SXSW 2011 Days Three & Four: Too Many People

SXSW is always a little bittersweet for me. On one hand I always have a blast being down in the heart of Austin in the midst of a million people, hanging out with friends, and experiencing music that I wouldnt get to on a normal basis. On the other, its just exhasting to participate in the festival. There is alot of walking, not alot of places to sit, and since we cover a very specific group of artists, it takes some major preparation to be in the right place at the right time. In addition to this, I am actually working another job all week, a Spring Break day camp at a local YMCA. Despite all that, I have seen some really great stuff over the last few days, and in the middle of a great song it seems I am always able to forget how tired my feet are a thank God Im standing in the room Im in. I am blessed.

Day 3: The Civil Wars, Appleseed Cast & Shad

I actually didn’t get to see The Civil Wars or Appleseed Cast. Here is why: THERE ARE A TON OF PEOPLE AT SXSW! As the week goes on, many of the industry people and bands begin to populate the showcases in the audiance. I think I saw Doug Van pelt from HM Magazine almost everyday; Brooke Fraser was in line in front of me for The Civil Wars. On top of that, there are the thousands of people attending SXSW that are just average joes. All this to say i didnt get to see The Civil Wars because Im dumb and left the ballroom at the Driskel to get some air and then couldnt get back in. It was a small room (capacity was 120) and it was packed 2 hours before the folk duo’s set. There wasnt a line when I left, but a mega one when I returned. Strike out!

Shad at SXSW 2011

I DID get to see SHAD though, which I was really happy about. I actually learned about SHAD two years ago at SXSW when his record label handed me a sampler CD of his music and told me he was a believer. I have been a fan ever since, and his latest album, TSOL, was at the top of our Hip-Hop album of the year list.

The thing about SHAD live is that the dude never stops smiling. He was grinning ear to ear from the moment he walked out to sound check till the moment he disappeared into the back after his set. He was a super happy guy and it rubbed off onto the crowd…..mainly because he spent most of his show out in the crowd. The first two songs were spent bouncing around in the middle of the audience and handing the mic to people who knew the words. SHAD freestyled for us, played several of the songs form TSOL, and put on one of the most entertaining hip-hop shows I have ever seen. this ended up being my only show for the day, but yet I left that night feeling satisfied.

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Shad SXSW 2011 blur

The Appleseed Cast show was also full by the time we got there, we listened to a couple of songs (which were great) sitting outside the window and decided to call it a night.

Day 4: The Almost and Emery

Another kind of epic journey occurred on Saturday when my wife was actually able to attend some of the festival with me. We got there early to attend Flatstock, and then made the trek across downtown to catch the hip-hop show at the Carver Museum. This is the same showcase where we interviewed Kaboose, Tre9, and Lecrae two years ago, held at the same location. At least according to SXSW. When we got there, we walked in on a panel, which was cool enough, but by the time we realized we were in the wrong place it was all over. You see, the music was happening on 51st street, and we were on 18th. We had the right location, but apparently the oganizers had decided to move the music without telling anyone. So we missed Tedashii and Pro.

We wne t back downtown for a bit and actually wandered onto a free show that Vans was putting on outside of EMOs. Low and behold, The Almost were rocking the stage as we walked up! We were able to catch a good portion of the set, and man can Aaron Gillespie sing! That dude’s voice is super strong live, and the band had the crowd eating out their hand. They closed their set with a more up tempo version of Tom Petty’s “Free-Falling”, and everybody was there wanting more.

Luckily for me I caught the band again at the Tooth & Nail Showcase, so I was able to get more!
The Almost SXSW 2011 Tooth and Nail Showcase
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emery sxsw 2011
After The Almost came Emery, and the crowd was buzzing for the re-tooled screamo band to tear the place down.  Emery got things going quickly with several tracks off their upcoming “heavier” album, We Do What We Want, and remarkably most of the crowd already knew the words.

To answer the lingering question: Yes, Emery‘s new stuff is alot heavier than past efforts, but the important thing to note is that they blend it well with their older, more melody driven material, so you get a well balanced, interesting show. Heck, half-way through the set they pulled out acoustic guitars and sang some stripped down versions of their older songs to the crowd.

