South By Southwest

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

More than halfway through the week, we're still live-blogging South By Southwest — the good, the bad and the very, very loud. Follow Daily Texan reporters, photographers and editors as we post the highlights of our work here. For minute-to-minute coverage of the best and the worst that SXSW has to offer, follow us on Twitter at @thedailytexan. Want a recap of Wednesday at SXSW? Check out our coverage on yesterday's blog.

Update (11:50 p.m.): Day seven of South By Southwest is rapping up. Friday's forecast looks dim, with a flash flood warning going into effect in the afternoon. After so much music, film and talks, even the most enthusiastic festival-goer is probably looking for a respite. If you want to spend your rainy Friday away from the crowds and hustle of SXSW, check out our list of out-of-town getaways.

Update (8:00 p.m.): It's easy to get lost in the mayhem of South By Southwest. Even though the festival is more than halfway finished, there is always more than meets the eye. We compiled a list of Twitter accounts that can keep you informed on all the happenings around Austin and SXSW. To read the list, click here.

Update (4:35 p.m.): “Lamb” paints a haunting tale about two people who simply don’t know what their relatioship is or means.  The film rattles conceptions of childlike innocence and tells a divisive tale that is either oddly charming or donwright unsettling. Read the full review here.

Courtesy of Ross Patridge

Update (2:40 p.m.): Good afternoon everyone! May all your Thursday jam sessions be rockin'.

On our schedule for today:

  • Jimmy Kimmel Live — Kimmel's been back at South By Southwest all week, and this is our chance to attend his taping. Today, the cast of The Walking Dead joins him.
  • Where: Long Center for the Performing Arts
  • When: 7:00 p.m. – 7:40 p.m.

 

  • The Zombies — The classic psychedelic rock band from the 1960s performs at Stubb's.
  • When: 7:00 p.m. – 7:40 p.m.
  • Age restrictions: None.

 

  • Max Frost – The Austin native, singer-songwriter performs at Stubb's.
  • When: 9:00 p.m. – 9:40 p.m.
  • Age Restrictions: None

 

  • Ms Mr — The indie-pop duo, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow, performs at Stubb's.
  • When: 11:00 p.m. – 11:50 p.m.
  • Age Restrictions: None

Update (2:30 p.m.): South By Southwest can be hard to do if your underage. A large number of music venues are 21+ and make no exceptions. Below is a list of all ages and 18+ venues to take advantage of over the next three days.


This doesn't mean they will be any less crowded so expect hour long waits for general admission. Badge holders can pick up express passes for certain venues on the fourth flour of the convention center. A limited number of express passes are given out each day. 

  • The Hideout Theater
  • Austin Music Hall
  • St. David's Bethell Hall
  • ACL Live at Moody Theater 
  • Stubb's BBQ
  • The Mohawk 
  • 18th Floor at Hilton Garden Inn
  • Esther's Follies
  • Auditorium Shores
  • PromiseLand Church
  • Central Presbyterian Church
  • IFC Fairgrounds
  • Red 7
  • The Velveeta Room 
  • Emo's

Update (1:40 p.m.): South By Southwest Film is a force to be reckoned with. It's more than a week of premieres, exclusive screenings, comedy, horror and everything in between. The Texan's veteran movie reviewer Alex Pelham has committed to gluing his eyes to the big screens across Austin, taking in as much as he can, so that you don't have to . Armed with our reviews, you can be a little more selective when you head to the theaters. Click here for a comprehensive list of his reviews.

Update (12:30 p.m.): The Zombies, the psychodelic Brit-rock band that helped lead the "Brittish Invasion," are performing at Stubbs tonight at 7 p.m. Check out our interview with lead singer Chris Blunstone to read about his thoughts on their career and their upcoming performance as South By Southwest. Click here for the Q&A.

Update (10:30 a.m.): Weather report

Get ready for another overcast day. Skies will be cloudy, and the temperature will linger in the high 60s and low 70s. The humidity will be high throughout the day, and there's a chance of rain in the afternoon. A flash flood watch is in effect from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here for a more detailed look at the weather.

Update (9:05 a.m.):  As you get ready for another day at South By Southwest, check out our slideshow for a recap of some of the highlights from Tuesday and Wednesday.

