SXSW 2007: Day One and Two Highlights
Fri, 16 Mar 2007 13:10:28
The South by Southwest music conference offers far too many highlights (and lowlights) to cover them all—so here, our editors offer a quick recap of a few of their favorite moments. Expect them to resurface after the weekend with a wicked hangover and a more detailed report.
Day One (Wed., March 14th):
- Pete Townshend used his keynote speech to hype his new "musical portrait" software, the Method, and to grouse about the lack of real-time live music on the Internet, as opposed to the increasing trend towards time-shifted, on-demand content. "F**k it! I want it live!" Townshend exclaimed.
- Britain's favorite sass-mouth, Lily Allen, expressed dismay during her set at Stubb's that she was part of an NME showcase. "F**k off, you c**ts," she said of the British music tabloid, which she has accused in the past of sexist coverage. (Yes, many F-bombs were dropped on SXSW's first day. Maybe the drizzly weather put everyone in a bad mood.)
- Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne gave a presentation called "Record Companies: Who Needs Them?" in which he predicted that digital sales would outpace CD sales by 2012, and that CDs would eventually be sold only as "artifacts, like vinyl is now." He also called out record companies on the fact that artist royalties for digital sales are the same as for CD sales, even though there are no manufacturing and distribution costs. He also showed a YouTube video of a guy standing in a cave, but we're not sure what that was about.
- Queens of the Stone Age previewed nine tracks from their forthcoming album, Era Vulgaris, at an afternoon listening party sponsored by Fader magazine and Levi's. Word to the wise: skip that second bean-and-cheese burrito when you're listening to songs with titles like "Battery Acid" and "Sick, Sick, Sick."
- Fresh from his keynote speech—and from canceling Who concerts in Florida and Mexico City while his cohort Roger Daltrey recovers from brochitis—Pete Townshend joined his girlfriend Rachel Fuller for a star-studded edition of their Attic Jam live webcast series. A parade of younger artists, including rising British pop star Mika and singer-songwriters Willy Mason and Martha Wainwright, couldn't upstage Townshend, who delivered riveting versions of old Who chestnuts "Drowned" and "I Can't Reach You," a song he introduced with, "not only have I never played this in public, nobody I know has played this song in public."
- Tom Morello of Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine fame led a little all-star jam of his own at Parish. Many people expected Morello's "special guests" to be his Rage cohorts, but instead, the guitarist was joined onstage but an ensemble that included Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell, Guns 'N Roses/Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash, Primus bassist Les Claypool, and Wayne Kramer of seminal Detroit rockers the MC5. After finishing up with a blistering rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," Morello told the crowd, " I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend, 'cause you ain't gonna top that s**t." No kidding, Tom.