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SXSW Live a Texas keeper

The fine, workaholic folks at South by Southwest are already busy readying for 2008’s version on March 12-16. It’s taking music applications for the showcases, and short and semi-informal “quickie” panel discussions are in the works for the informational part…

Posted in Over The Top on August 14, 2007 11:26 AM

ACL tear-offs

Looks like the Austin City Limits Music Festival in mid-September is causing the same benefit for us here in North Texas as South By Southwest does in mid-March; a good chunk of the 130 or so acts scheduled to perform…

Posted in Over The Top on July 19, 2007 12:16 PM

Urban Music Festival: Keite Young

Posting for Over the Top blogger Lorrie Irby Jackson: Fort Worth’s Keite Young didn’t exactly feel the love Friday during the second annual Urban Music Festival in Austin. For the second time in the capital city, his set was cut…

Posted in Over The Top on April 7, 2007 7:10 PM

SXSW: Age before beauty

A final note on SXSW, which I fled Saturday afternoon to gear up for Dallas’ own big happening, The AFI-Dallas International Film Festival . SX is famous as a launching pad for hot young turks on the rise – The…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2007 8:33 PM

SXSW: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

For the first couple of songs during the show at Emo’s Annex on Saturday night, you couldn’t help but wonder, where is Sharon Jones? It appeared for a while that the Dap-Kings were on their own, when alas guitarist and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2007 11:49 AM

SXSW: Nayrok

When Dallas native Nayrok Udab took the stage at Austin’s Club 115 after midnight on Sunday, the crowd was thin and spread out. Three songs into her set, she was still trying to find her groove. Not that she and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2007 10:12 AM

SXSW: RAtM cover!

The Nightwatchman is covering “Guerrilla Radio,” setting it to a bare-bones blues riff and with a harmonica solo. Holy … unREAL. And it’s sending the crowd into an ovative tizzy. “This song is dedicated to the fine people of Austin,”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 10:39 PM

SXSW: the Nightwatchman rants

“Despite my strict, rigid Catholic upbringing, I just can’t help but love this place,” said Tom Morello in good humor during his church gig to a packed sanctuary. “I mean, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, but all of these sweet Presbyterian…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 10:30 PM

SXSW: the Nightwatchman

“Please, talk amongst youselves in the pews,” said Tom Morello after he wandered out for his solo acoustic set at Central Presbyterian Church. He has a deep speaking voice that projects well … the question is if the former guitarist…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 10:30 PM

SXSW: What the … ?

To me, hip hop has reached the point in its gestation where artists must have a catch to be noticed, especially now that the style has gone international. Few better examples of this exists than Romy Hoffman, better known as…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 9:48 PM

SXSW: I got in!

And I’m rocking OUT to one of pop-punk’s inventors, Manchester, England’s Buzzcocks. It’s great energy music, and these blokes have only become tighter and more compact in the 31 years that they’ve been around. Viral harmonies, vital chord changes (it…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 8:25 PM

SXSW: Erin go rock

Who was the genius that planned SXSW during St. Patrick’s Day? I want his/her head. Even more than a mile away from Sixth Street, parking downtown is darn near impossible. Even near UT Austin, which is where I just came…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 7:32 PM

SXSW: Black Tie Dynasty, take 1.5

So after waiting fruitlessly in line for 20 minutes to catch a song or two of the Apples in Stereo’s unofficial Saturday set (Dallas’ Jon Dufilho is now a member), I zoomed over to 1604 San Antonio St. (near the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 6:21 PM

SXSW: Rickie’s beef

“The festival has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” said Rickie Lee Jones about SXSW. “But there was a shortage of food downtown, when you’re walking around drunk. Maybe they’ll change that for next year.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 4:27 PM

SXSW: Rickie Lee Jones

Huh. Funky is how the legendary underground singer-songwriter started her set, waxing all stream-of-conscious-like about her distortion box, rednecks and being on DirecTV (the showcase is at SXSW Live and being broadcast on the satellite network) as her band warmed…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 4:22 PM

SXSW: Long live Afrobeat

SXSW has never been jam band central, but there were two acts to choose from Friday night: Moe., or the New York-based Antibalas. We picked the latter, which proved a wise choice. Led by war-painted chanter Duke Amayo, the group…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 12:20 PM

SXSW: Wayne’s World

Spotted on Sixth Street: Flaming Lips front-man Wayne Coyne, bullhorn in hand, trolling for weirdos to interview in his role as SXSW correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Thank God Jay didn’t send that annoying Ross the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 12:18 PM

SXSW: Caution: Turtle Ahead

The oddest song introduction award goes to French chanteuse Keren Ann, who performed Friday night at Central Presbyterian Church. She dedicated her Suzanne Vega-meets-Eminem tale “Sailor and Widow” to “the turtle I almost smashed while walking around Dripping Springs.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 12:14 PM

SXSW: This ain’t no CBGB’s

The worst temporary venue trophy goes to the Austin Music Hall Ballroom at the convention center. Not that the real Music Hall (now under renovation) was ever that great, but it’s not nearly as sterile as the cavernous faux…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 12:11 PM

SXSW: Barbara Lynn still rockin’

I certainly got plenty of exercise on Friday night. After my stop at the Elephant Room, I decided to check out the Ponderosa Stomp at Opal Divine’s, even if it meant walking yet another nine blocks to go back. I…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 11:55 AM

SXSW: Kathleen Grace Band

After a glowing recommendation from Chris, I decided to make a getaway to the Elephant Room Friday night. I got there just in time to see the Kathleen Grace Band. The music was absolutely lovely. I kept trying to…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 11:18 AM

SXSW: Texas Chromosomes

All day Friday, Opal Divine’s Freehouse offered a special treat to anyone willing to hike down the east end of Sixth Street. From noon to 8 p.m. in a show called the Texas Chromosomes, women singer-songwriters took to the outdoor…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 10:51 AM

SXSW: Rock ‘n’ Roll is For Kids

With live shows and best-selling CDS such as High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls, kids music is certainly a force to be reckoned with these days. This music panel on Friday afternoon seemed mostly geared toward folks trying to…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 10:27 AM

SXSW: Kylesa

I had to do it. I’m a metalhead at heart, and I had to give some ear to at least one metal act while at SXSW. So here it is: Kylesa, an innovative, complex and utterly punishing heavy act out…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2007 12:21 AM

SXSW: the Colour Revolt did it!

Actually, it did it yesterday. Twice. And it will again tomorrow. The Oxford, Miss. quintet’s van, gear and personal belongings were stolen after a show in Deep Ellum on Monday. It had four days to piece together enough borrowed gear…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:48 PM

SXSW: venue wars

So many of SXSW’s venues are on and around Sixth Street that they tend to start to all look the same. They’re either deep, cavernous dens, airy rooftops, badly designed corners of a goofy, multi-tiered bar or just plain indescribable….

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:41 PM

SXSW: Peter, Bjorn and John

OK, I got in. Turns out the Bat Bar at SXSW holds several thousand … Creamy. Spot-on harmonies. Very Beatles-esque, with a poignant R&B; undercarriage with stripped-to-the-bones punk and blues as body panels.. They actually sound very British, but calmer…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 9:22 PM

SXSW: Now THAT’s a line!

