Sunday, August 17, 2008

Overdue Recap: NXNP, 8.2.08

I had been looking to North By North Park all summer and when it was all said and done, I think it showed how great this town can be for musicians. I arrived at a little later than I planned, just before noon, checked in to registration, and went into my first panel, Music 101. (panelists Robbie Lloyd (Silva Artist Management), Ben Moore (Independent Producer), Steve Churchyard (Producer INXS/The Pretenders), Chris Cantore (X1FM), Ken Leighton (San Diego Reader), Nathan Dinsdale (San Diego CityBeat), Paul Abbott (Zen Mastering)) and I found the disagreements by the panel to be the most interesting part of the deal. Cantore suggested that MySpace is dead (I very much disagree) while he plugged Twitter, though I think it's premature to assume Twitter can work in any meaningful way for bands. Leighton plugged his own club and held up his flyers, which Dinsdale ended up writing about in the following week's CityBeat. Then there was a lot about how Blink 182 and how great they were and their marketing machine and how they did everything right and how everyone should be just like them. I ended up joining Bart and Al in the back. Like last year, everyone recommended reading All You Need To Know About the Music Business and Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Click keep on reading for the rest.

Between sessions, we went to the bar for a drink and mingled in the lobby, then returned for the keynote speaker, Jerry Heller. He told entertaining stories about the early rap scene and his part in making things happen. I listened with a bit of skepticism because clearly the dude made a fortune off the music of others. He gave his own list of ten rules, but then he jumped around so I didn't catch all ten, but here's some of the advice on how to make it in music. 1. Work harder than everyone else. 2. Emphasize your strengths. Strengthen your weaknesses. 3. Take every "no" personally, use it as a starting point to a "yes". 4. Be imaginative. 5. Don't be discouraged. Remember most people are mediocre. 5. From a label perspective, look for artists that are trendsetters, unique, and the very best at what they do. As artists, be unique, remember it's always great to be 1st, and you should always be involved with people who are the very best at what they do. 6. Be scrupulously honest in everything you do (or it will bite you in the ass later) 7. Always be ruthless on behelf of your projects or clients. 8. From a label perspective, the only thing you have in common with the artist is that you both like what they do, and that is enough. 9. Remember to turn out the lights before you go to bed. (chuckle, chuckle.)

Like I said, I lost count. After that, I went back to the bar for drinks and ran into friends and hung there for a while before returning to my last panel of the day, which was about touring and booking gigs. (Panelists: Bart Mendoza (Touring Musician), Len Paul (SOMA San Diego),
Steve Poltz (Singer-Songwriter), Candace Mandracia (Live Nation/House of Blues), Kristen Worden-Harris (Croshal Entertainment), Tim Mays (The Casbah)) and that ended up being mostly a Q&A, with people asking how to get shows at Casbah, HoB, and Soma and how to get noticed, and what other places there are to play. Some kid asked a really weird question asking if it was ok to call in a bomb threat on a competing venue in hopes of getting more people to your own show and everyone was puzzled at the question, but later I was told that there were rumors in the past of Len from Soma doing just that, so I guess the kid was trying to call him out. Bart also gave me a huge shout out on the panel as the music source in town which was pretty awesome. I wish the past couple of weeks weren't so crazy and I could live up to that kind of compliment.

After the panel, I hung out in the lobby/bar where they announced the San Diego Music Award nominations and we enjoyed the free beers. I thought it was a really great event and hung out for quite a while with various people before heading home. My plan was to catch the shuttle at the Ken and start my night at Chasers, but Matt didn't know where Chasers was, so I had him pick me up and we went there together.

SayVinyl kicked ass and I was happy to see a full set for the first time in a while.
I hear their new record is almost complete too, so I look forward to that.
I hadn't been to Chasers in some time, but I still really like the bar. I hope the neighborhood cleans up some more so people aren't so sketched to go there. Hotel St. George were fun as always, and Matt was performing really loose to the small crowd.

I felt bad leaving after their set, especially after talking to Justin from OAKS, but we had planned on meeting people at U-31 for The Silent Comedy. When we got there, it was insane. There were two lines, each with maybe 50-75 people in each. One was for people paying cover, the longer was for people who already had wristbands. I was also disappointed to hear that people were being given priority if they paid $20 at the door. We found Erika and she walked us in, but then I realized that The Silent Comedy was breaking down their gear. Turns out that the venue decided to switch around set times and move Buddy Akai later. Not cool. It was crazy packed at U-31 and I was out to see music, not "to be seen" as so many people seemed to be, so I left. Matt and the rest of them stayed.

I was trying to figure out where to go and what to do and ran into a couple friends and told them about the lineup switcharoo. North Park looked like downtown, with crowded sidewalks and lines at every bar, which is good for the owners and good for the event, but I was ready for an escape. My friends ended up agreeing to drive up to Lestat's and that's where we ended our NXNP experience, meeting up with Dagart and Jake and watching Greg Laswell. I posted video here and here of the performance. Seeing Greg perform always gives me chills and if you haven't bought his new album, get on it.

After his set, we went to Lou Jones for a quick drink, and intended to go back to catch Steve Poltz, but we ended up staying there and some more friends came and met up with us. There was also some lame bar fight, which I guess, in a way, punctuated the end of a long but fulfilling day in San Diego.

For obvious reasons, Sunday was a lazy day for me, spent with family and a last dinner with my God-sister Claudia before she returned back to Alabama a couple days later.


bryan said...

i'm the one who asked the bomb question.. and if you were a panelist, i'd have a few questions for you... such as While at north by north park, with soo many other bands playing that you never cover, why the fuck did you go see and write about the same bands you write about every week like say vinyl, hotel saint george? The Silent Comedy. This was your opportunity(and even responsibly if you'd like to be the great music blogger of san diego that bart gave you props for) to check out a bunch of bands you've never seen or written about before.. but instead, it's the same bands, I think in august you've recapped 3(including nxnp) silent comedy shows. I'm not trying to bash you or your blog, as i obviously do read it and it does have some cool shit in it from time to time and i'm sure you're a very nice girl, and not evil like len(Oh i wish i would of asked the question and specified it was for for len, since he didn't give an answer) But honestly, you need to diversify your blog and you blew the perfect opportunity to do so. e-mail me if you'd like to give me a more private response, . xoxo -bryan

Rosemary Bystrak said...

1. Matt, from Hotel St. George, was my ride.

2. My plan was to see as many bands as possible. Once I heard about the shuttle situation and bar line situation, that plan changed. With the exclusion of Claire de Lune, there are less than 10 bands on the entire list that I haven't covered or at least seen. In a few cases, if I didn't write about them, it's because if I can't say anything nice, I say nothing at all. Its not my style. In other cases, sometimes I just go to shows and have nothing at all to say about them, or am too backlogged to bother with pictures. Sometimes I just wanna get drunk. Such is my prerogative.

3. I feel I have a responsibility to people who've supported what I'm doing by providing options in my things to listings. As for shows, what I choose to do in my free time with my disposable income is ultimately my decision, and if I just wanna get free drinks at Chasers watching my friends bands with 7 other people in the room instead of standing in a parking lot or in a line at some other bar, such is my choice. If I choose to leave said bar because I'm not in the mood for hard rock/metal or whatever, that's my choice, too. As long as I have a dayjob, my nights belong to me.

Anyway, that's why you have a blog, right? To write about the stuff nobody else does?

Maybe you're not really dissing my blog, but when you attack with "why the fuck?" I'm gonna get a little defensive.