SXSW DAY TWO: ICONS OLD AND OLDER

SXSW DAY TWO: ICONS OLD AND OLDER

It's day two of SXSW Music, and it's kinda muggy. There are still people everywhere, including tons of dudes with facial hair, oversized sunglasses, and white cargo vans. Rock and roll is in the air, and you can sorta smell it.

8:30 a.m.: In some kind of monumentally optimistic stupor, I consider waking up for the Lollapalooza press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, which promises an appearance by Perry Farrell (yawn), plus free breakfast tacos and mimosas (intriguing). More importantly, the press conference promises to reveal the newly expanded lineup, but that information is available without showing up in person. In short: It looks fun, though not surprising. No big rumored reunions, just solid stuff: Kanye, Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, Broken Social Scene, The Shins, The Flaming Lips… Lots and lots more. Grant Park, Chicago, Aug. 4-6. Be there, even if it's 104 degrees, like last year.

Speaking of The Flaming Lips, they played a "secret" show at SXSW on Wednesday. I didn't go, but that's exactly the kind of thing that makes Austin in March so exciting and fun. Thursday's "secret" show? Beastie Boys. Kyle will tell you about that. Back to this morning.

10:30 a.m.: SXSW managing director Roland Swenson gives a heartfelt introduction to an appearance by Neil Young and film director Jonathan Demme, noting that the festival had tried in the past to get Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan as keynote speakers, but never Young–he seemed out of reach. Anyway, as on his recent Daily Show appearance, Young was totally normal and chill, which actually seemed a little strange. He spoke about songwriting, the concert film he made with Demme, etc. It wasn't terribly enlightening, but well worth some morning time.

12:05 p.m.: Former Factory Records honcho (and inspiration for the film 24 Hour Party People Anthony Wilson is around. But there's a bigger Manchester man to watch for as…

12:10 p.m.: The line forms for a live interview with Morrissey, a guy who absolutely never does this type of thing. (Getting him, somebody should've noted, is at least as big a coup as getting Neil Young.) He's late, but eventually…

1:35 p.m.: Morrissey and Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke take the stage of the large, packed conference room. They both look nervous–Morrissey slightly embarrassed, Fricke actually kinda shaking. Morrissey has to be one of the toughest interview subjects; he's coy and evasive and tends to bounce questions back. But Fricke handled himself well, covering topics interesting (The Smiths, Morrissey's recent questioning by the FBI) and not terribly interesting (a shared love of '60s pop). Morrissey had some clever moments, naturally: Addressing his long-ago claims of celibacy, he said, "Everybody has dry spells." Asked about the urge to make music, he spoke of "looking for that moment when the hair on our teeth stands on end." Most amazing note: Fricke asked about the biggest offer The Smiths ever received to reunite, and Morrissey claimed that this year's Coachella offered the group $5 million. When the audience gasped, he said something to the effect of, "Is that a lot?" (And for the record, he never considered accepting the offer.) (And on a side note, HEY MORRISSEY! YOU SHOULD DO AN INTERVIEW WITH THE A.V. CLUB, DAWG! WE KNOW YOU'RE SHY -- WE CAN WORK AROUND IT!)

4:30 p.m.: Ted Leo and his merry band of Pharmacists at Parish, at a party sponsored by one of my favorite music-related blogs, stereogum.com. I don't entirely get the fuss about Ted Leo, though I really like his music. I just rarely sit down and listen to it. New album on Touch & Go soon…

5:10 p.m.: Elefant, the New York band that sounds British, closes out a Filter-sponsored party. They're giving away Puma track jackets with "Elefant" emblazoned on the back. The sound is boomy and weird, since it's in a big stone courtyard covered by a tent. But Elefant are still good, even though the singer doesn't wear his scarf. It's probably too humid for that.

7:00 p.m.: On the way to dinner with some fine folks from Sub Pop, I pass Stubb's, the BBQ joint/venue where the Beastie Boys are "secretly" about to play. Nobody here's apparently very good at keeping a secret, because there are eight bajillion people waiting outside. On the other hand, I still haven't heard who's playing the Spin party, which is usually a pretty major happening at SXSW. Also spotted: Former Troubled Hubble singer Chris Otepka, who's now performing solo as The Heligoats.

8:15 p.m.: The BBC Radio 2 showcase. All Brits. Semi-celeb spotting: Billy Bragg, watching from the audience. Richard Hawley, session man and touring guitarist for Pulp, is monumentally boring. Really, truly. The people are here to see Morrissey, who's only doing three dates in America in advance of a new album, Ringleader Of The Tormentors. He shows up at…

9:15 p.m.: And people go nuts, of course. And he's very good, of course, because he's the sort of born entertainer/artiste that most bands here wish they could be, or at least be near. No, his later solo stuff isn't as good as The Smiths, but it's still pretty damn good. And for the old school, he even busts out "Girlfriend In A Coma," "How Soon Is Now," and, best of all, "Still Ill." Up next, according to the guide, is a "Special Guest." This is usually a good sign, so we stick around until…

11:30 p.m.: When the next scheduled band, Goldfrapp, takes the stage, with no mention of this mystery band that everyone has been buzzing about. "Who will it be?" some old guy asked me. "I don't know!" I answered. It was nobody. Not Duran Duran or Arctic Monkeys. Oh well.

And that's Day Two for me, or at least the stuff I didn't forget already. Tomorrow looks to be even more exciting than today, so it might be bedtime. (It's 1:10 a.m. now.) On the other hand, The Rakes are onstage just two blocks away, as well as some band called Levy that's supposed to be good… Hmmm

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