Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SXSW 2009, Day 9

After another night of a past-4am bedtime, I slept in again.

First thing, veering back to the Film Festival part of SXSW, we started with a movie at the Paramount -- a 20th anniversary print of "For All Mankind" which documented the Apollo moon landings with 100% NASA footage from all the missions and dialogue from the original film, no narration. It's pretty amazing stuff.
The director was there along with Gene Kranz, Apollo Flight Director. (The "Failure is not an option" guy played by Ed Harris in "Apollo 13"). They took several questions after the film. Mr Kranz is a man with a clear and commanding presence, no question.

After the film we went to Brush Square Park by the convention center again, for a couple free cocktails. I got a free Tito's Handmade Vodka tshirt that I thought looked pretty nice, but I lost it somewhere within an hour or so. Maybe at the cafe in the Hilton across the street, where we went to get a capuccino, while listening to whatever musician that was playing in the lobby there (some singer from New Zealand). You just cannot get away from live music. People are playing everywhere you turn, in lobbies, on the street, everywhere.

At 4:30, M went to see another movie while I went to the Bat Bar to see Echo and the Bunnymen again, at 5pm. This was the shorter live DirectTV set, 10 songs total. They were probably my #1 favorite band back in 84-85 or so, so I was happy to see them a second time.

M and I met back up for dinner at PF Changs, where we at at the bar area so that we could see a little of the NCAA basketball that was on. After dinner, we headed up to Esther's Follies for some of the comedy acts. It was a nice change of pace, and we were able to sit down too. If the schedule was accurate, the comedians I saw were Matt Bearden, Scott Aukerman, and Martha Kelly. But I wanted to see PJ Harvey, so I left for Stubbs BBQ while M stayed at Esther's.

Seeing PJ Harvey was pretty cool. It's hard to describe what she was playing; it was a bit avant-garde and exclusively (or almost) a preview of her new upcoming album. But I left with perhaps 5-10 minutes before she was due to finish so that I could rejoin M at Esther's in time to catch Janeane Garofalo. I arrived in time to see the comedian before Janeane, Todd Barry. He was very funny, and did some SXSW-specific material. (e.g., some jokes around the pervasiveness: "SXSW just makes me hate music. Because. It. Just. Doesn't. Stop. No matter where I go, someone is there playing music." And his imitation of a member of Metallica looking at their tour schedule: "Hmmm...a coliseum, an arena.....wait a minute: a barbecue restaurant? That can't be right. Is this just where we'll be eating before we play? (etc)" Anyway, it was funny in person).
Janeane Garofalo was funny enough, but I wonder if it was just high crowd expectations. The guy before her was much funnier. The place was full, standing room only though.

To end the night, should I see Third Eye Blind or should I see Echo and the Bunnymen a third time? Well, given that EATB were one of my all-time faves, I decided it didn't matter that I'd seen them twice already. I'd see them again, in an even smaller club this time. The downside is that I think they'd let too many people in; it felt like we were really crammed in there. Still, I stayed, and it did get more comfortable after a few songs (since people come-and-go to see different shows, etc). They sounded terrific -- probably the best of their 3 sets. I really enjoyed it, and it was neat to see them in a small room, up close. A great way to end the festival, just past 2am on Saturday night (Sun am).
I don't own any of their four post-reunion albums from after they got back together (1997), but I think I may have to look into those.

Encore: Day 10
OK-- so I actually went back down to the convention center on Sunday. The guitar and record convention was still going on, and I hadn't really looked at it much, so I wanted to see what I could find there. There were an impressive number of guitars of all kinds and prices. The record convention part was a bit disappointing, though, unless you're an vinyl LP collector.
There happened to be one final panel going on, about Stevie Ray Vaughn. Tommy Shannon was there on a panel along with the author of a new bio on Stevie, so I listened to that. Also still going on was Flatstock, the poster art exhibit. Some of the stuff was pretty neat looking but I didn't feel compelled to buy anything. And thus ended SXSW 2009.

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