SXSW Diary

We here at NBTMusic are extremly honoured to have Tokyo Rosenthal write about the great SXSW Festival for us:

 

Sometimes it’s easier to play the gig then to get to the gig. This was the situation as I tried to get to Austin for my first show at SXSW. I originally had booked a flight on Friday March 16th not yet knowing I was going to be asked to play the prestigious Music Fog live feed from the world famous music venue, Threadgills. So now I had a flite that arrived at 4pm and a 7pm gig at Threadgills. Could it be done. I had connecting flights so one little delay and the coveted showcase was out the window. Of course I tried to change the flight but change fees made it economically impossible.

 

I arrived at Raleigh airport to find my first flight was delayed 20 minute. Instead of thinking about my set list I was thinking of how I would explain to the Music Fog Execs why I wasn’t there to play. But rather then drag this out I’ll tell you all that I made it, played the show along with Charlie Chamberlain on mandolin, and the results were what I consider to be one of the best live videos I’ve ever done, especially the quality of the shoot. Oh, and the place was packed but listening intently.

 

The folks running Music Fog at Threadgills could not have been more cordial. That’s the case all over Austin during SXSW. It’s not some drunken spring break scene. Instead it’s thousand of dedicated music lovers moving peacefully and enthusiastically from venue to venue. Very few of the folks I ever meet actually are enrolled in the official event. there’s really no need for that. There’s quality and well known musicians everywhere you look, playing venue after venue with no admission charge.

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say again how well the Threadgills gig went. Full house, great sound, and exceptional video. And the room had all the ghosts of the past that have played there,Gram Parsons included. You could feel the vibes all over, and they were good ones. Here’s the link to the show we did:

http://www.livestream.com/musicfog/video?clipId=pla_9b2d191d-88e7-4359-adc5-ecfb26f6c66f

 

After sleeping in forever on Saturday morning and hitting Denny’s for breakfast I slowly made my way to South Ausitn to meet up with my friend from the UK, Mike Green. Mike had accompanied two young female singers from the Northwest of England who were going to make there U.S. debut at a singer/songwriter stage. It was a restaurant with an outdoor stage called Waterloo Ice House. Well these two enthusiastic young ladies reminded me what it’s all about.. Their enthusiasm was infectious and Mike beamed with pride as the girls, 16 and 19, performed with no fear, never knowing if they’d ever make it back to the States. But it didn’t matter, they had a story that would last a lifetime.

 

I had to rush back to change into “Tokyo” and play my show at The G&S Lounge that night. I was scheduled to play the Midnight show but wanted to get there at 9pm to catch Grant Peeple’s set, followed by a good player named Mike, and a young songwriter named John Fullbright. .

The place was packed and I enjoyed all of their shows. The only bummer was John’s show ran over and I didn’t play until about 12:20, losing half the house by the time I took the stage and eventually bumping Mare Wakefield from playing her 1AM show. This made me a little aggravated and took me half a set to calm down but we played it and ended the gig at about 1:10AM. After selling a few CDs I headed back to the hotel. Charlie, his wife, and mother in-law were staying outside of town so I found myself alone in the hotel with post gig energy which is always the case no matter how late you play. Your body is tired but your mind is wide awake. Fortunately my wife was wide awake as well back in Chapel Hill so we spoke for about an hour. Then the ultimate crash came and I was out, thinking about the following night’s show as the sandman entered.

 

Sunday morning came with me finding a way to post the Threadgill’s video and allow those that missed it to give it a view. Also the lumpy mattress was taking its toll on my back. Time for Ibuprofen!!! Breakfast again at Denny’s, they know me there now. Have my own booth, LOL. Came back and never left the room as I nursed my back. But I had to have the great Mexican food at Guerro’s so I hit there for a quick burrito before heading back over the G&S Lounge where I’ve been pegged to close the NOT SXSW marathon of music.

Charlie and I hit the stage at about 10:45pm and played a solid 45 minutes before saying “Goodnight Carrie I’m Coming Home”. I treated myself to a strawberry shake on the way back to the hotel and ready to head for home tomorrow afternoon. Charlie and I won’t play again together until I we go on the 3 week Northeast Tour in May. In the meantime I continue to promote and market my new single, “What Did I Used To Be?”, which got a response in Austin.

 

There you have it. Seeya in Austin next year or wherever I land in between.

Peace,

Toke

you can hear music from Tokyo’s latest Album and many of the bands that featured at this years festival spread all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

 

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
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stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

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The NBT Review 41

rev41

Here She Comes a Tumblin’ – BirdEatsBaby (Birdeatsbaby)

Once there was Cat-Scratch Glitter and wounded cabaret howls, charged shots of glowing liquid poured across lips of the harshest red. Everything shuddered, everything shivered, and the laughter was strange and sometimes cruel.

It was beautiful.

Now keeping those thrills, but adding extra dimensions, comes this collection.

Bravely, we are now not only shown the garish stage and the freaks, puppets, divas, exhibitionists, scary sexy monsters but… the quiet bedrooms, the rumpled beds where partners may or may not sleep, the view of empty streets from its lonely windows.

We are made curious about the sadness, the stillness that may go on BETWEEN these songs.

Make no mistake this is still a thrill ride, full of carnival hipsters hustling supreme, and frantic punters screaming along with the dangerous rides, but here, and there, and here again, not so hidden away, the girls and boys dare to show their tenderness, even their dreams, unfolded carefully and placed in our grubby hands.

On one page selling this CD they are described as emo, but please don’t be fooled, there is no soft boy rich kid pampered star angstNwhines here. The lipstick is smeared from the sheer exuberant kiss and the eyeliner stains are from tears arrived honestly from fits of giggles and tears that fought hard to escape the calm internal.

There are pop songs to be sung loud by party girls, alive and free holding tight to the simple expectation of a great night out, and there are lullabies of the crooked kind that soothe and push the soul into a welcome unease with extra measure.

There is magic here. Give it a listen to.

http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk/

Karkari –Mammut (Record Records)

I could tell you that Mammut sound like a frosty and refreshing mix of the best of those American 4AD groups (Belly and Throwing Muses) a bit of Bjork, a spoonful of Sonic Youth twisted into the pop sensibilities that Catatonia got so right. I could tell you that the band has had (already)  three number one hits in their native Iceland and managed to cause a stir at the SXSW festival. I could leave it at that, and move on, pretty happy that you curious gentle reader, will go seek out the band and their music. Or you could think I am spitting out (politely of course) a bunch of facts and you will remain sadly disenthralled.

I shall instead shake the songs up in a virtual hat of the finest cloth, and let them hit the senses, and report what occurs.

I am reminded of old toys, cherished by teenagers in smiling nostalgia for their innocent child hood, toys that are still picked up and loved and kept in view as new makeup is applied and new adventures of the heart dreamt about. These plaything have an endearing roughness to them, all is not shiny shiny and plastic disposable.

I think of glam rock bands strutting their stuff on small Televisions in untidy sitting rooms early Friday evenings, the smell of dinner overpowered by the sweeter smell of the night (clubs) ahead.

Some songs make me think of mosh pits and bodies and beer bottles disengaging themselves from sweaty hands and crashing kamikaze to the pavement to join the wrecks of their fellow soldiers. Some songs make me think of almost empty studios, musicians huddled in the centre of a landscape of once twisting now still cables and wires and leads.

Some songs make me close my eyes and fall back, not thinking of the getting UP. Some songs make me want to grin and cook and dance and shop.

See what they do for you

http://www.myspace.com/mammut

 

Catch both bands on this NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=526901

With much more to come.