One more SXSW recap

Here's my video recapping what it was like over 5 days in Austin, Texas. I summed it up in 3 minutes. Basically you'll see a lot of cool bands in various venues, a glimpse of 6th Street in the height of the madness, and Kari (making a quick guest appearance) as we question one of the mysteries of our messed-up hotel:



Last week, I fell victim to two illnesses: A nasty cold and trendy consumerism.

"Look! It's like those little "S'mint" things!"

"Check out that sweet packaging! It's bursting! Probably what it'll be like when I try one!"

"It offsets the drudgery of having a cold with the joy of having a mint!"
These are probably the thoughts that I had (that I've since blocked out) when my mind turned to mush and I spent a couple bucks on the above product. For the record, it does momentarily provide relief to the cough I've had (although you have to pump about 2 or 3 to have any sort of lasting effect). And you get it all with an apple-mint taste. Sound disgusting? Yeah, it is. Kari described the taste best when she likened it to the fluoride treatments you get at the dentist. Deeeeeelish.

Shut OUT

So, apparently YouTube has jumped on the self-congratulating boat. The votes are in for the 2006 YouTube Awards and "Ronson's Devil's Haircut" got nothin'. Not even a nomination (for a commentary on this year's awards, check out this NY Times article).

There were plenty of opportunities for us to win, so this oversight is completely unforgivable. Gina's landmark tale about me getting a haircut could've won "Most Creative," "Best Comedy," "Most Inspirational," or "Most Adorable." But noooooo. Some other crap that I've never heard of won all that stuff (well, I've heard of OKGo, but that's it). So you might be asking yourself, "Is Ronson some sort of awards whore?" The answer is yes.

We just gotta step it up for next year I guess...


Interpol: Alive and apparently touring Canada

There are finally two signs of life, regarding mystery band Interpol, whom I thought had vanished off the face of the earth.

1. Capitol finally acknowledges their existence on their label. (Although the band currently has no news, no tour, no albums and no photos).

2. Ticketmaster has tickets available for a tour of Canada (with one date in Vegas. Huh?) starting in mid-April. Something tells me some form of Interpol better show up at these dates, or there will really be something to talk about. They've also confirmed their Coachella date and have turned up on the Virgin Festival in Toronto on September 8th.

So I guess they're all right. It's a little odd that they've been content to leave things to message board gossip. Maybe that's how they want it right now, which is fine, but let's see that new disc real soon, OK guys?


SXSW: Day Five

Britt Daniel of Spoon

Our final day in Austin was taken reaaaally slow. We didn't realize that until we arrived at Manuel's for lunch and realized it was happy hour. It was also St. Patrick's Day which meant there were twice as many people on the streets than on the previous days, so we reached a whole 'nother level of insanity.

About mid-day we found out that Perry Farrell and the Polyphonic Spree were special guests at La Zona Rosa so we thought we'd end up spending the whole evening there, but after a second crazy wait at the Mohawk Patio to see Wax Fang (a Louisville band that fared well), we ended up outside of Stubb's (possibly the only venue with a constant line) with no line whatsoever. The headliner there was The Stooges, so we switched up the plan and ended our SXSW experience at the largest night venue.

The show was great, we got to see the Stooges perform "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and see Iggy dive into the audience. Spoon and Paolo Nutini put on excellent performances as well. Of the lineup, only Kings of Leon were a disappointment. I thought I'd finally get the hype behind this group, but the show only left me more confounded. Lead singer Caleb Followill was really "Creeding it up" looking very Scott Stapp in his sleeveless shirt, long hair cheesy manly posturing and mega cross around his neck. The music wasn't that much better.

Afterward, one of the Cincinnati performers happened to be playing with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore at a nearby bar, so we stopped in to get a picture. I didn't technically meet Moore but I stood around in a social circle with him for a couple of minutes, which is more than I've done with any other member of Sonic Youth. So, of course, now I consider him a fast friend...

And then I flew home, caught a cold and here we are. In fact, I wrote most of this on crazy cold medicine, so forgive me if I rambled. I have some videos of some of the more entertaining performances on my trip, and I'll post them soon.

