Apr 012011
 

Seven years after the Austin Metblog started, the Metroblogging network is shutting down. I was able to get the content that I created and import it into my own blog here so that it wouldn’t be lost. I haven’t been posting much here, so it’ll be a shot of content. If I remember correctly, it’s something like 500-600 posts.

If the site does go down completely, some of the images may be lost. I’m not sure that I’m motivated enough to go and fix that along with the internal links. I think I wrote some decent stuff over time, so I’m glad not to have lost it. Thanks to both Sean and Jason for starting it in the first place. I’ve met some pretty cool people through the site. I’m pretty sure that the original, Blogging LA, will continue on.

Oct 282010
 

As a part of my post on Sonic Youth’s Austin City Limits taping earlier this month, I mentioned speculation about who will be the final guest at the ACL’s current location in the Communication building on the UT campus.

Well, speculate no more, and though it was a good guess, Corcoran was wrong. Austin City Limits has just announced that the final taping will be November 8th and the guest will be Lyle Lovett.

From the release:

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS is the longest-running music series in American television history. More than 500 episodes featuring more than 800 performers have originated from the modest and unassuming Studio 6A since tapings began in 1974. The AUSTIN CITY LIMITS story is one of unparalleled passion for music, commitment to excellence, and perseverance against many odds. What began as a modest Texas music series has gone on to become the only television series ever to be awarded the prestigious National Medal of the Arts. And it has made so much history in one small room that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum declared that it was one of the few rock and roll landmarks worthy of official recognition, an honor that was bestowed upon the show in March 2010.

Lyle Lovett’s history with AUSTIN CITY LIMITS runs deep. When he first came to Studio 6A it was as an audience member, and he made his first appearance on the show as a backing singer for Nanci Griffith in 1985. Since then, he has come to know the stage well, appearing on the show no less than 12 times, making him one of the most frequent guests in the show’s history.
When it comes to presenting live music, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS embodies its motto of “Great Music. No Limits.” Accomplishing what no other show has done in the history of American television, the series has, for nearly four decades, presented audiences with the most diverse, original, cutting-edge talent music has to offer. Past performers have included Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, John Fogerty, Robert Plant, Neil Young, The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, R.E.M., Allen Toussaint, Arcade Fire, Patty Griffin, Spoon, Coldplay, Wilco, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips, The Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Cliff and many, many more.

The show’s next chapter continues in early 2011 with Season 37, originating from its new home at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. The new studio location will enable more fans to watch future live tapings and provide an enhanced experience for all future shows, while maintaining the intimacy, character and integrity that have been the hallmark of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS for more than three decades.

Since it’ll be pretty much impossible to get in to that taping, they’re offering a simulcast party at Hogg Auditorium as well. A new episode of Austin City Limits with Robert Earl Keen and Hayes Carll airs this Saturday at 7pm on KLRU (or you PBS affiliate).

Oct 082010
 

Season 36 of Austin City Limits kicked off this past Saturday with Jimmy Cliff. The festival that bears its name starts today so that means that there are several tapings this week. I got the chance to check out Sonic Youth last night. Monsters of Folk taped Wednesday night. Band of Horses will tape Saturday night. The National will tape on Monday and the Black Keys will wrap things up on Tuesday.

Sonic Youth is one of , if not THE, elder statesman of alternative/indie/punk rock. I’ve followed them since the late 80s around the time that Steve Shelley joined. I was a big fan of his from the Crucif**ks days. The band has actually been around for over 30 years,  According to a trivia contest on their site for the La Zona Rosa show Saturday night, their first show in Austin was 08.27.1985 with Scratch Acid opening. Their most recent album, The Eternal (“Antenna”, “Sacred Trickster”, and “No Way” are stand outs), was released last summer on Matador Records after choosing not to renew on their 16 year major label relationship with Geffen/DGC records. For those of you old enough to remember, Sonic Youth played a role in Nirvana signing with Geffen in the early 90s. The two bands were featured in a documentary on their 1991 European tour that I think is out-of-print now, 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It’s a great documentary if you can track down a copy.

