Welcome to the Rock Desk, where Seattle Times rock critic Patrick MacDonald fills you in on the latest news, upcoming concerts, news releases and insider info on the rock 'n' roll beat. Music critic Tom Scanlon also contributes local music and club news.
March 16, 2007 2:40 PM
Posted by Patrick MacDonald
It's so hot and sunny today in Austin, it's like a day trip to the summertime.
As the temperature reached 80 degrees, there was a guy walking down Sixth Street, where most of the live-music clubs and bars were already jumping by noon, in nothing but a cowboy hat and tightie-whities.
Oh, wait, that's not just a guy working on his tan, it's The Naked Cowboy, away from his usual haunt, Times Square in New York City. Buffed, long-haired and smiling, he was followed by a camera crew as he strutted down the middle of the closed-off, crowded street, waving to slack-jawed gawkers, including bemused Austin cops.
Lots of SXSW action goes on during they day, including an increasing number of private parties. At the grande dame of Sixth Street, the ornate old Driskell Hotel, dripping with gold, marble, burnished woodwork and Old West art and sculpture (including a Frederic Remington bronze called "Outlaw"), a reception was held for Emmylou Harris, where friends gathered and musicians jammed. I sat in a rocking chair on one of the grand porches overlooking Sixth Street, and chatted with fellow rock critic Michael Corcoran of The Austin American-Statesman.
Meanwhile, over at the convention center, panels examined "Reinventing Payment Models for Digital Music," "Making Money as a Songwriter and Music Publisher" and "China's Emerging Music Market."
But while the bean-counters were fretting about business up on the center's top floor, the real action was going on downstairs in a cavernous exhibition space which DirecTV has turned into two barlike TV studios -- one funky, the other high-tech.
A raucus concert was going on down there in the faux "Lone Star Lounge," where a young British band called Razorlight was rocking an excited audience, as cameras caught the action. In the back, you could watch the live broadcast on big plasma TVs.
Maybe because it was such a hot day, the lively lead singer was shirtless. Or maybe he was just showing off his skinny bod.
Late in the afternoon, after the concert, I walked from the convention center to nearby Town Lake, laid down on the thick green grass under a shade tree, and listened to the birds while day-dreaming of summertime.
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