So try-to-do-too-much me just arrived 10 minutes early to see Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn and John at SXSW Live at the Austin Convention Center. Oops. The line spans half of the length of the center. The center is three blocks…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 9:08 PM

SXSW: Secondhand Serenade

At the urging of a Warner Music Group publicist who’s been good to me (so far), I’m checking out one of those solo artists who perform under a band name … yeah, I know; those are everywhere these days. This…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 8:29 PM

SXSW: Already hoppin’

It’s 7:40, and lines are already quite long. It’s Friday night, spring break for some, and the freaks are already out (and it’s not even dark outside yet thanks to this year’s advanced Daylight Savings Time). The characters that SXSW…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 7:59 PM

SXSW: the Cinematics

OK, now this is the Queen’s emo. Last night’s set by the Fratellis wasn’t really what we Yanks would call emo, rock’s most recent phenomenon. These lads from the Scottish highlands (now based where else but in Glasgow) take Talking…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 5:59 PM

SXSW: Forgot to mention…

… that Public Enemy’s Chuck D was helping to interview Mr. Morello on the air. Talk about two heavyweights of revolutionary music getting together; “I’ll be in the crowd when Public Enemy plays their showcase at Town Lake,” Mr. Morello…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 5:29 PM

SXSW: Nightwatchman by day

I’m at Buffalo Billiards, where “The Current” 101X, a Minneapolis-based public radio station, has been interviewing various music acts all day today and yesterday. Tom Morello, guitarist for Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine (which will reunite for god next?…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 5:19 PM

SXSW: The Spree’s new color

You can take the Polyphonic Spree out of their robes, but you can’t take the gospel out of the Spree. Performing Friday before DirecTV cameras at the Convention Center, the Dallas band unveiled new songs and a sharp new look:…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 4:16 PM

SXSW: Mr. Blakes and Ms. Host

It wouldn’t be a SXSW without an update on Garland native, hip-hop hustler and flower, and former Dallas Morning News intern Bavu Blakes….

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 3:40 PM

SXSW: In the Stax

I didn’t get to hang with Isaac Hayes, but I was among the lucky ones who wormed into Antone’s Thursday night for what was billed as the “Stax 50 Revue.” Every SXSW has it’s “OK, I can go home now”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 3:18 PM

SXSW: The getaway

Thor’s item on the Presbyterian Church makes me want to check it out. But I have my own spot to escape the Sixth Street madness: The Elephant Room , the cozy basement jazz spot on Congress and Third….

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 2:40 PM

SXSW: SXSWhat?

Pity the uninformed tourist. In the lobby of my hotel stood a middle-aged couple with two young kids. They seemed flabbersgasted by all the traffic. “Is there some kind of convention in town?” the man asked the hotel clerk. Informed…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 2:30 PM

SXSW: Science project

He blinded us with science. Then he went and made a mint from it. Thomas Dolby was back in action Thursday night at SXSW, playing a rigged-up keboard in front of a video screen that showed him…playing a rigged up…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 2:11 PM

SXSW: A Heavenly Venue

Sixth Street is infamous for clubs with bad acoustics and overly chatty audiences. But walk two blocks and you’ll find the perfect listening room: The Central Presbyterian Church Now in its second year as a SXSW venue, Presby is landing…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:57 AM

SXSW: Fort Worth Soul

Fort Worth’s Keite Young cut his teeth as a touring singer with Kirk Franklin, but his gospel days are history: Two high points in his kinetic set at Club One 15 were funked-up versions of the Beatles’ “Come Together” and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:56 AM

SXSW: the Fratellis

I’d have posted this by 1:40 a.m. last evening, but my ankles were about to turn to stew and I had to find a bed … The Fratellis are Scotland’s latest mega-buzz band, together less than two years and signed…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:50 AM

SXSW: The new British “Wino”

This year, South By Southwest is the official launch pad for boozy British birds. Wednesday gave us the Bud-guzzling, trash-talking Lily Allen. In the wee hours of Friday, it was Amy Winehouse’s turn. The 23-year-old soul singer has made waves…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 11:27 AM

SXSW: Dog Days

Dogs seem to have it pretty good here in Austin, at least in SXSW territory. I have yet to see a naked dog. I swear, every dog I’ve seen so far, he has on a cap, a jacket, shorts and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 10:57 AM

SXSW: Moment of a lifetime

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.: Just call it pure luck (or maybe not). But here I am at the Stax Records revue at Antone’s in downtown Austin, minding my own business and enjoying soul singer Eddie Floyd belt out “Soul Man” with…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2007 2:59 AM

SXSW: MuteMath, part two

Things that happened during MuteMath’s unreal 40-minute set at the Dirty Dog: – Singer Paul Meany did a handstand on his keyboard. – The band members switched instruments several times. Everybody played drums at least once. – Bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 11:55 PM

SXSW: MuteMath

When it comes to New Orleans. I don’t care. I don’t care how lame, how bumbling, how abrasive or how just plain bad any band from New Orleans is. I’m still going to root for them and be a fan….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 11:13 PM

SXSW: Bob Mould

If you’re under 25, you’re likely thinking “Bob who?” This man, with Husker Du in the 1980s, practically invented college punk. After the Du bit the dust in the early 1990s, he continued to record concise, hard-driving pop-punk songs with…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 9:40 PM

SXSW: mo’ Bryce

He’s playing a new song, to be on his upcoming CD in July, and it’s a keeper even without Stevie Wonder’s horn section (it fills in the holes on the recording, apparently. “So Much Love” has an undeniable proto-Stax groove…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 7:33 PM

SXSW: the Rocket Summer

Twenty-three-year-old Bryce Avary of Colleyville is nothing if not ebuillent. His band, the Rocket Summer, has been an obsession since age 14. Through several recordings, both self released and on the Militia Group label, he’s performed all of the instruments…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 7:24 PM

SXSW: Town Lake

There’s a theme at this year’s SXSW Music Festival at Town Lake, which is just south of downtown (and is an official SXSW showcase venue). Booms. Rootsy New York-based rock band (think Neil Young crossed with Wilco) Steel Train is…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 6:36 PM

SXSW: David Byrne takes on the record labels

Onstage, guitar in hand, David Byrne knows exactly what to do. But onstage, giving a power-point presentation Thursday titled “Record Companies: Who Needs Them?”, he seemed like a junior college teacher in his first day on the job. Amid the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 6:05 PM

SXSW: Beat of the night

Best beat of my opening night belonged to Honeycut, a Bay Area neo-funk outfit that busted out of the gate with a pounding drum machine take on Audio Two’s Top Billin’ (also featured on Mary J. Blige’s Real Love) at…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 5:59 PM

SXSW: Even vulgar bands can be nice

I just struck up a conversation over a smoke with Jan (no last name needed, ahem), the bassist and keyboardist for a Glasgow, Scotland-based “new wave punk emo” outfit called … well, I can’t say here. (Hint: the band name…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 5:48 PM

SXSW: Wristband update

AUSTIN – This just in on the wristband front:You can buy them at 7:30 tonight – $175, cash only – at Bourbon Rocks, Buffalo Billiards, Elysium, Habana Calle 6 Annex, Lambert’s, Maggie May’s, Momo’s, The Parish II, Opal Divine’s, and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 5:37 PM

SXSW: The wandering badge

AUSTIN – Last night it hit me: The main advantage to having a badge is mobility. Since you can get into almost everything, you’re free to wander around town and sample bands to your heart’s content. A friend with a…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 5:17 PM

SXSW: Emmy awards

I’m at the Driskill Hotel at Sixth and Brazos at an invitation-only (thanks, Mario) event honoring Emmylou Harris’ career. Though I’m not a huge country or folk, one such artist that I could never get enough of is sweet Emmylou….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 5:16 PM

SXSW: Bass chicks

AUSTIN – Watching The Ladybug Transistor do their Americana/pop thing Wednesday night at Antone’s, it hits me: I have a thing for bands with female bassists (in this case, Julia Rydholm). Is it the stability the bass represents? Dunno. But…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 4:56 PM

SXSW: Day 2

AUSTIN – Waiting for a cab to take me downtown, I chat with members of the band Crocodile, playing an afternoon show at Progress Coffee. Like me, they’re staying in the boonies – a Fairfield Inn a few miles from…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 4:47 PM

SXSW: More Stars

OK, the Portland, Ore. trio’s set’s done. One cool thing: The band has no bass player; it generates low tones electronically. Another cool thing: Singer-guitarist Jason Bell convulses like his pinkie is stuck in an electric socket every time he…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 4:45 PM