By the way, the crowd was not only standing in close quarters inside the club, but also right outside this huge window the club has right behind the stage. Emery showed their fans that they came first by setting up the drummer facing these people on the street so that everybody could feel like they were part of the show.
emery sxsw 2011 outside crowd

That was it for me. The end of SXSW was kind of strange in that i dont feel like I was able to see alot of music as in past years, and yet I feel like some of the artists we cover (The Civil Wars, SHAD, The Almost, The Rocketboys) were some of the biggest names floating around the festival. See, just because you are open about your faith doesnt mean that you will be a failure in this industry, it just means that you have something to say. On to Cornerstone we go!

RedCloud Sparks More Controversy

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Okey, so I was hoping that an interview with RedCloud would have happened by now to add to this post, but it hasn’t, and I think that this is an important thing to talk about with you guys. So here it:

In case you dont know, the emcee known as RedCloud has been one of the big movers in the Holy Hip-Hop scene for the better part of the 2000s. He was Syntax Records most popular artist (and also its oldest if I understand correctly), and was a very talented artist who was very open with his faith. Close to a year ago, RedCloud was dropped from his long time label home for “persistant substance abuse”. We later discovered that RedCloud smoked pot pretty regularly, and after many attempts to come an understanding, Syntax decided to stop promoting him through their ministry based label.

For the most part, RedCloud has been pretty silent in all of this until about a week ago when he posted a song blasting the Christian Hip-Hop scene with the song “Evandalism”.

Our friends at DaSouth.com wrote an article based on the song, and a lively discussion ensued. While I usually dont like to send you else where for your music needs, I think you should read the reactions to the song. Tre9 (the owner/operator of Dasouth.com) has promised a interview with RedCloud very soon, so I will keep you updated on that:

Read discussion on RedCloud’s new track, “Evandalism”

Founder Of Dasouth.com Passes Away

Our friends at Christian hip-hop resource site, Dasouth.com come, lost their founder Richard “s/ave” Douglas to an epileptic seizure on December 31rst, 2009. s/ave was 36.

the following statement was posted on Dasouth.com:

“I am indeed encouraging the Hip Hop Body to bring more worship-conscious ministry into the mix.”
s/ave – October 23, 2008

On Thursday morning, December 31, 2009, Richard “s/ave” Douglas (36) went to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. He died in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas from an epileptic seizure. While he had battled the condition for many years, this was an unexpected occurrence and a complete shock to his friends and family.

Born on March 27, 1973, s/ave was a devoted follower of Jesus and passionate fan of hip hop music. In the mid-90’s he was on staff at Grapetree Records and served as editor of Heaven’s Hip Hop Magazine – one of the first true attempts at Christian rap journalism and a lifeline for fans of the faith-based music in the pre-Internet age. He penned the “Real Criticisms” column and initiated an “Unsigned Acts” issue that spotlighted future Christian rap figures such as Nuwine, Future Shock, and Raphi Henley (aka Shames Worthy).

After moving to Houston, s/ave started the ONEMIND newsletter in 1995 out of his one-bedroom apartment and continued to cover the genre. As the one-sheet garnered more readers, it grew to into ONEMIND Magazine and featured the writings of James “Bad Luck” Parry, Kenneth “Bus” Falls, Jr. (owner of The Bus Shop), Excelsius, Jelani Greenidge, and Sketch the Journalist.

As the world wide web boomed and ushered in the Information Age, s/ave adapted his magazine to an online forum. OM95.com continued to bring album reviews, news, and analysis to the Christian hip hop culture. Its vibrant message board continued to build community until the launch of DaSouth.com.

That site was created to be unified banner site for gospel rappers in the Gulf Coast area. The concept was that artists would forgo forging their own web identities and adopt the DaSouth.com name. Not only that, s/ave was strategic in the launch of The Bus Shop – the first and longest running Christian Hip Hop store on the web – along with Kenneth “Bus” Falls, Jr. He gave the store its name and also created it’s first website.

