A week on the scene
This year's SXSW offered plenty of memorable musical moments, but it was a thoroughly negative experience for Steve Freeman, publisher/editor of The Edge, the SA-based monthly magazine devoted to Texas hard-rock.
Since 2003, The Edge has sponsored the Quadruple Heart Bypass Rockfest, a four-night Austin showcase for bands not chosen to play at SXSW. This year, however, according to Freeman, SXSW officials expressed their disapproval of the event by revoking press credentials for The Edge's writers and threatening to blackball bands and sponsors who participate in the QHBR. Toni Torres, office manager for The Edge, says one of the festival's sponsors responded by pulling out of the Friday, March 18 showcase, leaving The Edge scrambling to pull together an extra $2,000.
Torres says QHBR also faced consistent harassment during SXSW, including Austin police officers placing barricades in an alley to prevent a band from loading out; a mysterious loss of electricity at The Spill on Thursday, March 17; and a prolonged war of words the following night with a SXSW committee member who objected to Edge staffers handing out free t-shirts on 6th Street and brought fire marshals to Platinum X to remove members of the audience (ostensibly because the club had exceeded its capacity).
The following morning, a frazzled Freeman suffered a heart attack. He was placed in intensive care, and is currently recuperating at home. "He gave us a big scare, but he's going to live," Torres says. "We had the worst couple of weeks in a long time."
SXSW officials did not respond to phone calls from S&F.
It's raining Mem
New Orleans R&B singer Mem Shannon drove cabs in the French Quarter for 15 years, and never got a chance to set foot outside the Crescent City. Over the last decade, however, he's traveled the world with his funky combination of old-school, Stax Records soul grooves (he named his 2001 album Memphis In The Morning) and second-line New Orleans rhythms. Shannon and his ace backing band, the Membership, are currently promoting their new album, I'm From Phunkville (Northern Blues Music), which includes contributions from Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood. They'll perform at The Cove (606 W. Cypress) on Thursday, April 7. Showtime is 9 p.m., and the cover charge is $5.
Compiled by Gilbert Garcia