SXSW: Stars of Track and Field

Wind-Up Records’ newest catch, Stars of Track and Field, is the perfect example of the label’s abandomnent of rock. Yet the band plays rock. What the … ? So-called “shoegaze” music is technically rock, but it’s meant as rock to…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 4:35 PM

SXSW: Hip-hop punk

AUSTIN – The first time I encountered Saul Williams was on the jaw-dropping spoken word track Ohm, from the first Lyricist Lounge compilation. Then he blew me away (along with a prison yard full of toughs) in the film Slam….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 3:43 PM

SXSW: Lily Allen vs NME

Just when you thought South by Southwest had gotten totally safe, along comes Lily Allen. The 21-year-old Brit sensation du jour performed Wednesday night at a show sponsored by the English music magazine NME – a fact she wasn’t thrilled…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 11:06 AM

SXSW: Sunny Sweeney

When Sunny Sweeney opens her mouth to talk or to sing, y’all, there’s no mistaken that she’s a true Tex ‘un. The Longview native has a sweet voice and seems to have a lot of fun singing honky tonk tunes…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 10:40 AM

SXSW: The Holmes Brothers

Age is certainly catching up with this blues trio from New York. But it was only their physical appearance that gave them away. Wendell and Sherman Holmes along with Popsy Dixon took me back to the days of old-time revivals…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 10:07 AM

SXSW: Scary sightings

Wednesday,10:04 p.m.: A man walking down Sixth Street in questionable attire is probably nothing special here. But something about this man (who appeared to be in his late 50s) wearing a black leather jacket and cowboy boots caught my eye:…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 9:44 AM

SXSW: Staying put at The Parish

I didn’t take Chris Vognar’s advice about not staying at the same venue all night. I went to The Parish on Sixth Street, and didn’t leave until I was too pooped to hear another note. But oh, what a treat…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 9:39 AM

SXSW: The wonderful world of Emo’s

AUSTIN – It’s not rare for a SXSW venue to in fact be several venues. There’s a Parish and a Parish II, for instance (The Wrath of Parish? Parish 2: Electric Boogaloo?), and umpteen clubs with patio stages. But…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 2:34 AM

SXSW: Minute by minute

Time is precious when you have only a 30-minute showcase to strut your stuff. So you might as well compulsively check the time like Sweden’s Kristoffer Ragnstam , who played a game of beat the clock throughout his 9 p.m….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 2:12 AM

SXSW: Radiant

Nice, semi-ambient, bottom-heavy set by this Dallas band, which had the 1 a.m. slot at Spiro’s on Wednesday (er, Thursday … hey! It’s my birthday! Yay!). These guys are good pals with Black Tie Dynasty, and it’s no wonder: both…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 1:16 AM

SXSW: Lonely China Day

Bands from Israel, Australia and India are at SXSW. But none likely had to go through the hassle and the travel that Lonely China Day – from Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, the most populous nation on Earth -…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2007 12:01 AM

SXSW: My thirst is quenched

Note to self (and yeah, to everyone who reads this): Austin’s entertainment strip rules. Why? Because Interstate 35 runs right through downtown and two blocks away from Red River Street, there are gas stations. That means convenience stores. And that…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 11:10 PM

SXSW: The epicenter

I’m standing at Sixth and Neches, amd the din is cacophonic. The scene reminds me of Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., but the entertainment district’s PA system is cranked to 8 or 9 instead of a bluesy 3 or 4…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 10:34 PM

SXSW: Black Tie Dynasty

Mission accomplished, if there really was a mission (see my story on the band). The six-song set (most bands get 30-35 minutes, tops) was tight and efficient and sounded lovely for 80s synth pop, especially considering the Tap Room at…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 10:10 PM

SXSW: Oy vey …

So I get into town and situated in my hotel at about 4:30. Thinking that I’m ahead of the curve, I take a 25-minute power nap (needed it after driving through rain south of Temple all the way in). Then,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 9:03 PM

SXSW: Getting started

I’ll be honest (always am); this is my first official visit to SXSW. I went once for a day and a half in 2001, mostly to unofficial parties, so I kind of knew what to expect … Kind of. I…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 8:33 PM

SXSW: In the beginning

4:04 P.M. – I’ve arrived at the annual Yard Dog party, on the patio of the funky South Congress gallery that focuses on art from the American South. Alligator chili, black beans, and yellow rice are on the menu. Jon…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 6:03 PM

SXSW: The transition

AUSTIN – The switch from film to music at SXSW happens fast, but it’s palpable. The streets get crowded (more so than during film, which is slightly more so than an average day here). The random blasts of power chords…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2007 5:55 PM

Help the Colour Revolt!

Oxford, Miss. indie rock band Colour Revolt performed at Monday’s North by Southwest Music Festival at Ellum: Onstage, just ahead of headliners the Starlight Mints and Mates of State. Fortunately, the band, which is bound for the South by Southwest…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2007 2:43 PM

SXSW: Rudd on top

AUSTIN — Knocked Up, director Judd Apatow’s follow-up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, showed to a packed house at the Paramount on Monday night. As expected, it’s a film that’s going to need a second viewing, as there were many times…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2007 1:59 PM

SXSW: To film, or not to film

AUSTIN — Director AJ Schnack introduced and screened his film Kurt Cobain: About a Son at the Paramount Theater on Monday afternoon. If you were expecting a documentary full of Nirvana on stage or behind-the-scenes footage of Cobain, think again….

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2007 1:57 PM

SXSW: Rather reports

AUSTIN — Dan Rather participated in a question and answer session Monday as part of the SXSW Interactive conference. During the hour-plus discussion, the former CBS news anchor and current HDNet newsman provided the bloggers in attendance with a seminar…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2007 1:21 PM

SXSW: Alamo Drafthouse

If I was in Austin – like Chris and Stephen et al …. I would go see my favorite classical musician P. Kellach Waddle and his ensemble perform live war-themed classical music at the M*A*S*H* screening. Tonight at 7:30 p.m….

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2007 3:54 PM

SXSW: The day ahead

Dan Rather or sex, Dan Rather or sex. That’s the conundrum I’m facing today as I must choose between a discussion with the former CBS newsman and current face of HDTV and a panel with John Cameron Mitchell that probes…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2007 12:40 PM

SXSW: The Horror

What awaits the horror genre on the other side of what web critic Harry Knowles calls the current “torture porn” era? A panel of fear fanatics offered their views Sunday afternoon at the Panel of the Dead….

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2007 10:40 PM

SXSW: Spurlock

AUSTIN — When Morgan Spurlock showed up for his panel Sunday sporting a full beard, it was easy to wonder if he was hiding from some big corporation he’d ticked off. Instead, as he explained, he had grown the beard…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2007 2:43 PM

SXSW: Letter perfect

Coolest poster so far is for the documentary Helvetica, which is, as you might have guessed, about the font. “Meet the cast:” reads the top, followed by the alphabet, in capital letters. Helvetica, of course….