Marshal Tidrick | Daily Texan staff

Editor’s note: Some answers were edited for length and clarity.

The indie rock group Kopecky, formerly known as the Kopecky Family Band, will perform at a South By Southwest showcase Wednesday at The Majestic. The band is set to release a new album, Drug for the Modern Age, on May 19. Kopecky began in 2007 when the two co-founders, Gabe Simon and Kelsey Kopecky, met in college. Simon never thought he’d pursue a career in music, but a trip to a bike shop in 2007 changed everything. He met Kopecky, who later invited him over to play music. Before long, the two formed the now six-member band. 

The Daily Texan spoke with Simon, a vocalist and guitarist, about the new album and upcoming SXSW performance.

The Daily Texan: How did you all record the new album?

Gabe Simon: We recorded it in this big mansion called EastSide Manor here in Nashville. It looks like an old English countryside — like “Downton Abbey”-style — manor with this big room with 35-foot ceilings. We’d be in there, and, while we were playing, the people that live there would have massive parties. People would be raging all night long. People would walk in while we were recording, and they’d start dancing, and they’d look at us like, “This is my jam.”

DT: Can you talk about some of the stories behind the new album?

GS: The reason we called our record Drug for the Modern Age is because, in August, when we started tracking the record, our guitarist missed the first two weeks in the studio because he had to go back to South Carolina to go to drug rehab. He sent us the lyrics for the second and third verse of the song “Drug for the Modern Age,” which is a song that we had kind of thrown away, but he had fallen in love with and brought it back and was like, “This is our anthem for the record.” 

We try to find all of these things that fix our lives, whether it’s technology or actual drugs or relationships or anything that will help us see beyond what is currently our crisis situation. We can be our own drug. I’ve seen clearly being in love with my wife. 

DT: How will this album differ from your last album, Kids Raising Kids?

GS: I think this album will be more cohesive. There are classic moments of real rock on there, and there are classic moments of real vibe. There’s a moment on this record that I really love we were able to capture for the song called “Burnin’.” When we recorded, we were in Virginia, and everyone was asleep. It was nine in the morning, and I had woken up by myself. I was sitting in the tracking room playing keyboard. Our producer walks in and hits record. I had no idea it was happening. Then, an hour later, he played the song and said it needs to be on the record. On that song, I literally made up lyrics for the second verse. I had made up a lyric that was just like “la da da da dee.”

DT: How would you describe your sound?

GS: It’s big without being distracting. There are six of us, and we can make a lot of things happen, but we’re playing intentionally. It’s not about how much noise you can make. It’s about how much you can help the person to your left and your right enhance what they are doing.

DT: What can audience members expect from your upcoming SXSW performance?

GS: Interaction. They will definitely be involved. There is a lot of energy, but, at the same time, it’s contained. There are moments when you just want to chill and get lost, and then there are times when you just want to rip the top off a beer bottle and just go wild.

Austin alternative rockers Alpha Rev will play three SXSW shows before beginning their tour in support of their new album Bloom (Photo courtesy of Darin Back). 

“Sing Loud,” the lead single from Alpha Rev’s upcoming third album Bloom, is competing with the likes of Alabama Shakes and Of Monsters and Men on the Adult Album Alternative rock charts. The Daily Texan sat down with Alpha Rev front man Casey McPherson and talked South By Southwest, Beach House and Dream Theater.

The Daily Texan: Why do you call yourself Alpha Rev? 

Casey McPherson: Because it’s hard to find a dot com that hasn’t been taken. Alpha Rev is a Greek/Latin derivative — alpha being one, rev being a great prefix — revolve, revolt, revelation, revive: its the beginning of change. 

DT: How would you describe your sound to a new set of ears?

McPherson: With this record there’s some folk influences, bold American country like Tom Petty Jackson Browne kind of stuff. And then there’s the more kind of old Radiohead, Keane, Coldplay vocal stuff. More Beatles kind of thing going. Lot of different styles. 

DT: What do you think set you apart from local Austin bands that didn’t go anywhere? 

McPherson: Work ethic. It’s just like anything else if you’re going to start your own project, whether you’re an artist or a business owner. You can have an inherited gift or wealthy parents, there’s always varying degrees of what you have to work with, but at the end of the day you have to want to do it and be willing to put in enough work. I didn’t have wealthy parents, but I had a gift for music. It’s taken a lot of hard work, tons of rehearsing, and you’ve got to wear a bunch of hats at once. 

