POSTED ON FEBRUARY 6, 2008:
Calling All Festival Fans
SXSW tickets up for grabs and all the local highlights
Legendary Lou. This year's SxSW keynote speaker is Lou Reed, and the keynote is not so much of a speech as an opportunity to sit in on an interview.
Hello! Is anybody alive out there? And does anyone want to go to Austin?
Why do I ask? You've seen the half-page ads promoting our annual SXSW essay contest during the past month. So why aren't you writing? Where are your entries? It's time to get off your butts and get your fingers working. We've extended the deadline to February 13 to give you a little more time to hone your composition skills for a chance to report back from the eye of the hurricane.
Yes, that right. We've got two passes to the South by Southwest music festival up for grabs again this year and so far, almost no one seems to care.
How can that be? With all the local music fans we have out there and after all of the praise and excitement I've heard about last year's Dfest, I expected far more excitement and response for a chance to attend the Godfather of all music festivals.
Just think: four nights with roughly 70 stages and more than 1,200 bands performing. And that's not even counting the afternoon parties, which will roll out another batch of bands as well as give some of the more buzz-worthy acts another chance to catch your ear.
But you're more of a true music geek (like me) and want to learn more about the inner workings of the music business, you say? That's what the conference is for.
This year's keynote speaker is the legendary Lou Reed. And for those of who aren't familiar with the SXSW format, the keynote is not so much of a speech as an opportunity to sit in on an interview or, depending on who's doing the interviewing, an opportunity to be a fly on the wall listening to a conversation between friends.
The conference itself is awash in hour-long sessions on topics ranging from the economics of the music business, distribution issues and how downloading continues to effect artists, tips on touring, demo listening sessions for hopeful young bands and interviews with some of the bigger names in the music business. During the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to witness interviews with Wayne Coyne, Emmylou Harris, Chrissy Hynde and even Robert Plant. How cool is that?
Most importantly, though, are the showcase concerts at night. You can catch almost anything you want, from independent artists to major stars that are getting to release something new. What originally started out as a festival for bands to try and get signed has evolved into an event that also allows the labels, both large and small, to roll out the bands they expect to make an impact during the next year.
Of course, there are a number of big names scattered across the landscape to keep things interesting. If you keep your ear to the ground, you might even get lucky and find your way to a special "unannounced" show. After all, who can resist a chance to witness a one-off show by the Beastie Boys, a cameo appearance by Perry Farrell or a late night warehouse party with The Polyphonic Spree?
Yes, it's true--I've seen a little bit of everything in the past, and those are just a few examples. Whatever your taste, it's covered. Rock and blues? Check. Country or Americana? Check. Hip Hop and rap? Check. R&B, country, jazz and electronica? Check, check, check and check.
So what are you waiting for? If you want tickets to the biggest showcase in the land, you'd better warm up those pens and word processors and start writing. All we're looking for is a 500-word (or shorter) essay telling us why you should be Urban Tulsa's on-site reporter from SxSW in Austin, Texas, from March 12 to March 16. While you're at it, tell us who you'd send to represent the Tulsa music scene and why.
Once you're done, send it to the Urban Tulsa offices, addressed to SxSW Contest, c/o Urban Tulsa Weekly, 710 S. Kenosha, Tulsa, OK, 74120 or better yet, email it to HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com. Just make sure and get it in by next Wednesday, February 13 and you could be the winner of two passes for the biggest festival of the year.
Now get to writing and good luck!
Now, it's not like you've got to go to Austin to get your fill of music. After last week's winter storm scare, T-town has sprung back to life with a stack of shows encompassing nationally touring bands and locals filling up the calendar. Everything is listed in our weekly events calendar, but here are a few highlights to get you started and out the door.
Thursday evening's bigger shows cater to the classic rock and Americana fans. If you want to do the time warp, head out to the Osage Events Center at the Million Dollar Elm Casino, where Foghat will be jamming out "Slowride" and everything else they put out for a $15 ticket. Local act Hurricane Mason opens the show. Those who prefer a more rootsy approach can stop in at Bob's (Cain's second stage) for Big Smith and Travis Linville. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are only $13.
On Friday night, February 9, one of the biggest Christian music tours of the winter stops in Tulsa for a show at the Mabee Center. Casting Crowns headlines the show with support from rising stars Leeland and John Waller (see page 45). Tickets are $20 and $26 and the show starts at 7:30pm.
Red Dirt rules the corner of 18th and Boston on Friday evening as Brandon Jenkins rocks the Mercury Lounge and Boston's hosts Red Dirt Rangers and Randy Crouch for an evening of Stillwater flavored jams.
Heading downtown, things get a little crazier. First Lady Assassins, Streetlight Fight and Shutdown Sequence Go will keep everybody on their toes at Exit 6C, while just down the street, The Continental hosts the "White Trash Costume Bash: with Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, Street Survivors. This is one evening you enjoy the irony of screaming "Freebird!" all night long.
On Saturday night, February 9, the Blank Slate complex has all three rooms busy with a mixture of music. The Blank Slate will have The Effects and Ludo gracing the big stage with support from The January, while GHOSTS entertain the indie-pop crowd in Exit 6C and Capella's covers the acoustic angle with Calling Matthew and Dogsway.
Just across the tracks, Bob's hosts the "Winter Waka Classic" with Jesse Aycock, Tech Tonic, Electric Rag Band, Hiphopotamus and Sam & the Stylees competing for a shot to play Wakarusa this summer and Dance!Robot!Dance! plays the Soundpony.
If you're ready for the return of punk rock to Tulsa, you'll have to stop in at the Pinkeye on Saturday night. A $4 cover gives you a night of fun with OTF, Bill Murray's prostate, GoodFox, Streetlight Fight, Dirty Mugs, Johnny Detox, and The Rippers.
The Jazz Hall of Fame's winter concert series resumes on February 10 with Jeff Shadley Group at the Jazz Depot. The show starts at 5pm and tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors and college students.
Also on Sunday evening, Jesse Aycock and Samantha Crane appear at The Continental and the Soundpony hosts Yourself and the Air.
Monday evening features a couple of shows as The Continental hosts William Blackart and Autumn Shade for some early week music. Also on February 11, the Pinkeye has a rocking show that promises to sell out with Tooth & Nail recording artists Ivory Line and Search the City, Myspace Records' Panima and openers Breathe Carolina. Tickets are only available at the door and are $10 for the 6pm show.
Finally, Wednesday night, February 13 will be happening on First Street as Bear Colony appears at The Continental and Exit 6C hosts Yes, I'm Losing with RadioRadio and Vertigo.
That's it for this week. Now hurry up and get writing--I want to see you in Austin!
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