As the second day of South by Southwest Music spilled into anticipated night events, buses began to fill with festgoers heading downtown, cars circled the Austin Convention Center trying to find parking and pedestrians did their SXSW best to pack sidewalks, spilling onto streets.
Lines formed outside venues waiting to get into day parties, the Depeche Mode interview at the convention center, and evening SXSW showcases, including Nick Cave at Stubb’s.
At the Paramount Theatre, Foo Fighter founder and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl walked the red carpet as the director of “Sound City,” a documentary about the famous Los Angeles-area record studio and Grohl’s purchase of the soundboard from that studio. The documentary brings together past Sound City studio artists John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, and Grohl bandmates from Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Many of them were there Wednesday night to walk the red carpet.
In one case where two SXSW fests come together, Grohl will give the music keynote speech Thursday at 11 a.m. and his Sound City players will play at 8 p.m. Thursday at Stubb’s. Stevie Nicks will be part of a SXSW Interview at 5 p.m. Thursday. Her movie “In Your Dreams” about recording her new album will premiere at 2:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.
Wednesday night Austin musicians including Britt Daniel, Alejandro Escovedo, Adrian Quesada and the horn section of Grupo Fantasma remembered SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke as part of the Austin Music Awards. Austin blues superstar Gary Clark Jr., whose 2012 album “Black and Blu” was one of last year’s most critically received, won eight Austin Music Awards: Band of the Year, Musician of the Year, Song of the Year (for “Ain’t Messing Around”), Album of the Year, Male Vocalist, Electric Guitarist, Songwriter and Blues/Soul/Funk act. Clark was expected to play an unannounced set during the awards at the Austin Music Hall. Brownout, Ben Kweller, the Trishas and Bill Carter and the Blame were also expected to hit the stage.
Earlier in the day, My Morning Jacket frontman, Jim James talked with VH1’s Bill Flanagan at the Austin Convention Center. They touched on everything from the Internet to songwriting to the debate about analog vs. digital and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. James released his solo “Regions of Light and Sound of God” last month.
My Morning Jacket started just before smartphones and the Internet became such a thing, and he thinks all that information hurts musicians. He said there are great musicians in every town in the world not getting heard above the din.
He used to be hard-core analog and now he thinks the debate doesn’t matter. A good song created on Garage Band is a good song, and a bad song recorded in analog is still a bad song. In fact, he’s a longtime tech nerd who loves recording equipment.
He told musicians, specifically: “If you don’t know technology (in the recording studio), then you’re cutting yourself out of a lot of power.”
SXSW Music continues through Sunday. Film ends Saturday.
Find recaps and photos from Wednesday night’s shows, austin360.com