Thanks for checking out my reports! I'll return with regular Ronsonville ramblings soon...


SXSW: Day Four

After surviving the dreaded "mint incident," I'm back to wrap up the final days of SXSW...

Friday and Saturday were pretty relaxed schedule-wise, even though the streets of Austin couldn't have been more insane.

Friday was spent mostly covering Cincinnati bands (the highlight: The Sundresses playing under a tin roof held up by gnarled posts, old rusted typewriters strewn about the stage and a little kid sitting on the stage's edge eating what appeared to be a lollipop. The whole thing seemed very Texas to me). We also saw our first legit random celebrity spotting as Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell walked the streets in pink argyle, probably looking for something to eat. Security followed him most of the time we saw him.

We still managed to find time to watch Nellie McKay play to a crowded house, Keren Ann perform a set in a church, get hooked up at a random, free veggie dog truck thanks to Myspace.com and Kari even indulged me in a song or two by one of my favorite bands of the moment, the heavy metal Japanese trio Boris.

Friday night was the most intense scene of our trip. The crazies were out in full force. At an unassuming show of Cincinnati's Peter Adams and the Nocturnal Collective, held at Irish bar B.D. Riley's, the crowd kept getting louder and drunker. And that pretty much set the tone after we left the bar, in the parking garage, and then the on the roads and all the way back to our crazy hotel.

Back later to cover Saturday, which included an unexpected trip to see The Stooges, Thurston Moore and when SXSW and St. Patrick's Day collide. Off to my flight!


SXSW: Days Two and Three

The secret of SXSW, plus Lily Allen and the nature of rising celebrity

My low-key, brief recap of SXSW continues...

So, after being concerned about seeing most of my "must-sees," I learned that most bands play multiple times throughout the week. For free. With no wristband/badge drama. So, check Peter Bjorn and John off the list. Their goofy but endearing stage presence was enough to convert me into a fan. Also Lily Allen, who played an acoustic set at Waterloo at 3 o'clock on Thursday. CD browsing AND live music? If only life were like this all the time...

Also yesterday, Kari got us into WOXY.com's Austin studios where we met esteemed DJs Mike and Shiv and saw the up-and-coming British group The Rumble Strips perform an instudio. After the show we were able to give part of the group a lift back downtown, which was a pretty entertaining 15-minute car ride.

As we get into the nightly showcases, things become more of a mess. Lily Allen's Wednesday night show (which we heard part of from outside the stage) introduced a third category into the mix. Trumping badges and wristbands, was a dreaded third category: The Guest List. Lines out the door were typical and it would seem the best idea would be to find a venue with the best lineup and stake it out for the entire evening.

The worst case of this was at Mohawk's on Thursday. Hoping to see The Besnard Lakes (a buzzworthy band that's equal parts Beach Boys, Arcade Fire and Low), the doors opened late and mass confusion ensued. We had gotten in line a half hour ahead of time. Instead of letting people come in the order they arrived, the staff started dividing people into "wristbands" "badges" and "people just wanting to pay." Things were increasing more disorganized and the band started playing to a half-full house.

Standing in the wristband line, just two people from getting in, I started getting extremely frustrated. The staff handled the chaos as best they could, but they really should've opened the doors at least an hour earlier. Finally, during the middle of the second song, we were able to get in and see my third and final "must-see" of this trip, but it wasn't without a struggle.

Bands seen so far: The Forms, Bela, The Octopus Project, Peter Bjorn and John, Ladybug Transistor, Imperial Teen, Broadfield Marchers, Sparklehorse, Lily Allen, The Rumble Strips, The Besnard Lakes, Phantom Family Halo, Midnight Movies, Pusher, Office, Dead Child. Three of the last five are Louisville bands that I checked out for Velocity (just in case you thought I'd suddenly gone into a metal phase...)

More later!


SXSW: Day One

Chile's, T-storms and TexMex

When we arrived in Austin on Tuesday morning, we hadn't had much sleep and our heads were spinning from the insane twists and turns of the city's wacky highway system. This is probably what clouded our judgment to think that Chile's (right across the street from our hotel) would be the perfect dining option to start our Austin adventure. Unfortunately, whereever you go, Chile's is still Chile's. We spent most of the rest of the afternoon sleeping off our stomach aches...

