Mondays can really suck if you want to go watch live music, even in a music town like Austin, but I rarely have the free time on a Monday to see a show so usually it's not a big issue.
This Monday it was a gray drizzly day, and I actually found myself with a free evening. Just as I was trying to decide if I wanted to suffer through another night of microwave dinners and re-runs of the Simpsons, a MySpace event invite popped into my in box from New Disaster inviting me down to the O Cabaret to catch their set.
Honestly, the last time I can remember going to a gentleman's club, in fact I think the last three times I went, were all for bachelor parties celebrating my three brothers' marriages. Don't get me wrong, I like girls (er, women), A LOT, I am just not big on the whole strip club scene in general. When I went in the past I usually spent my time at the bar sipping a coke and hiding the fact that I was blushing, trying not to break eye contact with the staff, or look.
Here is my take on some of the bands I saw on day 1 of SXSW 2007. Bands and musicians reviewed are Foils, David Vandervelde, Hot Club de Paris, the Boggs, Seoul Electric Band, the Dirty Skirts, Monsters are Waiting, Hugh Cornwell, and Vehicular. Ratings are given as stars.
Anthony Lovato, 26, former lead singer for the band Mest, was booked on suspicion of murder and held on a $1 million bail after he called police and claimed to have stabbed a romantic rival in Studio City. The victim, Wayne Hughes, 25, of Cathedral City, was declared dead at a nearby hospital, police said. Lovato was freed on Tuesday after prosecutors determined he had acted in self defense after Hughes had sent him threatening messages, climaxing in Hughes challenging Lovato to a fight on Sunday.
Velvet Revolver lead singer Scott Weiland is out $10,000 worth of clothes (his estimate) after his wife torched his wardrobe outside their Toluca lake home after the couple brawled at the ultra chic Graciela Hotel on Pass Avenue, causing over $400 in damages. Mary Weiland, 31, was booked for investigation of felony arson vandalism after officers responded to a call Saturday night that a female was burning clothes. The couple's children, ages 4 and 6, were placed in the custody of family friends. No telling how this impacts plans for the forthcoming Velvet Revolver tour, scheduled to launch April 10 in Chile.
Rush has announced its "Snakes and Arrows" tour (we like the title too) starting June 13 in Atlanta, and will have 45 more North American dates before it heads over to Europe. You think Geddy Lee would wear a "My Snake Is Bigger Than Your Snake" t-shirt?
Yep, you heard me right. Heart Breakers is an older neighborhood gentlemen's club and the manager, DJB, formerly ran the Rock Shop here in Milwaukee. I had all sorts of concerns and questions going into this one, but hey, we gave it a shot and had a damned good time. The venue is on the smaller side, but I have to hand it to DJB and the staff at Heart Breakers: It sounded damned good. And when going to a concert that's really all that matters. It was also very nice to get out of the sub-zero temperatures to a hot club for a night of music. Sets were short (four bands on the bill) with each band playing eight or so songs.
First up for the evening is an older Milwaukee band called Moloko Shivers.
U2's The Edge has announced an auction of music memorabilia to benefit Gulf Coast musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. Among other items, The Edge has ponied up his 1975 Gibson Les Paul Custom and his 1958 Gibson ES-295. Both are significant instruments in the history of U2 and have been featured on recordings, live and in music videos.
Also featured in the auction are items once belonging to Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and other music icons.
Jeff Barringer Interviews Paul Collins and The Beat
One of the world's great levelers is certainly the internet, and the music industry's great leveler has got to be MySpace.com. Forget all the high school (and junior high) hijinks and shenanigans, if you really look deep into its soul, MySpace is an incredible resource for the music journalist, whether they are writing for Rolling Stone or writing for their own blog.
In the old old days of music journalism, before the internet, to hook up with a band there were really only two ways to go: The front door, which meant tracking down publicists, promoters, or venue management, or the back door, which was literally the back door, hanging around at the clubs and venues until you could pigeonhole someone who looked important enough to get you in.
While I still use these methods, my most successful connections seem to be coming primarily from MySpace these days, and like as not with a MySpace contact I end up dealing with the artists themselves.