After several years, the ties that bound began to fray as artists joined but also kept an individual URL on the side. It became harder to sell and get buy-in for the idea and eventually the site withered away to a simple, yet lively, message board. s/ave also found his passions steadily shifting away from the Christian rap community to a group nearly as underground.

“Deaf culture,” s/ave explained. “I left the world of hip hop to serve the people who didn’t hear it.”

s/ave enrolled in college level American Sign Language classes and began to get involved in deaf church ministries and stage plays. This left little time to maintain DaSouth.com.

However, he knew of a local Christian rapper and business owner who was an emerging leader in both his city and the movement as a whole. In 2008 s/ave handed over ownership of DaSouth.com to Bobby “Tre9” Herring. (Click here to learn more about the history of DaSouth.com.)

Since then, s/ave served as an educator for deaf and special needs children in the Cy-Fair Independent School District.

He is survived by his wife Theresa “Tee” Douglas.

For monetary gifts, make all financial contributions payable to Theresa Douglas at the address below:

Theresa Douglas
7640 Lone Meadow Ct.
Houston, TX 77095

Rich Douglas will be deeply missed and we will forever remember him for his great contributions to Christian hip hop ministry and journalism. A full story on the life of s/ave will be provided soon by Sketch the Journalist who was a personal friend of our beloved brother. Once funeral and burial service times are made available, we will provide all the details to you.

The One21 Interviews Tre9

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PT. 1

Pt. 2

Tre9 is this amazing dude out of Houston TX. He is a hip-hop artist, promoter, manager,and founder of both Much Luvv Records, and DASOUTH.com. At SXSW, he was responsible for the event that brought Kaboose, Braille, and Lecrae to Austin. We were lucky to get a few minutes with him. This is one of those interviews were I didn’t have to ask a lot of questions, Tre9 is a passionate dude!  In the midst of his excitement, he talks about some really serious issues in the Christian music scene, and in fact his interview in part inspired a new way for us at The One21 to approach the music we are putting on this site (read The Many Facets Of Christian Music). Even if you arn’t into hip-hop, I’m sure you will love this interview.

This is Tre9‘s video for his song “Rise To The Top”

You can buy Tre9‘s music digitally on Tre9 and Amazon MP3

You can also buy his CDs on Amazon:
Marooned
The Farmer

SXSW Winding Down

Saturday is the last real day of SXSW.  Everyone heads home tomorrow, but there are still a ton of exciting shows tonight (see SXSW Schedule for Saturday). But before we strike out on out on the Saturday night adventure, I have some final thoughts from SXSW 2009:

  • I am still buzzing about the thunderous, apocalyptic roar of Wovenhand.  I was up until 4:30 this morning writing my review of the Wovenhand show.  I assure you nothing I could have written would paint the picture of what we saw last night.  They are headed to Europe for a few weeks, so check their tour dates at the Wovenhand mySpace page.  Do not miss a chance to see this amplified roar of worship.
  • We spent the afternoon with a collection of hot rappers at the SXSW Holy Roller Rapper event in East Austin.  Tre9, Kaboose, LeCrae, Braille and the rest of the crew are  a great bunch of guys who are being belittled and marginalized for rapping their faith.  Good for you guys.  The pure at heart and brave in spirit will be persecuted.  Endure for your rewards will far surpass the indignities you encounter.
  • Best quote of the week came from Pigeon John, “If God wants to talk to you, He will make you cry.”
  • It is a jarring transition to go from the Interactive festival where everyone walks around with their laptops open, typing as they walk, to the music festival where people say to you, “Yeah dude, we will check it your website in a few days when we get on the Internet”.  People live in different worlds in this country and I am grateful for diversity.
  • We have been happily surprised by the Christian music artist’s shows at SXSW.  We thought we knew this music pretty well but Anathallo, Brooke Waggoner, Dignan, Seabird, Paper Route and certainly Wovenhand were all better shows than we could have imagined. See all of our SXSW show reviews by clicking on this link.
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    Anathallo at SXSW

