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The Road to SXSW 2011

22 Dec

It isn’t pretty, but here’s BAMM.tv SXSW booking headquarters. I need to clean and hang a picture or two on the wall. No, I’m not working from a correctional facility.

The personal music library has expanded quite a bit since the first SXSW 2011 post. Here’s a quick update on where we are for booking our 3 unofficial showcases.

For a minute there we (Sarah, Jasper in Amsterdam, and I) were trying to create themes for each of the showcases. Then I snapped out of it. Here’s a portion of an email I sent Sarah a week ago:

Sarah,

Sorry to barrage you with emails, but here’s where I’m at right at this moment–fuck themes to the party…Try like hell to book the bands that can draw (middle brother, sharon van etten, vanderslice, etc.), fill in the line-ups with bands we really believe in and love, end of story…Once we have a line-up, then we can figure out how to label it.

Genres be damned. As you can tell, I’m a little slow at times. Bear with me. Also, in no way are the acts I listed booked or even contacted. These were just examples of bigger bands that we like a lot.

I keep saying this, but it’s worth repeating–my god, there are some great bands I’ve never heard of. Some of my recent favorites include Tim Knol (Hoorn, NL), Wallpaper (San Francisco, CA…how have I missed this in my own backyard?), Menomena (Portland, OR), and Lower Dens (Baltimore, MD).

Also, I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m hoping to have a big announcement for SXSW booking after the holidays that may or may not include free nachos in Austin. Nothing is in stone, but we’re working on something pretty exciting that’s close to confirmed.

Parting shot–As I’ve been working on filling three bills, it got me thinking, what would be my ultimate lineup? Then, because I’m a stickler for rules and I can’t leave well enough alone, I thought it might be cool to have some guidelines. At least one of your picks must be a current act not singed or affiliated with the big 4 record labels. Here are mine, but add yours to the comments below. And, again, let me know bands we should be contacting for SXSW 2011!

Ultimate 3 band bill (headliner and two openers):

Otis Redding, with Led Zepellin (don’t over-think this, folks) and Ha Ha Tonka (Bloodshot Records)

Happy Holidays, folks. Go easy on the eggnog.

Phil

The Road to SXSW 2011

9 Dec

Well, it’s official. SXSW 2011 is back on the radar. SXSW is leaking out official acts, and I’ve created a spreadsheet for bands. Last year was BAMM.tv’s first go-round on the HGH-bull know simply as “South by” (still can’t commit to using this phrase myself), and we made quite an introduction. Who else drives an RV into the convention center and records bands right there on the trade show floor? (Again, my sincere apologies to the SXSW staff being a pain in the ass and cracking non-sponsor beers in the RV).

BAMM.tv rolls into SXSW '10 trade show like Uncle Eddie in Christmas Vacation, much to the chagrin of SXSW staff.

Things are a bit different this year for BAMM.tv. First of all, we are putting on three (3!) unofficial showcases (3/17-3/19)–one at Beauty Bar and two at Palm Door. I’m still in disbelief that we secured such badass venues, and they are located right in the heart of the action. What does “Unofficial” mean? It means we can book whoever the hell we want and you don’t need a badge to get in. Anyone who’s waited in lines to see a show on 6th St. knows why I’m so excited about this. This year will be different for another reason (aside from ripping off the back RV bumper at a gas station last year): BAMM.tv will be launching our platform service at SXSW! We’ve been producing some incredible music content for the last year, and we’re ready to share it with all of you.

First order or business: booking bands. We are talking with a bunch of incredible bands that I will share just as soon as they are confirmed (won’t be for a month or so), but I want to know who you think we should book? What bands or artists are you excited about? Musicians are like books–it’s impossible to know all the good ones. Help me out, folks. Leave the bands link in the comments field and I will check them out.

I will check in with all of you on a weekly basis here and fill you in on all developments leading up to SXSW.

Regards,

Phil

Phil Lang

Music Operations Director–BAMM.tv

Operation BAMMsterdam, Day 2

5 Nov

Another great day. Jamie and I got rolling by walking around until I found a chocolate croissant and a 3 euro cup of coffee. Tourist move, I’m told. So be it. I’m not fooling anyone into thinking I’m Dutch with this accent and my difficulty distinguishing a 1 euro coin from a ten cent coin.

We are working in the heart of Amsterdam, folks. A few blocks from the Royal Palace and surrounded by buildings and canals hundreds of years older than the Declaration of Independence.  It is an almost impossibly beautiful city, and to a guy who’s spent all but two weeks of his life in the U.S., surreal isn’t a strong enough word. My first reaction is it can’t be real. The 21st Century has been tacked onto a 16th Century world. At least that’s my reaction to seeing a shopping center–complete with Nike, Gucci, and Diesel shops–inhabiting a building (formerly the head post office, and a mighty one, to say the least) that has been tagged a monument by the municipality. The structures are relics through which the modern world flows.

Seeing as that previous line was about as flowery as the tulips sold a 1/4 mile away at the quaint corner stand (tulips available online as well), let’s get to BAMM.tv business. Jasper van der Put and I have been listening to a bunch of Dutch bands in an effort to get a leg up on those heading to South by Southwest in March. We’re hoping to have a strong international flavor at our various showcases. I liked a lot of the stuff he’s into–Jasper is very clearly on the ball in various local scenes–but my favorites were: The Benelux, Moss, and Shout Out Louds. By the way, how cool is my job? I get to come to Amsterdam and have an insider help me search for inspiring music.

Another BAMM employee and journalist over in Amsterdam, Kemal Rijkin, turned me on to a really cool idea over here. Believe it or not, The Hague (third largest city in the Netherlands) values the local music so much that each year it funds three bands’ South by Southwest experience. Coincidentally, we shot one of their selections at last year’s SXSW (John Dear Mowing Club). Wouldn’t it be nice if San Francisco (fourth largest city in CA) spent less time trying to shut down clubs and more time supporting its local art?

BAMM.tv's Jamie Morganstern (center) and Nick Hansen (far right) take part in pilot filming of BAMM.tv's Food Fight

Lastly, tonight we are shooting the pilot episode of BAMM.tv programming called BAMM.tv Food Fight. The focus is to jump into tech-related debates with a dinner table serving as the canvass. Our first bout is at the heavyweight division: Google TV vs. Apple TV (neither exist in The Netherlands yet). Jamie is moderating to ensure no biting, but everything else is kosher. We will premier this program, as well as several other pilot programs at–you guessed it–SXSW 2011.

Miscellaneous:

  • you will be hit by a biker or car on these streets if you’re meandering. Trust me. I was pinned up against a wall and a van. Missed getting hit by less than an inch. Pedestrians have the right away–I don’t think so. Traffic is dictated by a different set of laws–physics. In other words, whoever is in the most danger of bodily harm should get the hell out of the way.
  • Our hipster friends in San Francisco would fall over themselves for the retro, grandma bikes over here.
  • Smoothies do not include ice here. Not bad, but I’ll take the ice.

More to come tomorrow. Read Operation BAMMsterday, Day One here.

Phil