Paul Collins Beat - Rock and Roll Girl
Paul Collins Beat - Don't Wait Up For Me
A perfect case in point would be how we connected up with Paul Collins. When I tried to hook up with him 25-odd years ago at the Dillo when they opened for the Jam all my attempts to connect with him and the band failed, though I tried both the front door and the back door. This time, for his SXSW appearance, I contacted them through their MySpace page, and I'll be damned if Paul the man himself didn't reply. Because of that MySpace connection, I did a podcast interview with him, and when he and the band came over we not only filmed an interview, they invited us to film their whole SXSW set! Now, I'm not going to tell you if you run off to Slayer's MySpace site and send them a message then Kerry King will send you a personal reply, and Sting is actually unlikely to be the one approving your friend request on the Police's page, but for the other 99.9 percent of the bands and artists online, you stand a good chance of connecting some way.
My thanks go out to Paul Collins and the Beat for doing the interviews and letting us film. It really helped make our 2007 SXSW experience memorable.
Well, it looks like we're finally coming to the ends of our memory cards. Best I can determine is that we (the club kingsnake staff) got photos of at least 58 bands or musicians in one form or another (and Dan Rather) during SXSW 2007, as well as several hours of HD video, numerous interviews, and a whole lot of articles. We still have a lot of little things left to publish and post but the majority of our SXSW experience is now online. Enjoy!
club kingsnake is now accepting submissions for its 2007 concert photo contest. Last year's contest attracted over 500 photo entries. This year we timed the announcement to occur during Austin's SXSW festival and handed out about 1000 flyers to music photojournalists from around the world.
The 2007 contest will be handled a bit differently, with monthly winners instead of weekly, and with larger prize incentives to the winners. This year's contest prizes are as follows:
Monthly Prizes: (selected at the first of each month)
1st Place - $100 B & H Photo Gift Card
2nd Place - $50 B & H Photo Gift Card
3rd Place - club kingsnake T-Shirt
Year End Prizes: (selected at the beginning of 2008)
1st Place - $2000 Camera Shopping Spree at B & H Photo
2nd Place - Fuji F31 Point N Shoot Camera
3rd Place - $100 B & H Photo Gift Card
This year's contestants will not have to worry about last year's winner. Moondog (Gary Miller) has decided to abstain so that he may join our volunteer staff as a staff photographer and help us with this year's contest. Moondog is not only SXSW's official photographer, but also a staff photographer for the Austin Chronicle, as well as the house photographer for a number of Texas major concert venues.
So how does it work? Simple - just upload a concert photograph that you have taken yourself (with a camera, not off someone else's web site!) to our photo contest gallery. Make sure to include the artist's name and any other pertinent details such as the camera and lense used in the description. Every month 3 winners will be chosen, and at the end of the year the 3 best will be selected from all the photos submitted throughout the year. This is kind of like American Idol for pictures except our contest judges have been told to keep their rude snickering to themselves.
Returning to SXSW for a follow up appearance this year at the Dirty Dog, the Zico Chain from the U.K. invited me to their soundcheck, and then later we went out for dinner at the Iron Cactus (I had the chicken breast and too many beers) and over to Stubb's to catch a bit of the show by the Automatic. It was great to get the chance to hang around with the guys, talk off the record about the music industry in the U.K., their career direction, making records and touring. I also got to spend a bit of time chatting with their manager, Matt Willis, and it was gret to find someone older, like me, who actually knew who the bands Camel and BrandX were.
Later that night, at their gig, we were able to do some filming. Unfortunately, we wouldn't have the trick mic setup for our HDR-FX1 until the following day, and so we have some awesome 1080i video footage of their set but the band's SPL (Sound Pressure Level) swamped the little built-in microphones and the audio was unusable. This is unfortunate as the band was hoping to use some of the footage for a live video. There was at least one other videographer at the gig. so we're hoping to track them down and get the audio. If you are that person or are have an audio copy of this show, please let me know.
On Friday, before the guys packed up and headed west towards their gig at the Knitting Factory in L.A. , and after the guys at B & H got our mic situation sorted out, we hooked up with the Zico Chain one last time and got to put a nice interview on film. Now that we have our sound, light and video issues resolved we expect to be doing a lot more of these video interviews. If you have a band coming to Austin and have 15 minutes to spare before your gig, look us up. And if you run a major TV network looking for some nice HD content, you can call me too.
SXSW 07 ended Sunday. The barricades are down in Austin, the swarms of international press have left, most of the bands have returned home, a few stayed behind, and the general tone and tenor of life has returned to Austin's entertainment district.