Not necessarily a bad thing. The rest of the afternoon it stormed so insanely we half expected to see an infamous Texas tornado. Eventually it cleared up long enough for us to make our first trip downtown to pick of Kari's badge and my wristband for the event.

The badge vs. wristband thing is apparently kind of a big deal in Austin. The badges are treated with respect and swag (Kari received a goodie bag with everything from a free year subcription to Spin Magazine to some handy nicotine lotion -- for that special smoker who is trying to quit and looooves using lotion). Folks with wristbands receive a garden variety of restrictions. I'm looking at the wristband now (once you're fitted with one you have to wear it for the next 4 days) and it says fun things like "Many venues fill up" and "Badges will be given priority" and "Voild if stretched, severed or not snug on wrist." Feeling a little inferior, I drowned my sorrow in some excellent margaritas and veggie enchiladas at Chuy's -- recommended to us by Mymy and worth all of the 45 minutes we had to wait. Even if more stomach aches followed.

Fortunately, since our first day of the fest, I've found that wristband access isn't quite as restricted as I thought it would be - at least in some situations. More on that in Day Two. Check out Kari's SXSW blog for the latest. I'm the cameraman!

Oh I almost forgot! Above is a picture of Houston rapper Chamillionaire. He played one of the only showcases on Tuesday, but we didn't even come close to seeing it... more later!


Off to Austin...

Things have been quiet in Ronsonville and for good reason -- I'm gearing up for my trip to Austin this week to check out the SXSW music festival. SXSW is sort of an intense experience for any music fan: five days of music-related events and shows from bands covering the entire frickin' planet. I'm not sure what to expect, but initially I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious about missing something or not getting into a venue to see someone that I'd be really excited to see.

I'm expecting some of bigger acts might put on a good show. I guess the only way they're "big" is in terms of buzz though. I've represented them w/ my lovely collage above (from top to bottom: a clip from Peter Bjorn and John's addictive video and song "Young Folks," Damon Albarn-led The Good, The Bad, and The Queen (apparently Paul Simonon was in a bar fight shortly before this photo was taken), Bloc Party and Lily Allen). The Stooges will be there too, but I fear there might be a little too much from their newest effort, the unStoogesworthy "The Weirdness."

Right now I'm taking the a more laidback approach to the whole event, hoping to see a couple of decent artists and stumble onto a few new ones. I'm also scheduled to write a story about the whole thing for Louisville right now (longish story), so I'm excited to get all journalistic while I'm out there too.


Anyway, I'll send some updates throughout the week from Austin to this blog if I'm not completely crazed. Maybe even some photos and videos if I'm feeling saucy. So check back soon!


Look at the size of that kid's head!

Yep, you are not mistaken, that is the back of my head on the cover of this week's CiN Weekly (check it out here, just scroll down*) as the scruffy, mysterious, fluffy-haired blogger.

It's a little surreal to see the back of your head mass-produced, in case you were wondering. And the photo is super-detailed, which makes me think I shoulda shaved that morning.

I expect to be recognized by people standing behind me in lines for weeks to come...

*Valid this week only


Ronson Gets A Pizza: An Introduction

When the "Ronson Gets A Pizza" DVD comes out, it will include special bonus features, including deleted and extended scenes, a "making of" featurette, plus this special Director's Cut introduction:

Movie Debut: Ronson Gets A Pizza

So here it is, at long last: Ronson Gets A Pizza. Enjoy...


New White Stripes CD!

The new Stripes CD has a title and a release date (well, if you call "as soon as corporately possible" a release date).

The disc will be called "Icky Thump" and you can check out the details at the White Stripes web site. They include potential song titles and where the disc was recorded (I'll fill you in on that: Blackbird Studios in Jack's adopted home of Nashville). Also, it's just worth checking out for the goofiness that is a White Stripes press release...

Don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited for that corporation (that would be Warner Bros. since V2 shut down) to move this disc out ASAP...