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2007 2:12 PM

SXSW: Sunday

AUSTIN — OK, back in the blogging business after a one-day hiatus. Sitting in the press room, typing this next to a Scottish guy actually wearing a kilt. I didn’t ask if there was truth to the idea of what…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2007 12:01 PM

SXSW: Back to the temple

AUSTIN – Just made my yearly pilgrimage to the Whole Foods mothership, and, once again, I must say Oh my (fill in exclamataion). Indian food bar, pizza bar, walk-in beer fridge…it’s actually kind of intimidating, especially if you’re hungry. This…

Posted in Over The Top on March 10, 2007 10:41 PM

SXSW: Do the twist

AUSTIN – As Stan is wont to say at the end of every South Park episode, I learned something today. Or rather, I tried to. The task: how to twist a balloon animal. The occasion: the world premiere of Twisted,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 10, 2007 6:34 PM

SXSW: Swagalicious

Best piece of swag so far from the young fest: the “Deadstrong” bracelets handed out at last night’s screening of American Zombie, the mockumentary about zombies trying to fit into Los Angeles society (good luck with all that). It’s a…

Posted in Over The Top on March 10, 2007 12:40 PM

SXSW: Day 1

AUSTIN — As Chris said, the line was long, but nice goes a long way when you’re waiting. Which I’ve done a lot of today. Before heading to the convention center, I was supposed to interview Joseph Gordon-Levitt, star of…

Posted in Over The Top on March 9, 2007 5:17 PM

SXSW: Arrival

AUSTIN – Sixth Street is so quiet compared to the drunkapoola it will become in the next week. But the Convention Center is already jumping with folks showing up and waiting – very patiently, I should add – to get…

Posted in Over The Top on March 9, 2007 4:31 PM

SXSW lineup

The South by Southwest Film Festival announced its complete lineup of features this week for the event, to be held March 9-17 in Austin. Over the nine-day run, the festival will screen 110 features, including 61 world premieres, nine North…

Posted in Over The Top on February 8, 2007 11:21 AM

SXSW Opening night

South By Southwest announced today that it will open the film portion of the festival with the world premiere of The Lookout. The film is written and directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank (Out of Sight) and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt…

Posted in Over The Top on January 3, 2007 11:31 AM

Pete Townshend at SXSW

South by Southwest has landed one of its biggest keynote speakers to date: Pete Townshend. The ever-quotable Who leader is the latest British rock legend to launch the annual music festival-conference (the others are Robert Plant, Ray Davies and Nick…

Posted in Over The Top on December 13, 2006 11:51 AM

Awesome…

Beastie Boys fans unite: The group’s movie, Awesome: I [Expletive] Shot That!, screens tomorrow night only at Cinemark theaters in Plano, Cedar Hill and Mansfield, the AMC Grand in Dallas and the UA Fossil Creek in Fort Worth. The movie,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 22, 2006 12:33 PM

Austin’s Beasties

Austin promoter Tony C, who was kind enough to drive me around town as we rolled with Money Waters last week, told me the band he’s most excited about working with is Vehicular, a hip-hop group that mixes Beasties Boys-style…

Posted in Over The Top on March 21, 2006 12:01 PM

SXSW: Dreamz on

SXSW film ended Saturday night with an incendiary, politically incorrect smart bomb called American Dreamz, which opens April 21. Written and directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy), the movie satirizes the Bush administration (Dennis Quaid plays a surprisingly…

Posted in Over The Top on March 20, 2006 4:41 PM

SXSW: My SXSW

Well, it’s over and I almost wish it wasn’t. No matter how how tiring it gets, I always leave SXSW in a right mind, ready to hear a lot more music. So here’s my roll call, filed from the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 5:47 PM

SXSW: From the dome

Freestyling won’t pay a lot of hip-hop bills, but it’s still the purest form of rap. It goes from the brain to the mouth to the audience, no paper of premeditation needed. Just ask Supernatural, who gave a clinic…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 5:16 PM

HERE AND THERE

SPANKER REUNION: Austin blues-rocker Guy Forsyth got a cameo boost Saturday night from rubboard player Wammo — his ex-mate in the Asylum Street Spankers. The two brought down the house at Bourbon Rocks with a J. Geils-like version of…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 1:12 PM

TRUE STORIES

RANDOM SIGHTING: David Byrne cruising through the 6th St. mob scene while seated in the back of a rickshaw-bicycle taxi. The mob paid him no mind, but Mr. Byrne surveyed the scene with wide-eyed amazement….

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 1:10 PM

GUMBO AND CHILI

Texas has been hospitable to Ivan and Cyril Neville and the other displaced Big Easy-ites in the newly-formed New Orleans Social Club. But as singer Willie T. made it clear Saturday at Town Lake, “We’re ready to go back…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 1:08 PM

THE GREAT PRETENDER

Attracting new fans is the name of the game at South by Southwest. But apparently, Chrissie Hynde didn’t get the memo. The Pretenders singer and PETA activist wasn’t afraid to alienate the masses at Stubb’s in the wee hours…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 1:06 PM

SXSW: Method to his Madness

When Garland’s Bavu Blakes isn’t busy being the hardest working MC in North Texas, he’s rocking out with The D-Madness Project. D is a blind musician from Dallas who plays drums, keys, and bass, often at the same time….

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 12:23 PM

SXSW: Tres slick

Four French dudes with turntables: That’s all it took to turn Oslo into a funk factory Saturday night. Birdy Nam Nam (don’t even think about asking me what it means) sliced, diced, and scratched smoking beats into an electronic…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 11:57 AM

SXSW: “The gentlemen of TTC invite the ladies to come onstage and dance”

My homie DJ Paz, who is scheduled to become my brother-in-law in June, caught a killer show Friday night, so I asked him to write up a review. (By the way, y’all should all cop his mixtape.) If you’re into…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 11:18 AM

SXSW: Funkytown becomes eclectic

Fort Worth 7-piece the Theater Fire is as eclectic as they come. During the band’s Saturday set at Latitude 30, we heard a wide range of classical influences, from folk to country to mariachi to jazz to zydeco to…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 4:40 AM

SXSW: Dallas comes to Salim

When Salim Nourallah and one of his two backup bands, the Noise, began performing Saturday night at Habana Calle 6, he looked out into the crowd and saw mostly faces he recognized. It was as if one of his…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 4:26 AM

SXSW: The boys of strange

Drumsticks flew as Dallas band the Strange Boys tore through a daytime set at Blue Velvet Vintage Clothing on Saturday. The baby-faced members play the most primal form of rock ‘n’ roll you can imagine. Lead singer Ryan Sambol…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 4:16 AM

My SXSW

Five days, 36 bands. Here’s a rundown of who I caught at SXSW 2006: Tuesday: Sleater-Kinney Wednesday: Steve Austin; The Ark; Castanets; New Pornographers; Mr. Blakes; K-Rino; Mr. Pookie and Mr. Lucci; Big Tuck; Chamillionaire; Echo & The Bunnymen Thursday:…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:49 AM

SXSW: Be a tree

Poor tall people. The polite ones always relegate themselves to the back of the concert venue, clearing the way for the shorties to see the stage. One six-foot-six-inch giant had had enough Saturday at La Zona Rosa, pushing his way…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:33 AM

SXSW: The Dark side

Fans of Mogwai and other atmospheric, slow-burn rock will enjoy Austin’s I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness. The melancholy rock act starts its songs off with long guitar notes before the drums start building up to a steady beat….

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:31 AM

SXSW: Get up stand up

The joke in journalism is that three examples are enough to prove a trend. (Journalists make bad jokes.) If that’s the case, then SXSW has demonstrated something new: drummers are standing up. Percussionists for We Are Wolves, Animal Collective and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:28 AM

SXSW: Where’s the hoedown?