DT: How is Bloom different from your previous records?

McPherson: A lot of it was recorded live, so there wasn’t any editing or tuning. A lot of what we did was all together at the same time. Lyrically it’s more mature, musically it’s more diverse. Lots of different styles. 

DT: Have you ever heard of a band called Beach House? 

McPherson: You know, the week before we finished the record, someone told me Beach House had an album called Bloom. I thought about changing ours to Blume but it just didn’t look right.

DT: Why do you have so many former members?

McPherson: Well, Alpha Rev is more of a collective. The only constant member of the band is me. I write all of the music; sometimes some of the guys will throw in an idea. In terms of band management and updating Twitter, Facebook, ordering CDs, I do a lot of that myself. You gotta do what needs to get done to keep moving forward.

DT: As a band that’s originally from Austin, what’s it like to compete against the influx of foreign bands during SXSW?

McPherson: Well it’s not really a competition, it’s more of an expose. If you go to a conference and walk down the booths, it’s a great place to expose your music to people in the industry. It’s not a place to get a record deal or for all of your dreams to come true, but it’s a great place to showcase your music to people in the industry from all over the world that would never hear you unless you were in their city. 

DT: Austin recommendations for out-of-towners?

McPherson: Barton Springs. Salt Lick. The iPic theater at The Domain. 

DT: Why do you play music?

McPherson: Ever since I was a child I knew it was what I was supposed to do with my life. I believe music is spiritual in nature, in terms of how it has an effect on our psyche and physical bodies. I do it for my own health and hopefully to contribute to the health of others.

DT: What’s this I hear about Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater)? 

McPherson: I play in a side project with him and Steve Morse from Deep Purple. It’s a pop-prog band called Flying Colors. Mike was a fan of Endochine and Alpha Rev and asked me to be the singer for his band. I’ve been having a great time and I’m’ learning a lot. And he’s a motherfucker of a drummer. 

Folk rock band Blitzen Trapper will be playing multiple shows at SXSW, including one on March 16 from 4-40p.m. at the Radio Day Stage benefiting the Shivers Cancer Center (Photo courtesy of Blitzen Trapper).

Portland, Ore., based rock/folk band Blitzen Trapper will be returning to South By Southwest this year, playing multiple shows throughout the week. The band is well known for their fourth album, Furr, and frontman Eric Earley owes all of his lyrical madness to everyday life and past experiences. The five members make up a band that’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, which results in a uniquely folk sound.

Earley spoke with The Daily Texan about where he draws inspiration for the music and plans for SXSW.

The Daily Texan: Could you tell me where the name “Blitzen Trapper” came from?
Earley: Something to do with a Winnebago or something.

DT: How did y’all first meet?
EE: Well, we grew up together. [I] met [guitarist/keyboardist] Marty down in Georgia about 15 or 16 years ago.

DT: Did you have part in any other bands before Blitzen Trapper?
EE: I was in a few bands in high school. Me and Brian were in different bands and played house parties.

DT: What has been your greatest accomplishment since you first formed the band in 2000?
EE: Not having day jobs is pretty nice. [Laughs] I worked on farms and factories, and kitchens for a while, that kinda thing.

DT: What’s the inspiration behind the song writing?
EE: It’s just my life and where I grew up and the relationships I’ve had, I write from experience most the time.

DT: I know you draw some inspiration from Bob Dylan and Neil Young, are there any other artists that you admire?
EE: Joe Walsh, I like ’70s hard rock stuff, Sabbath, stuff like that. Sonic Youth in high school, Wu-Tang Clan, I liked them a lot when I was young.

DT: What could you see yourselves doing if you weren’t making music?
EE: I don’t know, I’d either be a preacher or a drug smuggler in third world countries or maybe both.

DT: What are some future plans that you have?
EE: We don’t really make future plans, we usually just go on tour and have a good time. We’ll be in Australia in three weeks. I plan on enjoying the summer in Oregon.

DT: What are your plans for SXSW?
EE: We’re playing a bunch of shows, parties, radio and stuff. We have a pretty full schedule, keeping busy the whole time we’re down there. It should be fun.