The Dude.

South By Lomax: Part One

Drove thru intermittent rain to Austin with my dad, who is here in his newish capacity as the manager of country chanteuse Sunny Sweeney. It's great to have him back in the game after his few years of semi-retirement. Over the years, he has managed Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Kasey Chambers and Rocky Hill, among others, and it's looking like he has at last latched on to the right act at the right time.

So anyway, we caught up as we munched Antone's Original Po Boys and listened to the magic iPod, which hit us with an incredible random shuffle of following the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me" with Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." Syd Barrett has to be smiling somewhere.

As for Roky Erickson, he's right here in A-Town, along with tens of thousands of lesser mortals. I waited in line behind a few hundred of them at the convention center here in the credentials line. I struck up a convo with a girl who drove down here from Alaska pretty much just to see Iggy Pop.

"I heard his new album's pretty weak," I said. "The reviews have been pretty lousy."

"Yeah, that's 'cause music critics suck," she said. And I guess we kinda do.

Got my badge and my swag bag and headed over to my digs at the downtown Omni. It's an atrium-style joint not unlike a Hyatt, only the difference is that one half of this place is an office building. So while I'm sitting in here swilling wine and plotting whether to see Clem Snide at Emo's or Sondre Lerche at The Current, I can gaze at people 100 yards away toiling in cubes under signs that say things like "Sell Like A Champion Today!" So yeah, music critics may suck, but our jobs don't.

Last night's music experience was a bit lighter than the rest of these will be. I caught Charlie Louvin and the aforementioned Ms Sweeney at The Parish to kick off the evening. Louvin's show was a disappointment. The man himself said his best days were behind him, and it was hard to disagree.

I attended the show with a certain music editor who shall remain nameless who told me he hadn't touched a drink or cigarette since October while clutching a beer and a smoke. It was, he said, South By after all. And he didn't like my dad's act and wasn't afraid to tell me so. Yeah, music critics do suck, especially the honest ones. And at any rate, Sweeney most decidedly does not suck, so there! (Ethics probably demand that I leave it at that.)

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And then it was time for something completely different, so I headed a few blocks down Sixth to one of Matt Sonzala's many H-Town rap throwdowns. K-Rino, the conscience and one of the patriarchs of Houston rap, spit fucking fire like only he can -- seeing a founding father like him in action is not unlike catching Carl Perkins in the '70s. These guys are not getting their just due yet, but their time will come.

Devin the Dude and his Coughee Brothaz closed the show. I'm not sure if Devin ever got around to rapping himself, and the posse lacked the military precision I've seen them operate under elsewhere, so it was a bit of a shambles. When I left, about 1:40, there was about 20 people on stage with Devin, who by then was higher than a thumbtack of a flyer of Reba McEntire.

Me, I was hongry, so I bought three tacos from a cart and headed for bed. -- John Nova Lomax

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