The Pink Mountaintops feature two drummers, and several other members who alternate between guitar, bass and percussion instruments such as maracas and tambourines. Leader Stephen McBean wears a thick beard and sings in a twangy whine. This has all the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:26 AM

SXSW: Tangled Web

You probably haven’t heard, but Cadence Weapon is an Internet superstar. The rapper, whose real name is Rollie Pemberton, got his start writing reviews of rock records for Web zines, then started his own blog to promote his music. The…

Posted in Over The Top on March 19, 2006 3:13 AM

SXSW: Bend over

Over at Jelly NYC’s day party, the Baltimore outfit Spank Rock subbed for Big Daddy Kane, whose last-minute cancellation had to be one of the week’s biggest disappointments. Still, all was not lost. It’s hard not to smile when two…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 7:17 PM

SXSW: Turn on the TV

TV On the Radio leader Kyp Malone did a solo set at Fader magazine’s day party Saturday, meandering through acoustic jams at his own tempo. The bushy-bearded artist made like Unplugged-era Lauryn Hill, going places only he could understand, alternating…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 7:12 PM

SXSW: Sunburned

On a rainy day, it was nice to catch a little Apollo Sunshine, a Boston band that moved with ease through rockabilly and loping, Pavement-style indie rock, with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” thrown in. Singer/bassist Jesse Gallagher…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 7:07 PM

SXSW: Nasty boy

Houston’s Devin the Dude raps like a Southern Snoop Dogg, laconic and at ease with himself. He’s got the West Coast’s penchant for dirty sex jams, too. None of his lyrics are printable here; keep this man far, far away…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 7:03 PM

SXSW: Holy produce

Rave of the week: “I go there to pray.” – Fort Worth Star-Telegram pop culture critic Cary Darling, on the sprawling Whole Foods mother ship on Lamar. I just go there to eat, but I have considered a moment…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:52 PM

SXSW: Afrirampo

The best part of SXSW is stumbling in on something unexpected and amazing. For me, this year, that was Afrirampo. I hadn’t done any sort of due diligence – just heard their name from a couple folks and thought I’d…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:46 PM

SXSW: Jonesing at Bourbon

It made perfect sense to have Australian rockers Lovetones share a showcase with Brian Jonestown Massacre Friday night at Bourbon Rocks. The ‘Tones share Jonestown’s dense arrangements and adventurous, improv-friendly tone, and they live for performing live. All that,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:23 PM

SXSW: Bloggers on blogging

Tips on getting your music blog noticed, courtesy of a panel of esteemed music bloggers: -Find the hot new music first. “If you’re going to come up with a post that other people will link to, that’s kind of the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:29 PM

SXSW: Waco Brothers

And our final guest correspondent, at least for now…all the way from Washington, D.C…. is Dan Parks, who listens to a lot of Dave Alvin and Drive-By Truckers when he isn’t doing Assistant Managing Editor type things at Congressional…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:24 PM

R&B; was born in the American South, but it’s doing just fine in the Land of the Midnight Sun. A case in point: Swedish soul-folk rocker Nicolai Dunger, who managed to put on a rousing show Friday in a…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:21 PM

Ray Davies walked into the Convention Center Friday afternoon, played 20 seconds of his classic “Wateloo Sunset,” and abruptly stopped. “That’s the radio version,” he said with smile. It was par for the course in a music-and-movie segment filled…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:19 PM

The last time Norah Jones played SXSW, in 2002, she was a little-known jazz crooner. Four years later, she’s a pop superstar who drew thousands to Town Lake Friday see her light-hearted country side project, the Little Willies. But…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:16 PM

“Don’t Believe The Hype” isn’t just a Public Enemy song. It was the general feeling of SXSW-goers about the Arctic Monkeys, the new British act ITALICS NME has proclaimed “our generation’s most important band.” Turns out, they’re not so…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:15 PM

SXSW: Big Al Anderson/Cyril Jordan

And chiming in on one of her favorites, here’s Parry Gettelman, a frequent freelancer for the DMN, on the fabulous Big Al Anderson, formerly of NRBQ. Surprise bonus: she also caught Cyril Jordan, formerly of the Flamin’ Groovies, with his…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:13 PM

SXSW: Foxymorons

The more eyes – and ears – at SXSW the better. Today we have a couple guest correspondents chiming in with their SXSW experiences. First up: Jenice Johnson, who edits DMN Neighbors when she isn’t chasing bands at SXSW. She…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:07 PM

SXSW: Rap with a brain

Dallas’ hip-hop isn’t nearly as prominent as Houston’s, but with rappers like Pikahsso Allen Poe in our column, our city may yet get its day in the sun. The creator of “celestial brain phunk” served as a one-man rap/sung…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:57 AM

SXSW: Bang bang rock and roll

“We were Art Brut! We were amazing!” Thus spoke singer Eddie Argos as the London band’s guitars screeched and moaned to end the band’s set at Pitchfork Media’s free day party. They were pretty good, actually, playing no-frills punk with…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:40 AM

SXSW: That’s the Rub

DJ Ayres and Cosmo Baker hold court every week at a Brooklyn club. In those parties, known as The Rub, they’ve honed their terrific taste, going straight for the jugular with classic jams. Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:38 AM

SXSW: Time for regime change

New York’s Princess Superstar started out as a totally unnecessary rap parody, shaking her white-girl hips and posturing as a gangsta. She’s evolved into what is essentially spoken-word poetry over squirty bass and electro beats, but it’s still unsatisfying. Too…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:37 AM

SXSW: Cheers, mates

If the Partridge Family took a vacation to go see Stonehenge, it might sound a little like The Boy Least Likely To, a seven-piece U.K. band offering up a guitar-plucking, countrified ray of sunshine peeking out of the clouds. “I’ve…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:36 AM

SXSW: I’ll take a taxi, thanks

At their best, the Subways can churn out some Oasis-like anthems, such as the slightly stoned “Mary.” And the U.K. band headbangs and guitar-thrashes with the best of them. But many of their songs blend together, virtually indistinguishable, and the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:36 AM

SXSW: Canada strikes again

Emily Haines’ voice, a choking alto with attitude a la Chrissie Hynde, is the special ingredient in the Toronto band Metric. The group turned out a big crowd at Stubb’s, a testament to its rhythm section, which creates complex bass…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:34 AM

SXSW: Ah, drunk people

Best audience prop of Friday night: The giant inflatable hammer at Stubb’s. What could be more fun – without consequence – than pounding drunken boors over the head with that? Best drunken one-liner of the evening, overheard after a man…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:33 AM

SXSW: Choice real estate

Best place to stand at Stubb’s: The tree next to the patio is like the X on a treasure map. From that spot, the outdoor venue’s natural slope allows one to see over the heads of the insanely tall. Yet…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:33 AM

SXSW: The magic is gone

The Magic Numbers have never quite capitalized on the buzz surrounding them at last year’s SXSW festival. Don’t expect that to change this year. The London band is perfectly likable, playing twangy, Eagles-inspired California rock, complete with pretty, Mamas and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:31 AM

SXSW: Forrest fire

Never in the history of electronic music has there been a great reason to see a laptop DJ in concert – until now. Go watch Jason Forrest as soon as you can, but don’t stand in the front, because he…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:30 AM

SXSW: I’m glad I put this tape in

Minneapolis band Tapes ’N Tapes plays straight-up rock with quiet verses and loud choruses, but it’s the subtle touches that count – a Weezer-style keyboard flourish here, a shimmering tambourine there. Singer Josh Grier seemed quiet and reserved Friday –…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:30 AM

SXSW: Animal House

Animal Collective, a quartet from Baltimore, has achieved the perfect balance, making music that is both challenging and beautiful. Just as the name implies, the band sounds like what would happen if a group of woodland creatures – some squirrels,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:29 AM

SXSW: A tip for tippers

A sign at the bar in the Emo’s Annex tent, meant for our tight-walleted visitors from the U.K.: “ ‘Cheers, mate’ is not a tip in Texas.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:27 AM

SXSW: Hot fun

Have you ever taken a deliberate dive into a sea of drunk people? It’s called Friday night at South by Southwest, which happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day. The crowds were wild everywhere we went, particularly at the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 11:20 AM

SXSW: Proof POSitive

For a guy who falls into giggling fits and proclaims how nervous he is, Minnesota rapper P.O.S. is one commanding MC. He had no trouble rocking the crowd at Emo’s Friday night with elaborate and politically charged rhymes laced…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:51 AM

SXSW: Axis of Iggy?

