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POV: SXSW Interactive Ends, SXSW Music Begins

05:01 PM Wednesday 3/13/13 |   |

Roving Pollstar contributing photographer John Davisson files another report from SXSW where he snapped photos of Billy Joe Shaver, the Richie Hawtin vs Deadmau5 faceoff, Ashley Monroe, The Joy Formidable and others.

Tuesday is the day that SXSW Music Festival begins and SXSW Interactive festival ends.  I usually straddle the two festivals looking for fun music to cover. Because it is about to get crazy busy for me, I sleep in and head out in the evening.

I begin with my traditional SXSW Music start, the BMI “Howdy Texas Party,” indoors at Stubb’s BBQ. I never got an invite and arrive a little late to the party because I need to get a credential for an interactive party (more on that later). The BMI people are always super nice to me and I make it in time for part of Billy Joe Shaver’s set. There is nothing better than some rowdy, honky-tonk, outlaw country to start a festival in Texas and Billy still comes out swingin.’ He probably scares some of the indie kids, but I find him perfect. Plus there are free margaritas and barbeque so it sure feels like SXSW.

  • Billy Joe Shaver

    Performing at the “Howdy Texas Party" at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q during SXSW in Austin, Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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Following Billy Joe Shaver’ set I catch some nice country music by Ashley Monroe at the Empire Control Room. I am unable to catch any of the other bands there because, well, I have other commitments and I can’t be in two places at once. This party is sponsored by MTV, VH1 and CMT, and is filmed so it may be on TV somewhere.

  • Ashley Monroe

    The Empire Control Room at SXSW in Austin Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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The Interactive Closing Party Presented by (mt) Media Temple is the big one for SXSW Interactive.  Featuring Richie Hawtin vs Deadmau5, I want to photograph it.  Since I have a music badge and want to photograph at Media Temple’s SXSWi Closing party (which is for Gold, Platinum, and Interactive badges only), I have to use my networking skills to gain access. Fortunately I know the publicist for the DJs and she totally comes through for me (thanks so much Alex). There is some confusion over which wristband gets photo access but it is eventually cleared up. I end up with 4 new wristbands in order to photograph at Stubb’s BBQ today.

  • DJ vs. DJ

    Richie Hawtin vs. Deadmau5, Interactive Closing Party Presented by (mt) Media Temple at Stubb's Bar-B-Q, SXSW in Austin, Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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At the Media Temple SXSWi Closing Party, I am able to catch Local Natives and The Joy Formidable before the headline set.  Local Natives is attractive indie music that has some of the vocal harmonizing like Grizzly Bear or Fleet Foxes but with more of a rock edge. They have good lighting and are fun to photograph.

  • Local Natives

    Interactive Closing Party Presented by (mt) Media Temple, Stubb's Bar-B-Q at SXSW, Austin, Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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  • The Joy Formidable

    The Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan at the Interactive Closing Party at Stubb's Bar-B-Q at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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I have no idea what to expect of Richie Hawtin vs Deadmau5. I’m wondering if there will be a big production as Deadmau5 used on his last tour. The answer is no. They set up their gear on two adjacent folding tables that are elevated on cinder blocks. There are some bright lights behind them that flash and swirl in time to the music. Two video cameras are also on stage and capture the action on the decks which is projected on two small screens behind the DJ’s. The music is very beat-heavy and sparse but interesting. They are not mixing the pop hits on stage. To me it sounds like a cross between modern EDM and Kraftwerk and it all flows as one long musical adventure rather than 5 minute slabs of EDM.

To finish my night, I photograph some scenes in downtown Austin. The owners of a company called Illuminode are strolling down Red River street in outfits that have lights blinking in patterns to promote their company. It makes for an interesting photo.

  • Illuminode Owners

    Strolling down Red River Street at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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On 6th Street, I come across a street musician named Charles Rangel (not a Congressman) playing for tips. He sits on his amp, cues up some backing music on his iPhone, and starts tapping on his guitar placed on his lap. He has business cards and I am able to find out more about him at ThedimeStoreNovelist.com. He's a finalist for Rolling Stone's Street to Stage competition. His playing is amazing and totally different and there was no shortage of tips in his jar. He may be one of the better paid musicians at SXSW. Online, I can see he has a different style with his band, but based on what I saw, he should go somewhere soon if he can get heard.

  • Charles Rangel

    Busking on 6th Street at SXSW in Austin. Texas.
    March 12, 2013

    (John Davisson)

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Click here for John's last SXSW report.


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