Saturday evening around 4pm is always the bleakest: it’s when 6th Street takes on the air of a state fair that’s about to pack up for the season, where the sidewalks are littered with chewed-off and torn wristbands and the barrage of riffs from competing sound checks get to be too much. The adrenaline of South By Southwest has all but expired on that dirty stretch of Austin’s pavement at that point, and it’s like the bands that flooded those few square blocks, the ones that proved, once again, that this is the place where the best up-and-coming talent comes to try their luck with a new audience and succeed, are little more than a faint memory. More
Most bands at South By Southwest have something to prove, blitzing through three twenty-minute sets a day, in between breakfast tacos, in order to get their music into the ears of a bunch of people who’d never heard of them before. Others park the band van somewhere south of the river, get plastered on Shiner Bock and try not to wind up in a headlock from the burly ex-biker bouncer at the Parish or Swan Dive so that they can watch their former touring buddies smash their guitars to pieces. More
South By Southwest music festival in Austin is underway, but early this morning, tragedy occurred when, according to Talking Points Memo, a driver, fleeing a DUI checkpoint, plowed into a crowd, killing two and injuring 23. More
If you read any pop culture website, have a Twitter account, or login to Facebook sometime this week, you are going to, in some way, experience South By Southwest.
You might experience some fun dispatches from musicians, complaints from fans, conjecture on whether the festival’s original appeal has been lost, straight up unfiltered hatred, or even catch wind of plans to invade the festival with an armed march (I knew I could count on you, Alex Jones). Trying to pin down South By Southwest as one simple thing is running a fool’s errand these days, and it’s hard to take a jaded musician’s pat dismissal of the fest’s cultural significance when this year includes panels with exclusive interviews (via Skype) with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange (whose current cultural/political significance far outweighs any band, and I mean ANY band, who are playing this year). SXSW is now a ballooning, unwieldly parade of technology, film, music, and overpriced pizza, and there’s not a single reason to be upset about that. Here’s why. More