Went shopping at Waterloo Records with the guys from the Iranian band 127. They were impressed. Lead singer/guitarist Sohrab Mohebbi purchased Iggy Pop’s The Idiot (“You could never find Iggy in a record store in Iran”) and Patti Smith’s…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:27 AM

SXSW: Freedom Paradise Rock, yo

Japanese acts have been hot at SXSW for ten years now. But some are a lot hotter than others. The SXSW website promises that Afriampo is made up of “two young girls from Kyoto, Japan. Creating naked rock and…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 2:01 AM

SXSW: Yes, but can she spell?

Overheard drunken line of the night: “Well, math isn’t my strong suit. So maybe 70 divided by two is 12.” – Girl walking on Red River, hopefully not to her car….

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:55 AM

SXSW: Thou Shalt Not Rock

Sixth Street revelers encountered a spectacle of piety Friday night in the form of three guys warning music fans from the path to rock and roll hell. Pretty impressive stagecraft, actually: One guy in the middle, on a little…

Posted in Over The Top on March 18, 2006 1:43 AM

SXSW: Hard to Copa

One thing’s for sure – we won’t be going back to Copa on North Congress: It’ll give us bad flashbacks of Thursday’s Charlotte Martin and Ben Taylor slots. Ms. Martin, a piano popstress who’s like a cross between Tori…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 4:06 PM

SXSW: Surprise, it’s the Beasties

When she’s not making the scene at secret shows, Jenice Johnson is an editor for DMN Neighbors. Continue reading for her report from the Beastie Boys “surprise” show at Stubbs Thursday. First Sundance, now SXSW – these guys are…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 3:30 PM

SXSW: Re: What, you can’t walk?

Is it just me, or did Vognar accuse me of being lazy? Daaaaaamn! Who appointed him drill sergeant? I took the bike cab last night because I had to get to the next club quickly. I was trying to see…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 3:21 PM

SXSW: Dude, where’s my car?

I have discovered the official sport of SXSW: Drunk Watching. Sixth Street has it at all at 2 a.m. Hammered guys carrying their more hammered girlfriends? Check. Groups of people flailing to kick a paper cup down the street?…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 1:22 PM

SXSW: Those bike cabs

I’ve eyeballed those for five years, finally took one last night for the first time. Could not walk from La Zona to Stubbs and back….. one…. more ….time. Dude charged me 10 bucks to go about 10 blocks. Outrageous? I…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 12:57 PM

SXSW: One-liner of the night

“We have free CDs. That’s a four-letter word that begins with an “F.” – Jason Seed of the Jason Seed Elixer Ensemble, working clean at the Elephant Room….

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 12:51 PM

SXSW: Wanna get away?

The Elephant Room is the perfect spot to get away from the frenetic insanity of Sixth Street – for a more relaxed kind of insanity. The Jason Seed Elixer Ensemble, from Milwaukee, and Houston’s Drop Trio filled the basement…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 12:42 PM

SXSW: Art-damaged Russians

The Russian band Aukyton (The k is silent) turned Caribbean Lights into an art rock cabaret Thursday night. Blaring soprano sax, crazy rhythms, and general wackiness were the order of the evening as hulking frontman Oleg Garkusha vibrated every…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 12:22 PM

SXSW: What, you can’t walk?

Now the real question: What’s Crayton doing taking a bike taxi? Speaking of which, those guys were doing some wicked donuts on Sixth Street last night. Crazy bike cabbies….

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 12:16 PM

SXSW:Make it count

At least two of the acts on Thursday night’s “All Music is World Music” showcase at Caribbean Lights had the most important shows of their lives. And both came through in a big way. As posted yesterday, 127 journeyed…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 11:37 AM

SXSW: Ah, the beauty of a good band name

A SXSW conversation, starring yours truly and a bike taxi driver: Driver: Who you going to see? Me: The Brazilian Girls. Driver: Are they hot? Me: Well, there’s only one girl. But yes. Driver: Are they from Brazil? Me: No….

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 10:58 AM

SXSW: Ole, ole ole ole!

Technical snafus delayed the start of the Brazilian Girls’ set until after 1:30 a.m., but plenty of diehards stuck around to see the up-and-coming New York band. Its key asset was singer Sabina Sciubba, the group’s only female, who shimmied…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 10:55 AM

SXSW: Blame Canada

Montreal has produced two big indie-rock success stories lately in the Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. Who’s next? A big crowd got a glimpse Thursday at Emo’s IV, where two bands represented French Canada. The trio We Are Wolves played…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 10:54 AM

SXSW: New York state of mind

New York’s hip-hop scene has been slow to embrace its Southern cousin, preferring to remember the days when its own rappers ruled the charts. But Texas performers have found an ally in Oxy Cottontail, a DJ who has helped organize…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 10:52 AM

SXSW: Happy accidents

Put hyper Dallas pop band the Happy Bullets on a tiny stage, and someone’s bound to get hurt. There were no serious injuries during the six-piece group’s fun performance Thursday night at Lava Lounge, but things did get knocked…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 10:33 AM

SXSW: Tee ’em up

Two of the best ironic T-shirts spotted thus far in the sea of hipsters wandering Sixth Street: 1) “Industry people are shady.” 2) Tatyana Ali concert tour souvenir tee…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 3:07 AM

SXSW: I’m goin’ back to Dallas

Austin’s best rapper (and former Dallas Morning News intern) Bavu Blakes confirms he’s moving back to his original stomping grounds in Dallas. Matter of fact, he’s moving up in a week. But don’t be sad, A-Town. “I’ll still be around…

Posted in Over The Top on March 17, 2006 3:00 AM

SXSW: Tucking it in

Big Tuck, the Dallas rapper whose group DSR signed a major deal with Universal last year, is ready to shine. But it’ll take a little longer than expected. His solo record, the first of several expected from the DSR camp,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 7:10 PM

SXSW: Trey bueno

To put it simply, listening to Dallas band Sorta’s music is easy, and watching them play it is fun, especially on a warm afternoon after a long, long night. The band played the Mike Galaxy day party Thursday at…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 4:37 PM

SXSW: Long way from home

Just hung out the Iranian band 127 at their festival host’s house in Travis Heights. You could say they’re happy to be here. They flew from Tehran to Damascus to secure their visas, then on to Istanbul, then New…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 4:32 PM

SXSW: 2 Good 2 B True

After Midlake’s Wednesday Fox & Hound set, we waited and waited to find out who the second special guest of the night would be (the first was the Flaming Lips). Just when the crowd started cheering for something, anything to…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 4:31 PM

SXSW – Flaming secret

If you want to know who some of the “special guests” on the South By Southwest schedule are, it helps to sign up for the conference’s texting service. A message went out about 10 minutes before The Flaming Lips…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 1:26 PM

SXSW Keynote: Neil and the muse

Critics and fans like to talk and write about what their favorite songwriters do. The songwriters make like Nike and just do it. Neil Young’s standing room only keynote presentation Thursday morning was peppered with insights into his songwriting…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 12:07 PM

Kinky Matters

Dallas’ Deathray Davies aren’t holding their breath to meet their namesake, Ray Davies of the Kinks. Both are playing SXSW this week, but when their paths crossed in Austin in 2001, Mr. Davies declined to see the Deathray Davies…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 11:41 AM

A Flaming Encounter

Odd elevator ride du jour: Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne at the Hyatt Hotel, trying to convince two befuddled SXSW-goers that yes, he really did paint that freaky artwork on the canvas bags they were carrying….

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 11:40 AM

South By What?

“Are you having a good Austin whatcha-ma-callit?” Beth Orton asked Wednesday night at Antone’s – and she had a good reason for blanking on the name of the festival. Her last show at SXSW in 1999 was so forgettable…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 11:38 AM

SXSW: Mope rock

The Castanets don’t sound like they’re from sunny San Diego. Their restrained, somber tones, combined with lead singer Raymond Raposa’s ghoulish bleat of a voice, make them sound as if they came from under a rock in a swamp…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:50 AM

SXSW: I smell something

During Midlake’s high-profile set last night at outdoor venue Fox and Hound, we caught the pungent aroma of … well, you know. Never realizing before that Midlake was a stoner’s kind of band (makes sense, though, when we think…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:47 AM

SXSW: Nodding heads

Spotted at the Texas rap set Wednesday night at the Back Room: rappers Raekwon and Talib Kweli….

