SXSW: Mission Statement

AUSTIN - The mission for my maiden SXSW voyage is simple: see as much good music as possible. Perhaps that seems obvious or quaint or even boring but to me it's a no-brainer. Three nights, two days, hundreds of great bands - it would be silly not to take full advantage. So I won't spend much time trying to get into the "hot, exclusive" parties (sorry, Perez) or tracking down celebrities (although it was cool to see J Mascis just chilling in the lobby of my hotel) or even eating any delicious barbecue. It will simply be as much rock as I can handle.

The scene in Austin is about what you'd expect. Pretty much everybody looks like they are in a kinda crappy indie rock band. And that's probably somewhat accurate. Everyone is wearing their finest and most outlandish sunglasses. (In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit I'm guilty of this one.) Personally, I'm just happy to be here and to be safe; apparently it wasn't the greatest day to be flying Southwest Airlines.

Tonight is pretty open so the plan is to get acquainted with the main drag, try to figure out my way around the town and hopefully catch R.E.M. It's pretty hard to pass up the chance to see one of the 10 greatest bands of all time in a relatively small setting. And the new album only runs 35 minutes, so they will have to play some older stuff. Expect lots of reports starting tomorrow morning.

By David Malitz |  March 12, 2008; 9:30 PM ET SXSW
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REM in a small club has got to be cool. hope it works out. and bo bice?

Posted by: T.D. | March 13, 2008 12:12 AM

No delicious barbecue at all? Really? That's a mission: impossible that I wouldn't accept.

Posted by: Lindemann | March 13, 2008 7:24 AM

Dave Malitz's diet consists solely of pizza and bagels. Needless to say, he also throws microwavable Bagel-Bites into the mix as well. He's six feet tall and weights about 50 lbs. Bar-B-Q isn't in his vocabulary.

Posted by: Ben W. | March 13, 2008 11:16 AM

David, do yourself a favor and go to the Stephen F. Austin Hotel's second floor bar on the 14th at 11 p.m.

A 19-year-old singer/songwriter named Sahara Smith will be there.

This girl (and I say that with a rolled 'r' like in the African-American community) comes through the car speakers like nobody I've heard since the first time I heard Eva Cassidy.

She's been compared to Dianne Reeves, Allison Krauss, and Deirdre from Celtic Woman.

Posted by: From the car | March 13, 2008 12:42 PM

@From the car: That's a fine, fine tip. Especially since she sings a song about me. Sing, Sahara, sing!

Posted by: J. Freedom | March 13, 2008 1:09 PM

REM is not one of the ten greatest bands of all time. they are one of the fifty greatest bands of all time.

Posted by: george f. will | March 13, 2008 4:05 PM

Suggestions while you're there:

Saturday, Five Star Iris. South Tent, Brush Square Park. Free, Free drinks, invite/badge required. 1 p.m.

Mpress Records: The Kin, Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers, Soho Lounge, 217 E. Sixth St., Austin, TX. Free, Free Drinks, Invite/Badge Required. Noon. | RSVP to

Rachael Ray Day Party: AutoVaughn, Beauty Bar on 6th St. Saturday the 15th at noon

Posted by: Old Town | March 14, 2008 9:31 AM

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