We began our day with some amazing crêpes from Café Crêpe. This native Texan delicacy gave us enough much-needed energy to make it to the College Buyers/College Radio Peer Meet Up in the convention center. There we had the opportunity to share ideas with college radio affiliates from around the country. I personally had the chance to meet the Student Union president of Syracuse University and Dakota Gartner. Mr. Gartner has worked to promote such events as the Vans Warped Tour and Rockstar Mayhem Festival. The discussion focused on how to increase the success of student-run concerts, and such ideas as effective methods of surveying the student population, imaginative ways to mix genres, and provide something fun for everyone in order to attract more attendees should prove to be helpful for future Wake Radio members!
After we said our goodbyes to our college radio peers, we found our way to “Satellite of Love (Terrestrial and Non-Terrestrial Radio).”
This intriguing panel, led by radio promoter Mike Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs & Associates Consulting, pitted broadcast radio against young competitors like SiriusXM, Spotify, and Pandora. Other panelists included DJ’s Mark Hamilton, from Portland, Oregon, and Jacent Jackson, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This panel soon became way more charged than we expected, with Mr. Hamilton and Jackson aggressively defending broadcast radio’s dominance in the music promotion industry (Mr. Hamilton even brought up a statistic claiming that 92% of Americans still listen to broadcast radio). To be honest, we hung out in the back to stay safe, but Pam, the bravest of the four of us, approached the fueled panelists during the Q&A session to ask about the decline in variety in today’s radio stations.
Pam and I then hiked to Butler Park on the south side of town where a large stage was set up for an evening of amazing performances.
(Pam, on her way to Butler Park, has found one of Gibson’s guitar sculptures, scattered throughout Austin!)
The venue at this park was a nice change in that instead of being crowded into a dark, loud bar that I’m sure health inspectors have forgotten about, we got to sit in an open field and enjoy the nice Texas spring weather (this event would be more comparable to a music festival than most of the showcases at SXSW).
Lady Bird Lake, next to Butler Park
Performances from this event included:
Young and Sick-Oh my, how our kids have grown! We saw these guys on Tuesday but here they are on the big stage. Their music features smooth, soulful vocals and trippy synth lines.
Washed Out-Ernest Greene, the king of chillwave, has a whole band now to aid in his quest to lower the world population’s blood pressure with slow tempo, psychedelic jams.
Foster the People-This indie pop group has a new album coming out!
I managed to sneak away from the Radioettes at this time to venture to Palm Door on Sixth to see The Front Bottoms– an energetic, acoustic pop-punk group (our very own Kory Riemensperger placed their latest album, Talon of the Hawk, as the number 1 album of 2013 in his best albums of the year entry of the Zine, so you know they’re awesome!).
After a brief snack at Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza I walked over to Central Presbyterian Church for the Pitchfork SXSW Showcase. This was one of the most interesting showcases, mostly due to its venue. There was not a drop of alcohol to be found, but the youth group still managed to make a killing selling snacks and water to fundraise their upcoming mission trip. Inside, journalists and sweaty, fatigued concertgoers sat side-by-side in pews to watch the performances from the altar. When one act finished, they would sometimes sit in the pews as well to see the next act. I missed the first two performers, but the wonderfully talented, breathtaking acts I did see were:
Hundred Waters-Featuring a combination of electronic and instrumental music, this group easily sets one in a trance with some slow, introspective tunes.
Mas Ysa-This time I’ve included a video of an actual performance because this guy has to be seen to be believed. A lone electronic musician capable of genius composition and a full, musical performance? In 2014?! My cheeks hurt from all the pinching I’ve been doing to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Forest Swords-Matthew Barnes is a trip-hop expert, and during the entire 40 minute set he and his accompanying bassist only stopped once. Their music features little to no discernible lyrics, but after listening to the latest album “Engravings,” I doubt you’ll even realize it.
Mark Kozelek-47-year old singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek’s latest album “Benji” (released under his project Sun Kil Moon) may be the saddest album I have ever heard, but is one everyone should listen to at least once. All its songs are based on real, intimate details of his life, including the deaths of family and friends, his relationship with his parents, and his thoughts on mortality. His music may not be appropriate for the next family barbeque, but is still an inspiring listen.
Real Estate-Finally, after sitting in my pew for four hours, I got to see the musical gods known as Real Estate (warning: I’m going to get slightly partial in this description). These gifts from Heaven have been playing chill, psychedelic surf rock since I was in high school, and they’re still cooler than Robert Downey Jr. and Jennifer Lawrence having a breakdance contest on an iceberg. After their show I had the chance to talk to members Martin Courtney IV, Matt Mondanile, and Alex Bleeker, and now I know why Twilight fans act the way they do. I would’ve gotten a picture with them, but my phone’s camera can only handle so much beauty in one picture.