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:46 AM

SXSW: That’s Mr. Blakes to you

The Austin rapper formerly known as Bavu Blakes (and formerly of Dallas) is now using a courtesy title. The well-respected musician with the vocabulary of an English professor performed a song Wednesday night that explained the name change, more…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:41 AM

SXSW: My mug won’t help ya

We met a stranger with a strange request last night while waiting in front of Spiro’s for a set to begin. He walked up and asked, “Can I take a picture of you holding my sticker?” “Um, sure,” we…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:38 AM

SXSW: Rhyme schemes

A couple of the best lines from witty Houston rapper K-Rino’s set Wednesday night: “My promotion so strong I got posters and [expletive] on the moon!” “They call me Period ’cause I come visit your girlfriend once a month.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 10:37 AM

SXSW: The grass is always greener

SXSW is the ultimate short attention span festival. Sure, you can park it in one place all night and check out five hours of continuous music. But you always suspect there’s something better right up the street, and fickleness…

Posted in Over The Top on March 16, 2006 12:16 AM

SXSW: Don’t worry, it gets better

Fire-breathing New York rapper Jean Grae is playing multiple shows here this weekend. So when a fan down front at her Zona Rosa show badgered her about her set’s song selection Wednesday night, she told him to come back…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 11:49 PM

SXSW: Yes, but can she sing?

Some ideas are pretty simple. Here’s one: Take a Nordic beauty, put her in a black tank top, and have her dance around to some ridiculously infectious beats. That was the Norwegian pop star Annie Wednesday night at Eternal….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 11:39 PM

SXSW: Nice kicks

Most of the guys in Noahlewis’ Mahlon Taits wear lowtop Converse with their fancy tuxes. One of them plays the saw and a little toy called a pocket sax. The two leading ladies play accordian, violin, and flute. Hailing…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 11:18 PM

SXSW: Swedish goofballs

Swedish band The Ark plays ’80s hair metal-inspired rock, complete with a sneering, effeminate frontman named Ola Salo (which is, incidentally, a palindrome). Mr. Salo was a total ham, strutting around stage, tearing off his shirt and totally basking in…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 7:36 PM

SXSW

The Alarm front man Mike Peters had an unusual pre-SXSW pit stop on Wednesday: UT-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he consulted with doctors about Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The singer was diagnosed with the disease last year, and he’s traveling…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 5:22 PM

SXSW: Clerk calves

At the film blog panel the other day, David Poland of Movie City News reported that Kevin Smith has the largest calves in the world. No word, however, on his full-grown cows….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 4:59 PM

SXSW: No way to treat a Lady

One of the buzziest artists at this year’s fest is Lady Sovereign, the hot young English rapper being groomed for stateside startdom by Jay-Z. But according to one British rap industry player, many in the UK are perplexed by…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 4:28 PM

SXSW: Get your grub on

Across the street from the Convention Center is Brush Square Park, otherwise known as Barbecue Central. This is the site of daily afternoon parties featuring bands from one country after another. Wednesday’s menu: Canada, featuring our friends from up…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 4:21 PM

SXSW: If music be the food of life…

The Austin Convention Center is crawling with hipster industry types jamming away on their Blackberries. Just a few blocks away is Caritas, a soup kitchen where the homeless are getting a little music to go with their meals during…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 4:03 PM

SXSW: Rejected

Just got denied trying to enter my first SXSW day party. Lots of labels and magazines and such organize these parties to give bands another chance to get attention, but some of them are exclusive and you have to RSVP….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 3:29 PM

SXSW: Rollin down MLK

Irving rapper Steve Austin had a tough time slot, playing early in the afternoon in a small stage at the cafe in the Convention Center, with no beer in sight. Still, the crowd seemed to like his energy, especially when…

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 1:40 PM

SXSW: Tell your children not to hear my words

Sleater-Kinney capped of its set at a Tuesday night party with a faithful, straight-faced cover of the Danzig rock anthem “Mother,” causing my head to explode….

Posted in Over The Top on March 15, 2006 12:58 AM

SXSW: Just another documentary filmmaker

Which of these names from Tuesday’s music documentary panel sticks out: Zach Niles. Margaret Brown. Steven Cantor. Charlize Theron. Yes, the Oscar-winning actress has a doc here. She produced East of Havana, about Cuban rappers struggling to get their…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 5:24 PM

SXSW: Sex By Southwest

When video games were for kids, sex wasn’t much of an issue. But now that the audience for video games is overwhelmingly adult, it’s everywhere. At a panel with the scandalous title “Secret Sex Lives of Video Games,” experts from…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 4:23 PM

SXSW re: rockin out

Here’s my photographic evidence of my post from yesterday…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 3:16 PM

SXSW: Scrambled

Burnie Burns, the man behind Red vs. Blue, on the all-powerful Google: Google does everything. I can’t figure out what their mission statement is as a company. It’s like, “Let’s not make eggs. Let’s make everything else except for eggs.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 2:42 PM

SXSW: Herbal tea?

Tommy Chong was just at the Starbucks on Sixth and Congress, enjoying a grande tea. “He was real quiet,” reports the barrista. “He left kind of a mess though.” He’s here with the doc a/k/a Tommy Chong. Wonder if…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 12:34 PM

SXSW: Hopped up

One-liner of the night, from a film industry publicist, referring to the ubiquitous beverage served at SXSW parties: “Red Bull is like the legal form of cocaine.”…

Posted in Over The Top on March 14, 2006 12:56 AM

SXSW: Burning down the house

A SXSW cellphone conversation, starring yours truly and film critic Chris Vognar. Me: I think I’m going to head over to Brush Square Park. I hear they’ve got Nuclear Tacos. Vognar: Oh, is that a band? Me: Uh, no, I…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 8:47 PM

SXSW: RIP, Garrett Scott

Just came from an inormal and very classy memorial gathering for Garrett Scott at the Driskill Hotel bar. Garrett co-directed Occupation: Dreamland, the best doc to come out of the Iraq war, with Ian Olds. Good filmmaker, good dude…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 7:26 PM

Who brought the mustard?

Some promo guy from the farmhouse horror movie Behind the Mask just brought a huge cooler full of sausage into the press suite. It’s the subject of much laughter. In the interest of journalistic veracity, I had to try…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 4:14 PM

SXSW: Blogging on blogging

How’s this for meta: A blog posting about blog postings. But they might not be called blogs for long. At Monday’s “Blogging on film” panel, both David Poland of Movie City News and Cynthia Greening of Cinema Minima suggested…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 4:01 PM

SXSW: How thoughtful

Craigslist is chockfull of ads from people willing to rent out their homes to those coming in for the week. The prices range from about $30 a night for a room up to $5,000 for a house for the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 1:26 PM

SXSW:The divine Ms. B (and Mr. M.)