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    Anathallo Pounding Percussion @ SXSW

  • It is encouraging to see God glorified in the midst of this worldly event.
  • It is impossible to truly capture the SXSW music festival with words.  It must be experienced.  It is a sensory overload with music everywhere.  We have done our best to capture SXSW and we have had a good time bringing it to you, but we are not finished.  We have a few hours of interview video we will edit and post over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned.
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  • I am really happy to live in Austin, Texas. First, it is just a cool city.  We stumbled upon this little business pictured below while walking to the Asthmatic Kitty party on Friday. Second, Austin is in Texas and Texans are nice and polite.  The lead singer of the New Zealand based band, The Renderers told a story last night about how she had run out of minutes on her cell phone because the customer service agent at her cell phone company could not understand her when she was trying to buy more minutes.  Two people heard her dilemma as they walked by and offered to let her use their cell phones and to help her get the minutes renewed.

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    East Austin Oasis

My feet hurt and I am sleepy.  With all of that, I am excited to see the four Christian music artists shows we can reach tonight.    We will put up our thoughts before we go to bed tonight, but tomorrow we will happily take a Sabbath rest.

SXSW 09 In The Daylight: Whole Lotta Hip-Hop

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Our last day at SXSW started around 1PM at The George Washington Carver Museum. There, we saw a collection of some of the best in Christian hip-hop. Lecrae, Kaboose, Braille, Tre9 and many more hit the tiny stage at a rapid fire pace to a very excited crowd. The problem was that even though we got there close to an hour before the show was supposed to start, the theater was already at capacity, and there were no signs of that ending before the emcees hit the stage.

By chance though, we ran into Tre9, a hip-hop artists himself, but also the creator of DASOUTH.COM, and also the organizer of the event. He quickly was able to help us and only took us back stage to watch the show, but introduced us to all the artists playing the event. Thanks alot man..

tre9

You can check out Tre9‘s music on Tre 9

I couldn’t get pictures because of where we were, but I will tell you that both Kaboose and Braille tore the stage up.

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Kaboose is a big lovable guy who just gushed on the crowd in between his lighthearted but extremely complex blend of hip-hop. He talked a lot about the meanings and thoughts behind his songs over his fifteen minute set, allowing the crowd to see his heart along with his talent.  Don’t hear me saying that his music is lite though, the tracks he played off his latest CD, Excuse Me, sounded like they were defiantly testing the theater’s speakers for capacity.  Kaboose is a SOLID hip-hop artist with a lot to give, and this show displayed that he loves giving it.

You can get Kaboose‘s music on Kaboose

A quick transition saw a white dude in a jumpsuit, carrying a helmet, wander on to the stage, and announce his name was Braille.

braille

Braille is one of those guys that you hope keeps making music because you know that there isn’t anybody quite like him.  He has this strange manner of speaking that makes him almost charming on stage.  His music is serious in nature, and he is obviously a talented guy, but it was the little things like talking about his family and asking the crowd to help him drive his imaginary moped that will stick with people after the show is long over.  He gave me one of his CDs,  a recent colab with fellow artist Symbolyc One called Cloud Nineteen, and if it as anything like his show, I know I am in for a treat.

You can get that album, and the rest of Braille‘s stuff on Braille

We spent the next hour interviewing Tre9, Lecrae, and Kaboose, and left, unfortunately, before we could watch the end of the show. We came back over to the Austin Convention Center, and no sooner had I begun to write this post, Rootbeer began to play in the next room!

rootbeer

If you read my post on the show we saw Friday, you know what to expect. Unlike the show at Troubadour, the boys seemed to be working the crowd a lot more. The place was pretty empty at the beginning, but by song two people were rushing to the front of the stage, dancing, and singing along. The boys did a great job, and the crowd was eating it up.

You can get Rootbeer‘s EP on Rootbeer

From here we are going to be hitting a few more late shows (including a solo Pigeon John), and then SXSW is done for us.  If you are up real late tonight, check us out, because will have our final update from SXSW 09.