SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke looks a little less bleary-eyed than years past, and there's a good reason for that. He's staying in the Hilton just across from the Convention Center. "It's given me at least 20 minutes more sleep a day," he says. "That's extra valuable." Grulke said he figured this year's conference attendance was up 30% over last year, and even high-profile SXSW shows like the B-52's, Joan Jett, and Little Richard have been accessible to badge- and wristband-wearers alike. He said Scots Franz Ferdinand delivered on all the hype at their sold-out showcase Thursday night. "It's hard to live up to those kinds of expectations, but they were a relatively rare exception," he noted. Grulke seemed to be most excited by a vintage Houston Astros cap a friend gave him, which probably explains why he headed back into the Convention Center chanting, "It's almost baseball season ... it's almost baseball season."
Speaking of Little Richard, we haven't had an earthquake here in like, maybe, ever, but Austin continues feeling the seismic effects of having Mr. Penniman in town. Check this guest list at Thursday's Austin Music Hall BMI shindig: Johnny Knoxville, Joe Perry (arriving via tour bus), the Hives, Austin's ...Trail of Dead, and El Tri. "I can't tell you how many bands got walked through the back door," relays BMI's Hannah Pantle, who recommends Little Richard-spotters keep a close eye on area Denny's, as His Highness' limo has already been spotted there twice.
Where might Terry Lickona have just come from? Why, a TV panel, of course. "It seems like I do a TV panel every year, but that's how I get my free badge," laughed the longtime Austin City Limits producer. He too was raving about Little Richard: "He told the crowd to shut up at least 101 times." Lickona said he'd love to have legends like Richard and Al Green on the show, but made the universal sign for "many, many dollars." His SXSW 04 discoveries included young pianist Jamie Cullum's mastery of both Gershwin and Hendrix, and Australian teen guitarist Jedd Hughes. ACL's first 2004 taping will be Joss Stone, with Robert Randolph, Rufus Wainwright, and maybe Norah Jones and the White Stripes to follow. Not that it has anything to do with his show or anything, but Lickona also mentioned Etta James at UT's Hogg Auditorium April 29.
SXSW Panels coordinator Andy Flynn offered a summation of Convention Center goings-on thus far: Former Columbia President Walter Yetnikoff's interview was "entertaining," although he hates Paul Simon; the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" panel with Jon Langford and Tim Delaughter of Polyphonic Spree was "fun"; and at the touring panel, Ticketmaster's David Goldberg defended himself "ably" under heavy cross-examination. "It was livelier than I expected," Flynn mused.
Top of the headlines is of course Ozomatli "Free Ozo 3" shirts are now available all over town. Tonight's show at Stubb's, where their "special guest" status is as well kept a secret as Blur's last year, is reported to be their last in Austin, ever. A video of Wednesday's incident, shot by a crew from Los Angeles station LATV, should be on every major media outlet from CNN on down by now. APD is longing for the good old days of Mardi Gras.
Local television personalities Olga Campos (KVUE), R.J. Da Silva (KXAN), and Diane Quest (KTBC) rocking out to the Real Heroes at the Texas Music Magazine party, Hard Rock Cafe
Raveonette Sune Rose Wagner at the Scottish Invasion afterhours bash featuring a lucky seven kegs early Friday at the Vortex theatre on Manor Road
Larry Sanders himself, Garry Shandling, asking the Four Seasons concierge for a map
"You're not supposed to stop clapping that soon, are you?" Howlin' Pelle Almqvist of Spin party headliner the Hives Friday afternoon
Lung Shack: "Someone's cigarette smoke is blowing on me." SXSW 04 Dangerous Diva award-winner Kate Pierson, as the B-52's soundchecked at Stubb's Thursday Stephen Bruton and Kris Kristofferson duetting on "Me & Bobby McGee," and Willie Nelson with Toots Hibbert on "Still Is Still Moving to Me," at KGSR's Four Seasons breakfast convocation. When a DJ asked him what he wanted to do next, Kristofferson replied, "I want to go back up to my hotel room and get some sleep."
SXSW Photo Quiz
These people are:
A) Opening for David Bowie at the Backyard next month
B) Getting directions to the nearest Branch Davidian compound
C) Just now finding out SXSW doesn't stand for "Souls by Saved West"
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Jeff Klein, local indie singer-songwriter
"Yeah, Yeah. For the first time actually."
, the Real Heroes
"Sure, and I'm only halfway through. But I'll be happy when it's done."
Johnny Goudie, Endochine
"I've had so much fun I could die tomorrow and be happy."
"Yes. Finally. For the first time I don't give a shit if we get signed or not. I just wanna rock."
Paul Minor, Superego
"I'll be having fun as soon as I stop wandering around aimlessly."
John Constant, God Drives a Galaxy
"As of my third beer, I'm starting to have fun. Before that was all recovery time."