What is this Sopranos? And when did we get so many opera fans? As mentioned yesterday, Big D’s Erykah Badu was the sound bite star of the keep-it-real music industry doc Before The Music Dies, which premiered Sunday at…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 12:47 PM

SXSW: Rock Gods

Last night was the world premiere of Air Guitar Nation, the documentary that follows competitors as they seek to become the best air guitar player in the world. It’s something that everyone has done behind closed doors, but rarely…

Posted in Over The Top on March 13, 2006 10:49 AM

SXSW: Music in motion

Also at Headhunters, I met Taylor McKnight, founder of Podbop, a site that lists upcoming concerts in various cities and offers the bands’ songs for download. It’s still pretty barebones, but it’s not a bad idea. Mr. McKnight, like…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 11:20 PM

SXSW: Road rage

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, held court (as much as a shy, introverted guy can hold court) at BlogAds’ party at Headhunters Sunday night. Really nice guy, but not about to give up any secrets. The former IBM…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 11:13 PM

SXSW: It ain’t dead yet

Just saw Before the Music Dies, the doc about why corporate radio is evil and real musicians don’t sell out. It has some great interviews, including a nonstop barrage of humor and insight from Erykah Badu, and its heart…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 8:52 PM

Pasta props

God bless the Giant Spaghetti Monster (yes, I realize the theological contradictions in that statement). I knew those geeks were OK….

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 8:48 PM

SXSW: Higher power

At Sunday night’s SXSW Web Awards, a representative of Fluid Inc. thanked the Flying Spaghetti Monster for blessing the company with its award for Timberland’s Build Your Own Boot site. Geeks really love the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Dallas’ only…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 8:35 PM

SXSW: On the Bubble

The Wagner/Cuban team disclosed some interesting data on Bubble, its much-heralded first attempt to nearly simultaneously release a movie in theaters, on TV and on DVD. The Steven Soderbergh film, released in January, has grossed about $250,000 at the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 5:59 PM

SXSW: Brother can you spare a theater?

If an evil mastermind wanted to destroy what is now called Wagner/Cuban Companies, he need only have hit the “Landmark Business” panel Sunday afternoon. Representatives from all sides of the vertical arrangement – Landmark, Magnolia, HDNet Movies, 2929 -…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 3:27 PM

SXSW: Blogging for dollars

Got a popular blog? Thinking about going pro? Listen to the warnings of Jason Kottke and Heather B. Armstrong, two of the country’s most popular bloggers….

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 3:24 PM

SXSW: Lowering the Black Flag

Henry Rollins, silver-haired and silver-tongued poet, musician and host of his own show on IFC, on why he doesn’t do many rock concerts anymore: I have the same passion for music. It’s just that music doesn’t have the same…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 2:27 PM

SXSW: Still Not Yet Rated

Among the revelers at the Rat Fink party was Kirby Dick, director of the buzzy doc This Film is Not Yet Rated. The film, which takes on (and outs members of) the highly secretive MPAA ratings board, should be…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 2:16 PM

SXSW: But after all, we are pretty cool

The aforementioned tragically hip fiesta at Factory People (wanna buy some $260 jeans?) was even more fascinating in light of the action a few doors down at the venerable Continental Club. This is where festival attendees were throwing down…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 1:42 PM

SXSW: Too Cool for School

The big scene on Saturday night was the party for the Dallas-made TV Junkie at the Factory People clothing store on South Congress. The crowd was primarily made up of 20 somethings so hip that it probably made their…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 10:47 AM

SXSW: Frankly Al II

Al Franken: God Spoke follows Mr. Franken as he works to get the liberal radio network Air America off the ground and sees him through his coverage of the 2004 election (obviously an unhappy ending for him.) The film…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 10:38 AM

SXSW: Frankly Al

The big movie at the Paramount Saturday night was the world premiere of Al Franken: God Spoke, and Austin’s liberal cinephiles turned out in droves. Forty minutes before the feature, the line of badge holders spread down a city…

Posted in Over The Top on March 12, 2006 10:30 AM

The boredom of crowds

James Surowiecki is a fantastic financial columnist, always taking a surprising view that undermines the conventional wisdom. And his book The Wisdom of Crowds, a look at how groups of regular people can often make better decisions than individual…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 5:05 PM

SXSW re: Bart

I know — maybe Bart and Wagner can arm wrestle over it? Speaking of, one more funny observation from Bart: Someone in the crowd asked him if he thought there was an Oscar curse. Mr. Bart said there most…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 3:23 PM

SXSW: Re: Peter Bart

By the way, Stephen, Todd Wagner will get more than equal time to tell us all why day-and-date releases won’t ruin the movie industry. He heads up an entire panel of executives from the media empire he shares with…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 3:18 PM

SXSW re: Arrrr

Crayton — I saw that same pirate guy. I too was uninterested in what he was promoting, but I feel like we owe to everyone to find out. So I’m on the case…so long as he wanders into the…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 2:22 PM

Arrrrrrr

Things have been a little sleepy so far at the Interactive festival, but the speeches and panels are about to kick into high gear. Especially looking forward to a presentation today by New Yorker business writer James Surowiecki. Meantime,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 1:54 PM

SXSW: Peter Bart

Just got out of a panel discussion feauring Peter Bart, the head honcho at Variety. He’s a pretty interesting guy because of his perspective — before he came to Variety, he had a long career working in the movie…

Posted in Over The Top on March 11, 2006 12:50 PM

Today’s sound

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan , Ballad of the Broken Seas Press bio sez: like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood Hear them: Well, she’s at SXSW. No word on the pair of em. If you go here and click through,…

Posted in Over The Top on March 7, 2006 4:08 PM

More Altman

Philip, my favorite Altman film is probably Thieves Like Us. It’s not as famous or iconic as Bonnie and Clyde, but it’s a terrific Depression-era robber-on-the-run film. But I don’t think you can go wrong with any of his stuff…

Posted in Over The Top on March 5, 2006 6:45 PM

Today’s sound

Back to the SXSW bands this week. Band: ex-boyfriends, Dear John Press bio says: Drummer Cruso, on groupies, from the band’s web site: “For a band that has two gay guys in it, neither of us can catch a break….

Posted in Over The Top on February 27, 2006 3:49 PM

Today’s sound

You thought I forgot didn’t you? I’ve saved the best for last. Stephen Fretwell and his album Magpie round out a week of obsessing on British singers. Press bio says: his songs are “dripping an acidic world weariness that should…

Posted in Over The Top on February 24, 2006 4:30 PM

Today’s sound

As promised Sia Colour the Small One Press bio says: “A mesmerizing collection of heartfelt, deeply personal songs, the album captures Sia’s many sides – at once soulful, somber and playful.” Hear her: On the Soundtrack to Six Feet Under,…

Posted in Over The Top on February 20, 2006 3:51 PM

Today’s sound

With sxsw, and a raft of spring releases, on the way, there’s a ton of new music floating in every day. I’ll try –and hopefully, others will pitch in– to post one artist a day that you wouldn’t ordinarily get…

Posted in Over The Top on February 17, 2006 2:51 PM

Locals at SXSW

The official SXSW daily schedule is up on the fest’s Web site. Read on to see when and where the DFW bands are scheduled. Wednesday’s gonna be busy….

Posted in Over The Top on February 16, 2006 3:36 PM

sxsw

The (early version) South By Southwest daily schedule is posted. If you’re not going with a badge or a wristband – consider going just for the free Town Lake shows, inc. Spoon, Echo & the Bunnymen, Mr. Lif and a…

Posted in Over The Top on February 16, 2006 3:08 PM

Cat nap

Just when she’s gaining some momentum, Cat Power’s canceled her tour, which was to end w/a performance at SXSW. Unspecified health problems are the reason, says Billboard. Her new album, The Greatest, was her highest selling to date…

Posted in Over The Top on February 7, 2006 10:48 AM

sxsw film

This just in: The South by Southwest film lineup is loaded (and I’m not saying that out of any sense of regional obligation). Lots and lots of Sundance faves, including the Beasties doc Awesome: I [Expletive] Shot That! (hopefully folks…

Posted in Over The Top on February 6, 2006 3:36 PM

…And you will know them by the goofy band names

The SXSW music festival updated this year’s roster on Sunday, with 1,100 bands ready to rock at the industry showcase. Which means it’s time to answer the age-old question: what’s the funniest band name on the list? Here’s my faves…

Posted in Over The Top on January 30, 2006 5:14 PM