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SXSW ’07: Babe, Blue, Ox

Maximum Performance

As my associate Lyndsey has documented ever so well, it's been an eventful SXSW experience for those of here representing Yahoo! Music.

On this side of the editorial fence, it might have been nicer from the get-go: Thanks to the marvels of overbooked airline flights, what could have been a pleasant mid-afternoon jaunt for yours truly on Wednesday turned into a horrifying marathon of stopovers, bad weather, car rentals, and 160 mile-drives to Austin from beautiful, not-nearly neighboring Houston, finally bringing me to this fab music fest half a day later than expected. But not to worry, dudes. Exotic fun has just begun.

Our studio this morning was blessed with some groovy & talented performers, among them Brandi Carlile, whose raw musical ability is fairly noticeable and who seems pleasantly removed from the more mundane aspects of the music biz. She is very nice. Another memorable appearance was that of the uniquely tatooed & mascaraed Amy Winehouse, who appears to be the hottest artist of this very moment and sings like the Dickens of her native land. Wish I could report that the interview half of her appearance was equally fetching, but let's be frankish: As I innocently asked her question after question, the woman looked at me as if I were a being from another planet entirely--which might indeed be correct, but Jesus, woman, cut me some slack, why don't you? Don't worry, we'll edit that baby and no one will notice a thing.

Other significant SXSW highlights of the moment included making a pitstop at Antone's to check out Sondre Lerche from Norway and the surprisingly hip Little Ones, from mythical Silver Lake, California, not exactly the place you'd expect Astralwerks Records' A&R staff to be hanging out, but what the heck. Musical highlight of the night for me was the stunningly laidback performance of Brit cult folkie Vashti Bunyan, whose performance at Austin's Central Presbytarian Church was everything I ever expected to see at a Presbytarian church and more. Between Vashti--hope she doesn't mind my informality--and Saturday night's scheduled appearance by Kevin Ayers, this SXSW will at last erase my fixation with time travel and allow me to finally sit back in my chair and enjoy the modern day pleasures of Green Day, Good Charlotte, and my Uncle Larry, if indeed I had one.

But if I can be brutally candid in this, Y! Music's SXSW blog, I must finally admit this. The singular highlight of my night came at 2 a.m., and consisted of passing by a quartet of drunk Austinites, one of whom stared at me as if he were certain he knew me until finally, as we passed, he turned around and said, "Hey man, aren't you the dude from General Hospital?"

These questions are rarely answered well.

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