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At the AP party, there were lots of “kids” in black Dickies with white leather belts. Ah, those nutty nonconformists.
SXSW, DAYS THREE AND FOUR
They Blurred Together, And So Does This Report
Well, it’s over, and my liver and feet are glad. SXSW 2003 was better attended than last year, according to a formal poll of my taxi driver Sunday at 7:00 a.m.

At the airport Sunday morning, the schmoozing continued, only “Who are you going to see tonight?” was replaced with “Did you get any sleep last night?”  Since the answer was, “Kind of…,” let’s backtrack and review the weekend.

Friday meant Ivana’s panel on the realities of releasing a record (“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”), at which Aware/Columbia’s Bleu got advice and wisdom from the likes of MTV2’s David Cohn, Virgin’s Jennifer Sperandeo, Hollywood’s Abbey Konowitch, Q101’s Tim Richards, KMYZ’s Lynn Barstow and The ThornsMatthew Sweet. From there, it was over to a surprisingly lovey-dovey managers’ panel…

…Which I would have more to say about if I hadn’t bailed on it to go to the Alternative Press party, where, true to form, Jason Reynolds had to run to catch Recover. Sounds like pop-punk, looks like Skynyrd. Apparently I’m the only person who doesn’t like them, but that’s nothing new in my life. There were lots of “kids” in black Dickies with white leather belts. Ah, those nutty nonconformists. Friday night was the best lineup of music.

Friday’s highlights/lowlights:

  • A balanced welcome from Interscope’s Wendy Higgs at the AP party.
  • People asking me if my life was so boring that I kept a mental note of how Wendy Higgs greeted me.
  • Icelandic semi-weird rockers Ensimi.
  • Vaux—three guitars and a guy who can really yell.
  • Going to the Patrick Park show a day early and wondering why the place was empty.
  • Adam Franklin (formerly of Swervedriver)—effortless guitar work.
  • The bar at the Marriott, where I overheard a label owner, a manager and a British rock star getting excited about seeing Willie Nelson—and getting high with Willie Nelson.
  • Sunny Day Real Estate, take three: The Fire Theft, featuring half of the pioneering emo band. Somebody called it “psychedelic emo,” and I agree. Keep in mind that they were playing at an outdoor volleyball club. Complete with sand.
  • My crazy cab driver, who laughed and jokingly offered to run people over.
  • Smokey and the Bandit on cable when I got home.

Saturday meant oversleeping all the panels and going to Emo’s for artist Derrick Hess’ party. Cleveland’s Disengage put on a solid, Tool-influenced rock show—at 1:45 p.m., which is way too early to rock that hard. Then it was off to the ASCAP showcase at Stubbs, the Rounder party and any other place that had free beer and music. I pretty much hit the wall and hope to never see another band or beer ever again.

Saturday’s highlights/lowlights:

  • This guy Pete, who introduced me to somebody as “Mike,” and hence got called “Mike” for the rest of the night. And he drank sidecars.
  • Alternating beer and water.
  • Stairwell—how ’bout some Weezer-influenced pop punk? With three guitars, no less.
  • Patrick Park’s actual show. The place was packed, and he was in fine, fine voice.
  • Cleveland emo boys Brandston. Dude, the drummer sings.
  • Really long lines for the Polyphonic Spree, Nebula/Mudhoney, and the Sub Pop showcase, which meant I got to see the climactic dogfight scene in Top Gun in my hotel room before falling dead asleep.
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