artists from the 2 coasts and Chicago each year who stand around wondering why the record execs have decided to throw a party in Texas.
Anyway, I would say that the good still outweighs the bad, and that a good time is still a good time at SXSW, but the event moves a little closer to alienating the locals each year. More free shows and more local acts- that's what the organizers need to keep in mind. And if someone could just train these musicians and record company chumps to be polite when they're in someone else's town...

P.S.- Ryan sent me a meme or a stick or a bunch of questions that I'm s'posed to answer. Since this is a slow day at the 'ol office, I will endeavor to do so.

How many total music files do you have on your 'puter?
Uh, none. My computer at home isn't working and my computer at the office has no working speakers. I have a CD player at the office, but I rarely have it on b/c I have clients constantly coming in and out.

What CD did you buy last?
Arcade Fire's Funeral. It was ok.

What was the last song you listened to before getting this message?
The Shins "New Slang" off Oh, Inverted World. I absolutely love that song. Genius.

List 5 songs that mean a lot to you.
"Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies. It reminds me of high school and the tranquility that comes with giving up on something.

"Golgi Apparatus" by Phish because it reminds me of good times that I've had with Weedo, Crackbass, and other friends.

"There's No Home for You Here" by the White Stripes. It's better to be angry than depressed. You bitch.

"12 Steps" by Eric Gottula (and the Mono Ensemble). OK, I know it's a song that our band plays, but Eric wrote a great fuckin song on that one and the lyrics are brilliant.

"Heart Attack and Vine" by Tom Waits. Tom Waits growls like the house piano player at Satan's bar, somewhere at the bottom of the nine levels. Even if the world comes to an end, Tom will have a smiling snear upon his face...

Who would you want to see answer these same questions and why? (3 people)
Reed Shaw- because he loves music, and having to narrow his choices down for something like this will torment him. It would take him forever to even try to answer these questions.

Andy "Dirty" Sensat- because his musical tastes are always fascinating to me. And he plays with Crack.

Jim Gillespie- because he's the quitest member of the Mono Ensemble, so his opinions are infrequently heard, but I know he loves music.

And I just read that Congress passed a bill which will allow oil drilling up in the Alaskan wildlife refuges (the ANWAR). What a bunch of short sited, greedy, ignorant assholes. Well, at least I guess our energy problems are solved now. Pricks.


The League said...

Happy Birthday you short-sighted asshole!

Again, for year 10, I am very sorry SXSW always screws up your birthday plans.

I do want to note that if you do read the SXSW listings, there are quite a few Austin bands playing.

What i recall is that the bands which filled the ads in the Chronicle week to week to week were almost never the ones which actually wound up the Showcase.

Make of that what you will. Next year, maybe Mono E or Crack can get a CD out to the selection committee. Or even maybe a stunning Jason Steans solo effort (people LOVE base solos!)

Remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Steanso

32 is a pretty nice age. Not too old not too young. You've accomplished just enough in life where people respect you, and you feel content, but yet know there is a lot more out there for you. Content and yet with hope for bigger and better tomorrows. How many people can honestly say they feel that. Plus, you're a good man. And I mean that. The world always has need for a good man.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Jason! Rosa