By Matt Harper
Asher Roth is a true man of the people. A few weeks ago, the young MC hinted that he was going to start a revolution down at South by Southwest — and Asher did not disappoint.
After his packed performance at Club de Ville, Asher took to the crowded Austin streets with our MTV News crew. Despite going to the doctor earlier that day because of an irritated throat, he insisted on hanging out with the throngs of music lovers wandering the streets.
Asher lit up when he got the MTV News mic (or, as he affectionately referred to it, his "magic wand") and immediately started talking to all the fans on the street. So what did Asher want from the SXSW'ers? He asked them to give their Twitter-size assessment of their experiences thus far. Although the request confused many of the inebriates on Austin's famed (and debaucherous) Sixth Street, Asher is a charming and convincing dude and was able to coax answers — albeit many incoherent ones — out of everyone.
By this point, it was well after 2 a.m., and we were all getting a bit famished. We dashed over to the closest pizza place (a ridiculous $4 a slice ... a far cry from Asher's college days). Seeing the daunting SXSW lines, Asher flashed a smile and challenged two girls near the front to a game of rock-paper-scissors for their place in line. It took about 30 seconds for him to lose 2-nil ... but the girls were nice enough to let Asher order with them, and of course he returned the favor by shelling out for the pizza.
So with pizza in hand and a bunch of new SXSW friends in tow, our night ended. And Asher Roth had once and for all secured the title of SXSW Man of the People.
It's all over.
South By Southwest 2009 wrapped on Sunday, and we're back in New York, picking through the hours of tape we shot, reminiscing about the good times (check out our favorite SXSW moments) and trying very hard not to fall asleep on our keyboards. This is proving more difficult than I had imagined.
Because after the week-long party that is SXSW, there's the inevitable hangover. And, well, right now, that hangover is fierce — and I don't even drink!
I slept 10 hours last week. On Saturday night, I didn't sleep at all, as we wrapped production at 4:30 a.m., then headed right to the airport for our 7 a.m. flight. The scene at Austin-Bergstrom International was like something out of "Dawn of the Dead," with bands, publicists and hipsters wandering around the terminal like zombies, shoveling breakfast tacos into their mouths. There were bodies sprawled on the floor, heads buried in hooded sweatshirts, sunglasses covering bloodshot eyes. It was like one gigantic commercial for Promises. And it's only gotten worse since then!
By Andrew Ross Rowe
If one man was to build a completely new musical genre, they would have to be pretty talented. Craig Brewer, the man behind films like "Hustle and Flow" and "Black Snake Moan," which positively seep with the music of the South -- both old and new -- is probably the man to produce it.
Brewer's new Memphis-based Web series $5 Cover exposes the nitty-gritty heart of a town with music flowing through its aorta. "I'd like to believe that Memphis should be a genre itself" Brewer points out.
This is not such an easy task when your town cradles rock acts like Lucero, hip-hop acts like Al Kapone and noirish crooners like Amy LaVere. How can so many genres co-exist as one?
"The $5 Cover show is really about Memphis. Yeah we have rap and yeah, we have rock and roll. And we have singer song writers, but I really like to believe that Memphis itself should be a genre. ... It's more of the spirit of the city is reflected in the sound."
But what is it about Memphis that really binds these musicians together?
By Matt Harper
I'm going to put it out there, and you can hate me if you want: I just watched Kanye West, and had the absolute best seat in the house. No joke. And by "Best", I mean seriously B-E-S-T. Like, about two feet directly in front of Kanye for the almost 30 song set.
And before you criticize me for being braggadocios, consider this: I've spent 5 days so far at SXSW working 20 hour days, lugging 50 pounds worth of camera equipment, and subsisting off of a diet of Doritos and lukewarm beer. Just putting it out there…
So I guess there's something to be said for Karma, because on my last day here in Austin, I arrived at the Levi's Fader Fort to shoot the G.O.O.D. Music Showcase, and got ushered waaaaay up front to the press pit. I had heard rumor that Kanye would be showing up, but hadn't heard anything concrete. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to hear the rumor, because the venue was absolutely packed, and a line snaked down the block. Read More...
