The old-guy studio arguments that movies starring women don’t do well at the box office or movies led by women behind the camera don’t make money were finally placed firmly into the “bullshit” category in 2017.
The numbers don’t lie: the top three highest grossing U.S. domestic films all featured female lead roles: “Star Wars, The Last Jedi,” “Wonder Women,” and the live-action remake of "Beauty And The Beast."
My favorite SXSW showcase, The British Music Embassy (BME), celebrates its 16th year of spotlighting a variety of musical genre and geographical corners of the U.K., from punk and grime, to indie dance, garage thrash, and glam rock. From Northern Ireland and Scotland, to Wales and the Northern Powerhouse of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, to East of England's Norwich, Suffolk, and Norfolk, through London and down to the rocky beaches of Brighton.
Latitude 30 has been home to BME from the beginning, with shows packing out Latitude 30 and lines forming down the block of San Jancinto. This year DIY Presents returns to kick off the nighttime shows on Monday, March 12. All the hosts and music entities are back as well, including BBC Music Introducing and BBC Radio 1 with Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 2 with Jo Whiley, BBC 6Music with Steve Lamacq, as well as the UK music trade bodies that make BME possible, year after year; organizations that cover the costs to bring these acts to Austin where the talent of the UK can gain exposure to SXSW music fans and the American music market, one of the largest in the world.
Each year roughly 2,000 bands travel from around the world for one of the most diverse music festivals in genre and country of origin. Having covered SXSW since 2002, this is a magical, abundant holiday for us music geeks. While the craziness of Sx can be a bit overwhelming with so many amazing sounds to choose from at every turn on 6th Street and beyond, those of us covering SXSW are here to help filter through chaos.
Here is the start of my series of SXSW music picks, the bands I'm looking forward to checking out live.
Lead singer and co-founding member of Austin-based Ume, Laura Langer, found thrash punk music in her teens and has never let go, even through the process of adulthood, marriage, and starting a family. It doesn’t hurt that fellow founding member and bassist Eric Larson is also her husband, with the two traversing the journey of writing, releasing music, record deals, and touring over the years. “Eric saw me play my first show ever when I was 15. He said if he ever saw that guitarist again he’d talk to her. A few months later, he saw my band play at a skatepark and we’ve been making music together ever since,” said Langer in a Facebook post promoting the #1RiffADay and #SheShreds Challenge.
The blockchain and cryptocurrency world has been on quite the rollercoaster ride in the last twelve months. Bitcoin (BTC) alone climbed in value from $1,110 in early February of 2017 to over $18,000 mid-December, and today sits at around $7,000 and change as of this publishing date. Meanwhile, you can’t swing a cat (figuratively, of course) and not hit a blockchain or crypto-related meetup or conference being held in cities across the globe.
The string of continuity throughout the blockchain community as a whole is the potential for the architecture to transform nearly every market sector. Those who are the real deal, so to speak, hold a long-game approach to the development of services and products that solve problems and improve business ecosystems, as opposed to short-term money grabs, fake ICOs, and rip-off schemes.
Despite news of countries like India and banks like Lloyds banning certain crypto coins like BTC, the future for blockchain looks very bright.
At SXSW this year, the programming focused on blockchain has expanded as those who are influencing the direction this technology is headed has grown, with new companies sprouting up that are changing operations in numerous verticals for the better.
Big thanks goes out to all those that attended our SXSW Workshop providing a Deep Dive into Live Streaming and it's impact on Brands, Promoters, and Fans, and a ton of gratitude goes out to the SXSW folks for helping us make it happen. For those of you that want a refresh of the session or for all the folks that couldn't make it, here are the slides from the presentation along with the recording of the entire workshop.
SXSW is almost upon those of us who are attending, so we’re trying to keep up with emails and RSVP's while prepping our bodies for the marathon and packing major doses of vitamin B12.
For those who can't make the trek to Austin, there will be a number of opportunities to experience the minute-by-minute happenings, performances, and exclusive video that even the people there on the ground won’t have access to. Plus, audio streams broadcasting live will give everyone in Austin and beyond, stories, news, and music they can take in on the go.
Now in its 16th year, FADER FORT returns with four full days of musical performances from March 15 - 18. Since 2001, FADER FORT grew in popularity, expanding its footprint with massive crowds showing up to check out the artists and the FORT experience, following Twitter rumors of evening shows with suprise appearances, all of which contributed to the magic of SXSW.
This year they return to their roots in a "nod to The FADERs inaugural showcase in 2001," moving the festivities to a more intimate venue at 1209 East 6th Street (Volcom Garden) while still presenting a multi-use, indoor and outdoor environment to mashup music, the arts, drinks, lounging and playing.
“It has been ELEVEN days, Stephen,” Jon Stewart said during his January 31st guest appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, “Eleven. Fucking. Days. ELEVEN!” And then, looking into the audience and the camera, he stated what we were all experiencing, “The presidency is supposed to age the president, NOT the public.”
That was only eighteen f*#king days ago. What’s happened since then plays out like a TV reality show based on a mashup of “Hunt For Red October 2: Defecting TO Russia,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “ Liar Liar.”
Timing is everything, and there couldn’t be a more perfect time for “Where’s the Revolution?” the first and newest single from Depeche Mode’s upcoming 14th studio album, Spirit.
Directed by Anton Corbijn with a WWII era filter, the lyrics resonate with the political and cultural climate that’s been percolating since the early Bush years (“They manipulate and threaten / With terror as a weapon”) and are fully boiling over in the Trump era (“Scare you till you're stupefied / Wear you down until you're on their side”).
After last month’s sneak peek at 50 artists approved to perform in 2017, SXSW took the next step in their music programming with the Round One Artist Announcement. To date, this tallies up to just over 200 bands. Expect that number to increase 10 fold by the time March comes around. March 10-19, 2017 to be exact.
Here is my first sneak peek of the Kaffeine Buzz pick list that will continue to grow over the next six months, with the full SXSW Music list to follow.