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With slightly positive attitudes pervading conversations really good bands playing on the first night and no hangover to speak of this morning, it’s all rainbows and lollipops here
in Austin.

SXSW DAY ONE: IT’S ALL GOOD

Sense of Optimism or Just the Liquor Talking?
by David Simutis

You know it’s going to be a weird SXSW when a woman on your plane has a copy of HITS and an Ayn Rand book on her lap.

That said, things kicked off in fine form, with really good bands and a lot of industryites already here and indulging in weasling and boozing. Not necessarily in that order.

With slightly positive attitudes pervading conversations really good bands playing on the first night and no hangover to speak of this morning, it’s all rainbows and lollipops here in Austin.

Highlights, name-dropping and low-lights include:

· While the revamped Austin convention center is really nice, standing in it for more than an hour waiting in the line for badges was not a great way to start.

· The BMG/New Times party where Octone’s David Boxenbaum mentioned that Maroon 5 had “sold a few records lately.”

· Also at that party: a large group of indie retailers, most of whom expressed actual optimism about the business. Of course, the party also included free Shiner Bock beer and margaritas—so take that with a grain of salt around the rim.

· If you’re going to share a cab, there are worse people to do it with than Island Def Jam’s Karen Wiessen and Lava’s Lisbeth Cassaday—and not just because they pay for most of it.

· The Cooper Temple Clause, featured at the BMG party, is going to be a hard act to beat. A little Verve/Oasis, a little Strokes, a little Radiohead, a lot of full-on rock; they were stunning.

· Sitting outside with people from NYC and Chicago who left snowstorms behind for temps in the upper 70s.

· The odd juxtaposition of the wide-open, emo-licious rock of The Feverpitch at Coyote Ugly—yes, with bras hanging around the bar. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

· The excellent sets from The Southland, Keaton Simons and Cordalene at, what else, the HITS showcase, where all of tinsletown’s finest, including Rodel Delfin, were representing.

· I did duck out to go across the street for a few to check out Lucero, a great alt-country band on par with Son Volt, Wilco, et. al. They might have put on as good a show as Cooper Temple Clause.

· Also checked out Washington Social Club, whose punky-new wave rock-outs were catchy and just off-kilter enough. Bonus points for the singer wearing a green headband. Kind of looked like a long-haired Jimmy Connors.

· And a final shout-out to the fine drivers of the bicycle rickshaw,  which provides a cheap, if scary, way to get around the city. 

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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