You might not be aware of this if you are one of the 9 million wussy indie dudes here in Austin for South By Southwest, but in addition to having a rather amazing music scene (which is documented in director Craig Brewer's upcoming Web series, $5 Cover), Memphis is also home to a pretty terrific college basketball team, too: the University of Memphis Tigers.
The Tigers finished the regular season 33-3, won their fourth-straight Conference USA title, and earned a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Oh, and on Saturday night, they beat the University of Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16. This is a big deal, trust me.
So naturally, when MTV News came out to cover a Memphis Music Showcase at the Dirty Dog Bar (featuring $5 Cover artists like Lucero, Al Kapone and Two Way Radio), I had to ask some of the best musicians in M-Town about the fortunes of their hometown team. Were they overcome with the fever-like symptoms of March Madness like I was? And did they like the Tigers to win it all?
Of course. Well, at least the ones who had any idea what I was talking about, anyway ...
Check out more after the jump. Read More...
MTV News caught up with Big Boi on Thursday, just before he tried his hand at Nirvana's "In Bloom" on "Rock Band" (and "tried his hand" is being generous), and we spoke about a whole bunch of stuff, including the progress of his long-delayed solo album, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, his cameo on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (he played a slick-talking rapper who runs afoul of a Russian smuggler and is killed by a hyena -- seriously) and, of course, Outkast.
More specifically, the status of Outkast's new album. And while Boi wasn't about to reveal everything about the group's follow-up to 2006's Idlewild, he didn't exactly leave us hanging, either.
What's he got to say? Read on. Read More...
So we've been busy as heck down here in Austin this week, shooting tons of interviews all around town for SXSW, but unfortunately, I still haven't had much time to see many shows.
Luckily, the clouds are clearing and the stars are aligning and it seems like today just might be the day where I get to see actual music (not only that, but if all goes according to plan, I'm gonna see some-odd sixteen bands and full sets to boot, scattered at 5 or 6 different venues around town.
You can follow all my progress live throughout the day as I run my butt around town too. Red Bull and sunscreen will surely be my best friends.
What's my schedule looking like? There's not many major artists on today's SXSW schedule (other than Rick Ross and the rumored Kanye West performance - which the rest of our team will be rockin') - so I'm gonna be checking out a lot of great stuff bubblin' around the underground.
By Andrew Ross Rowe
"Only [he] can get away with something like this."
Charles Hamilton's process of playing shows and putting out music has something you won't find with other artists, a truly personal touch. We caught up with the rapper at the primarily short-shorts and western shirted SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. He gave us the low down on his plan for his hip hop roll out in 2009.
The self described Hamiltonization Process lays out a unique schedule of mixtapes, songs and tour dates. "I'm literally coming directly to you" said the MC. But what's different in his approach is the nonchalant attitude and confidence he displays. "What I've been doing here at SXSW, is chillin'. [I'm] not looking for much attention. [I'm] enjoying the death metal bands and going to the hip hop spots here and there. [I'm] really just enjoying the environment."
This relaxed style of interaction seems to be working. Read More...
South By Southwest is a big deal. Which is why MTV News sent our A-Team down to Austin to cover it ... A crack squad of writers, producers and electronics experts (plus a token indie snob), on a mission to deliver you the best moments from the biggest music festival in the U.S.
Over the next 96 hours, our Team will be blogging their brains out, interviewing their a--es off, and checking out bands, both big and small. They will probably also eat at some point. Sleep is not an option. Sunstroke definitely is.
It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And as such, we figured you'd like to know more about the brave men and women who are forgoing shut eye and leaving their loved ones behind to bring you the news and events of SXSW 2009.
So, let's the final two members of the team, shall we? Read More...
Did you know that we made it back to the hotel at 5:30 this morning?
And that, when we finally woke up this am, it was actually nearly pm? Oh, and our Flixwagon phones are no longer working?
I'm telling you all of this in an attempt to explain why a) Our Saturday Breakfast Briefing is actually more of a Brunch Briefing; and b) we have no video to go with said briefing.
Still, that doesn't mean we didn't actually have a meeting, because after a very hectic Friday night -- including performances by Metallica and Asher Roth -- we needed to regroup, because Saturday is shaping up to be just as big.
For a full rundown of the final day at South By Southwest (Kanye West!), keep reading below. Read More...