Sonic Youth is one of those bands that I always meant to see live, but never had the chance. They impressively re-create the wall of guitars that marks many of their songs, many of which have two bass guitars. The band is notorious for odd guitar tunings and I noticed that a lot of their guitars have tape along the head stock at each of the tuning pegs, no doubt to help the guitar techs to know how to properly tune the guitar for the songs they’re playing. I’m guessing that means there can’t be a lot of spontaneity in the set list. Continue reading »

Sep 162010
 

William Gibson made a stop at the Arboretum Barnes & Noble last night to promote his new book, Zero History. He read from Chapter 16 of the book and took some questions from the audience, some of which were enlightening. Not sure if he was just using it as an excuse, but he cut it short because the feedback from the sound system that the store provided was annoying him. I was disappointed because I was enjoying his answers. Someone asked him about a recent short story and why he didn’t do more of them. He answered that there’s no money in them these days and that he feels like he’s got a limited number of ideas and any that turn into short stories take away from the pool that he can use for novels. He also discussed his admiration for Inception. During the signing, the guy in front of me had him sign his electronic copy of Zero History on an iPad. That was a first, but fitting, I suppose, for the author who is credited with coining the term “cyberspace”. You can follow him on twitter @GreatDismal. He’s pretty active when he’s not busy writing. Zero History is the third book in a series. The first two were Pattern Recognition and Spook Country. I’d recommend starting with Pattern Recognition. I’ve really enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to reading the third.

Aug 252010
 

As I mentioned, John Legend and The Roots taped a performance for Austin City Limits last night. It will air locally on KLRU on Saturday, November 20, 2010. They’re promoting their new album, Wake Up, which will be released on September 21st. It’s a mix of mostly 70s soul covers and a few originals. They had performed the night before in Las Vegas for the Miss Universe pageant.

Austin City Limits is moving to its new location downtown at the beginning of next year, so there will probably only be a handful of performances at Studio 6A before the move. Bob Schneider tapes a set tonight and I’m assuming there will be a few tapings with the ACL Festival coming up at the beginning of October. There were the usual ACL taping amusements last night: people spilling the free beer (the only time I’ll drink Ziegenbock because it’s at least a little better than Budweiser – pro tip: always get two on the way in, it’s too hard to go back and get more) and watching people narrowly miss getting bonked in the head with the boom camera. The most adept at avoiding the camera is the official ACL photographer, Scott Newton, who just released a book collecting 35 years of photos from the show on UT Press.

Black Thought, who was present at the GMA Central Park performance that I linked in my preview post, wasn’t there for last night’s taping. They played pretty much straight through the set without too much talking in between songs and obviously the rap portions of the songs were dropped with the absence of Black Thought. “Captain” Kirk Douglas had a blistering guitar solo at the end of the Bill Withers cover “I Can’t Write Left Handed” and ?uestlove got pretty animated by the end of that song, definitely the best one of the set. I’ve heard “Hard Times” twice now and it’s been stuck in my head all morning.

Continue reading »

Aug 242010
 

I first heard about The Roots living in NYC in 1995. I picked up their first major label album Do You Want More?!!!??! and couldn’t stop listening to it. I completely wore out “You Got Me” from their third album, Things Fall Apart. Their latest album, How I Got Over, was just released in June.

I pretend to be a drummer on occasion and had always admired ?uestlove (aka Ahmir Thompson), drummer for The Roots, but developed a serious man crush after seeing him at a live show during SXSW in 2006 for Before the Music Dies. I didn’t know about his bandleading skills until that performance, something that would become much more evident when The Roots began their stint as the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of Late Night from Conan O’Brien  (the only redeeming aspect of that change, in my opinion).

?uestlove also does guest DJ stints displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of music and will do one tonight immediately following the Austin City Limits taping at Red 7 at 9pm. It’s $8 in advance (try End of An Ear records) and $10 at the door and probably will sell out.

Tonight’s Austin City Limits taping will be with John Legend. Their collaboration, Wake Up, will be released on September 21st. I caught one song at a Central Park performance on Good Morning America a couple of weeks ago. The collaboration is inspired by the presidential election campaign of 2008 and is a mix of covers and originals. VH1 has a bunch of behind the scenes videos promoting the album. I’ll post a review of the taping tomorrow.

