The massive South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, has become in its more than 20 years of existence a mecca for music industry types from aspiring bands to live music junkies. On Wednesday, the official first day of conference (though unofficial parties and performances had begun as early as last Friday), downtown Austin’s venues were packed.
I started the afternoon with the Terrorbird Media/Force Field PR party at Emo’s, catching The Raveonettes’ (pictured) intense reverb-drenched set. Then I headed across Red River Street to Emo’s Annex, essentially a tent in a parking lot, for Jason Collett. The Toronto singer-songwriter’s assembled an impressive band to realize his lush country-infused rock, and he perfectly summed up SXSW’s atmosphere, saying it felt like he was at summer camp. And SXSW is a sort of camp, except that instead of engaging in wholesome activities like archery and singing “Kumbaya” around a campfire, attendees scurry from venue to makeshift venue trying to absorb as much music as possible before passing out from exhaustion (usually brought on by a combination of standing for 12 hours and imbibing an ocean of booze). Later, I went to pick up my SXSW wristband at the convention center and stumbled upon a performance by Ra Ra Riot inside the hall. Despite the miserable acoustics and totally uninviting backdrop of a cafeteria-style room draped in black curtains, the hyperactive sextet managed to enrapture a large crowd with their bubbly chamber pop.
Continue reading "South By Southwest: Day 1"
Photo courtesy of Jalapeño on Flickr
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