One thing that hasn't left is a persistent hacking cough that seems to have impacted Clint Gilders, at least one of the SXSW official photographers, and me. I'm still exhausted and ill, having seen my doctor twice and blown about $400 on meds since Monday. This afternoon I started to finally feel a little better, though, so maybe there's still hope. If not, I wish to have my ashes scattered throughout Austin's entertainment district, with a little left over for where the Dillo used to be. I'm sure we aren't the only ones still feeling, or reeling from, the after effects of SXSW 07.
The Zico Chain pose with Austin's infamous Leslie photo by jeff barringer - staff photographer
I talked to Chris Zico on the phone today. He and the band are somewhere in Arizona, trapped in an SUV with a couple of NME guys, watching for snakes on the highway, and heading off to some gigs in L.A. they landed while at SXSW. Wish I felt well enough to jump on a plane to catch them, but I'll send a few friends their way. I talked to a label today that may send an AOR guy to check them out, and I may send a bunch of reptile heads to their set as well.
Paul Collins and his band The Beat made it back to Spain after some nasty weather-related delays, and it appears Hugh Cornwell made it back to the U.K safely as well. I've already posted Hugh's video interview, and am finishing the edits on Paul and the Beat, as well as the Zico Chain interview. I should be posting those tonight. I'm very happy with how most of the videos have turned out so far; it looks like we have most of our technology issues finally ironed out.
photo by clint gilders - staff photographer
A super big thank you to Gabriel and Matt over at B & H Photo, they were lifesavers. After the guys at the Sony booth recommended I try to trade in my brand new 3 CCD Sony camcorder for a new one that was just released with XLR inputs that cost $2000 more (DOH!), Matt came to my rescue with a third party add-on designed to do the same for about $400. Not only that, he got in touch with his audio guys and set me up with just the right microphone combos. Over the last year, I've bought a lot of gear from a lot of different camera companies, and this is the first time I didn't feel like I was dealing with someone just wanting to "sell" me something - and this from a camera company based in New York! Matt set up the deal and Gabriel got it delivered to their hotel room, and by Thursday morning we had the hook-up. B & H has basically scored us as a corporate customer for life. Maybe we can talk them into working with us on our photo contests.
Speaking of the photo contest, we must have handed out close to 1000 business cards or flyers to photographers we saw at the trade show or at gigs. It should make for a much more interesting contest this year, but as of yet we haven't had a huge influx of photos for this month's contest. At the moment this would be the easiest month to have a chance to win something, but that could change tomorrow if everyone starts posting. Tom Zinn did post a few SXSW pics to our galleries, including a nice Pete Townsend performance shot. Anyone participating in the contest may request their photo gallery space be bumped up to 100Mb of storage, rather than the standard 10Mb we give everyone; just let us know when you need it.
SXSW, illness aside, was a blast for all of us and we will definitely return again next year. I want to thank everyone who helped make SXSW so special for us this year, including Christie Keith for working in the booth, doing all that live blogging, and the interviews and reviews, Christie's mom for taking care of her dogs, Clint Gilders for coming all the way from the great white north to shoot all those great pictures and videos, his wife Andrea and their kids for allowing him to be away for 9 days, Therese Kopiwada for doing the toughest job of all, just working that trade show booth, John Rucker for coming up from Houston to work the booth and reviewing some shows for us, my sister Susan for working at the booth, and making emergency runs with supplies when we ran out, my brother Jim and his wife for printing our flyers on short notice, and my parents, who took care of my large and varied menagerie (four tortoises, two hundred-pound dogs, two aquariums, and an African Grey parrot who would make Joe Pesci blush) for ten days.
A huge thank you to the staff of our PetHobbyist web communities for keeping the regular business going while we were all away, and the users of those communities for choosing not to start the revolution at that moment. I would also like to thank our winners of last year's photo contest, Jay West and Gary Miller, for showing up at the booth every 30 minutes and making us all jealous with who they just shot. Also a big thank you to Bob and Sherry Ashley over at ECO for helping us get all the "My Snake Is Bigger Than Your Snake" shirts in time, and to Brian Potter whose attempts to hook us up last minute with our ever elusive Slash interview were most appreciated, but in the end proved futile. We tried, buddy, maybe next time.
Finally, I would like to thank all the great bands and artists we saw, met and interviewed, especially Hugh Cornwell, Chris, Paul, and Ollie of the Zico Chain, Paul Collins and his band The Beat, Miles Winter Roberts, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Troy Campbell, Roky and Sumner Erickson and The Explosives and the 1300 odd other bands and artists that made SXSW so special.
Now... who's ready for ACL Fest?
where did you guys get those cool matching t-shirts? - photo by clint gilders - staff photographer