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"Radio is like crack. It has good and bad points.”
—-Jim McGuinn

SXSW DAYS THREE AND FOUR

The Days All Blur Together Anyways
Attendance at this year’s SXSW was reported as up 30% over last year. You could certainly tell by the size of the lines outside the bigger shows, which meant that there were more than a handful that even badge-holders couldn’t get into. Couldn’t get into Von Bondies, couldn’t get into Calexico… Still, as the weekend wore on and feet ached and livers begged for mercy, the ills of the industry were discussed with a mixture of lament at how things have changed for the worse and hope that the bottom had been reached. Perhaps that 30% higher attendance means companies have more money to spend.

Here’s how and with whom I spent some time those last couple of days:

  • The Trends in Touring panel, moderated by Peter Rauh reported that the internet has changed everything for the better, though the heated exchanges between High Road Touring’s Frank Riley and Ticketmaster’s Sean Moriarty over how Ticketmaster calculates its service charges might have been a little tense for so early in the morning. But the optimism that things were headed in the right direction and cutting costs means more money for everyone was impressive.
  • Skipped Walter Yetnikoff’s Q&A for the touring panel, but afterwards Yetnikoff was holding court in the men’s room, where a young man was asking him questions for longer than I stayed in there.
  • The fourth annual What to Expect When You’re Expecting panel was informative and funny, just like its moderator, Karen Glauber. The best line, however, was from Y100/Cordalene’s Jim McGuinn who said “Radio is like crack. It has good and bad points.”
  • Then it was off to an off-site party at Maria’s Taco X Press, where I caught a set from Tim Easton and Rosavelt and ran into the ever-charming Shirley Halperin, from US Weekly. The tacos were amazing.
  • Saw Japanese band Quruli, but didn’t really understand any of the lyrics.
  • Stood outside in the lovely Texas air and watched Maxeen sweat and sweat while delivering some great power trio punk.
  • Had no chance of getting in to see David Cross’ stand up routine, so I was able to see most of the bouncy, classic pop of Feable Weiner’s set.
  • Was walking one way down the street and ran into Jason Reynolds, who told me I was headed the wrong way. He spun me around and we watched The Belles, who he manages. One minute I’m headed to see an indie rock band, the next I’m in the back patio of a sushi bar listening to low-key rootsy pop.
  • Wandered in to Stubbs, along with about 2,000 other people to see more of the Broken Social Scene. The person standing directly in front of me was the same tall guy who had asked me a question about 10 hours earlier in my hotel lobby. Turns out it was manager Jordan Kurland, who I would run into on Saturday night watching On the Speakers. Where I didn’t talk to David Cross at the show, but I did get to cut to the front of the line thanks to Universal Publishing’s Gary Helsinger.
  • The final shows of Friday night were the Suicide Girls burlesque show, which featured mostly nude punk rock women and American Music Club, which featured mostly sweaty guys. Why did I leave one to go see the other?
  • Saturday was a lot of parties, including the Blender magazine party which featured Minibar, Minnie Driver and shaggy-haired heartthrob Pete Yorn. Considering how great Blender’s album chart is, thanks to the toiling of HITS staffers, you’d think I wouldn’t have had to wait in the line.
  • Also saw Lucero again during the day. Loose, freewheeling alt. country in the middle of the afternoon and free Red Stripe beer can be a bad combination.
  • Especially when they’re followed by The Rocket Summer, where I ran into someone from Japan who I hadn’t expected to see, the bubbly Junko Hamano from Avex, who hugged me twice.
  • Caught some of the International Noise Conspiracy’s crammed-to-the-rafters afternoon set as well. There’s never too much well-dressed garage rock from Sweden.
  • Saw more mellow stuff Saturday night, including the shimmering pop of The Pale, and the near-emo Mae, who are in the middle of picking a new manager from a large list of suitors. The Mae show was part of the Tooth and Nail showcase, which was at a strip mall far from Sixth St. If Heidi from Girlie Action hadn’t paid for the cab, and introduced me to the lovely Eva Alexiou from Fata Booking, it would have been a long trip.
  •  Then it was back to the hordes on Sixth, where I bounced from club to club, seeing Brandston, a little more Rocket Summer, and ducked out early, fading fast into the night.
  • The best group name for an act I didn’t see was Sexxxy Circus. Don’t expect to see their name anywhere else.
SPENCER-SMITH LANDS WITH AG MANAGEMENT, WCM (UPDATE)
New manager, pub deal (6/28a)
BIZ RESPONDS TO ROE V. WADE DECISION (UPDATE)
Artists and companies unite. (6/27a)
PERFORMERS SPEAK OUT AT GLASTO
Singers voice their dismay over the Supreme Court's latest decision. (6/28a)
BST HYDE PARK: BIGGER THAN EVER
England swings. (6/28a)
BIG RED'S BIG POP RUN (UPDATE)
Nine in the Top 40 (6/27a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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