Here are the air dates for Season 36 of Austin City Limits which airs locally on KLRU on Saturday nights at 7pm:

October 2, 2010         Jimmy Cliff
October 9, 2010         Spoon
October 16, 2010      Patty Griffin & Friends
October 23, 2010      Alejandro Escovedo / Trombone Shorty
October 30, 2010      Robert Earl Keen / Hayes Carll
November 6, 2010     Steve Martin / Sarah Jarosz
November 13, 2010   Rosanne Cash / Brandi Carlile
November 20, 2010   John Legend & The Roots

Apr 302010
 

Bob MouldUnless you’ve been under a rock for the last four months, you’ve heard that UT announced it would be closing the Cactus Cafe at the end of the summer. It appears that public outcry has caused them to reconsider that decision. As far as I can tell, the two proposals gaining interest now are either that it be run by the students or by KUT. They continue to take feedback until May 7.

I’ve apparently been under a rock because I didn’t realize until yesterday morning that Bob Mould was in town for a two night stand at the aforementioned Cactus Cafe. I quickly checked with The Wife and that tickets were still available and got myself down there for the second night. I’ve only been to the Cactus a couple of times, but I had not doubt that it’d be a great intimate venue for Bob’s solo show and given the uncertain future, it may be my last chance to see the Cactus in its familiar glory.

Continue reading »

Mar 252010
 

Decided I’d title this whatever song was playing on the iPhone when I started writing. Seems appropriate, I guess.

The last post was a little less than a month before M. was born. He’s nearly nine months old now. Needless to say, I think my blogging urge is being fulfilled by Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious, YouTube and whatever little posting I still do over at Metroblogging Austin.

Is a new baby a good enough excuse? Do I need an excuse? Should I keep updating WordPress versions to keep ahead of the script kiddies (probably)? Should I change the theme (probably)?

It’s also been nine months since I quit the main band. I’ve had a couple gigs with Victims of Leisure since then, but we haven’t played or practiced since before Thanksgiving. We’ve got one coming up this Saturday for the gig at the Parlor next week (April 3). I’m not sure I even know how to hold the drumsticks still (or remember the songs). It could be ugly. Better be sure I have plenty of beer so I’ll play better.

We finally tried out a Skype video call with my parents using the webcam that I got for Xmas this week. Ours has been working since the beginning of the year, but it took this long to get my parents going. Now my mother-in-law is running out to get a webcam as well. Yes, we’re just now joining 2004 and doing video calls with far flung relatives. If you’ve got a webcam and are on Skype, come find us. It’s the same damn username that I use for everything.

Mar 192010
 

Cheap Trick opened the 36th and final season for Austin City Limits in its current location on the University of Texas campus. They’ll be moving to block 21 just north of city hall sometime near the end of this year or beginning of next year.

I had an amusing moment before the show at Terra Burger across the street. I saw a guy with platinum blond hair decked out in cowboy rocker gear and just wrote him off as a SXSW hipster wannabee. I passed him as I got a drink refill and headed out to wait for the interminable light to cross The Drag back over to the communications building. He came out at the same time and stood next to me. I looked over at him and it dawned on me that it was probably Robin Zander, Cheap Trick’s front man. Turns out that I was right that it was Robin and wrong that he was a wannabee. If anybody’s entitled to walk around like that, it’s him.

If Robin was inconspicuous with his presence in the Terra Burger, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos is conspicuous by his absence on this trip through Austin. He wasn’t at the taping last night or at an interview with CNBC on St. Patrick’s Day and he hasn’t been mentioned in any of the interviews that I’ve seen so far (including an interview from Austin360 where they give a shout out to Sam’s BBQ on east 12th street). It’s almost like they’re trying to avoid talking about it (is this punishment for that Hanson/James Iha side project?). Guitarist Rick Neilsen’s son Daxx filled in admirably during the taping. He’s definitely of the Bun E. school of drumming. The band is rounded out with amazing 12 string (!?!?) bass player Tom Petersson and two keyboard players, Phil “Magic” Cristian, who’s played with them on and off since the 80s and Roger Manning from Jellyfish and Imperial Drag.

Continue reading »