Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

SXSW day one (which is really a half day)

Hey, it's time for South By Southwest Bloggotron. I'll be reporting from Austin's mega music festival, as will Kyle Ryan, Marc Hawthorne, and Sean O'Neal. As always, we'll go light on the deep industry analysis and heavy on the actual user experience, offering you minute-by-minute highlights.


4:19pm: We are picked up at the airport in a complimentary Toyota Yaris shuttle. Yaris, along with several other companies, is all over SXSW 07, sponsoring hip showcases and a campaign called Free Yr Radio that partners with non-commercial radio across the country (and will bring live music to Urban Outfitters in April). Yes, it's weird, but they're helping the little guy. Go Yaris?

5:15pm: 75 minutes after touchdown at Austin's airport, and I'm seeing my first band of SX07. Midlake, whose Trials Of Van Occupanther was my favorite record of last year, is playing one of ten million day parties. These usually mean short sets, which is fine by me: 30 minutes of a hundred great bands is a great idea. I hadn't seen Midlake before, and had been led to believe (by an A.V. Club staffer no less!) that they were boring-ish live. But I loved it. Hit ("Roscoe") after hit ("Head Home") didn't hurt.

6:31pm: To the convention center to pick up badges, always a long line at this time. Chat with David Cross, who's also looking for his badge. Spot David Byrne, who's being pursued by fans.

7:15pm: First "private party"–sponsored by Yaris! Free coleslaw, lil' smokies, and Shiner Bock for Kyle.

8pm: The Pipettes, which I had been pronouncing "Pipe-ettes" take the stage at La Zona Rosa backed by kinda boring musicians who don't really do justice to their squeaky girl-group fun. They're still pretty great for about three songs, though. Just try not to think of them as indie-rock's answer to The Spice Girls.

9:15pm: Milwaukee's Call Me Lightning snarls through the Frenchkiss Records showcase, in a good way. This show will later fill up to mind-numbing capacity.

10:06pm: Beirut, the Eastern European-sounding mega-collective, proves a little bit boring from awfully far away.

11:30pm: We catch the last couple of minutes of Lily Allen's set from outside Stubb's, the giant outdoor barbecue restaurant/venue. We're not the only ones experiencing the show this way.

12:52am: First amazing surprise of SX07: At a venue that's not part of the official program (and is also "Austin's premier leather bar"), we witness the glorious electro-rap of Yo Majesty, three party ladies from Florida who–after some amazing anger at technical difficulties–whip about 50 people into a frenzy. Think ESG meets The Geto Boys. Or something. Beautiful.