SXSW Redux

Just a quick retrospective on South By Southwest 2010:

Even with a badge, I found it was hard to get into some of the bigger shows if you didn’t get there early enough.

I would say that this year there were a few big name bands, and a zillion unsigned bands/bands on small indie labels. The thing is, is that there are so many bands that you can pretty much just pick and choose whatever interests you regardless of the what the “big shows” are supposed to be. There were a large amount of bands from foreign countries, which I though was cool…many from the UK, Sweden, Germany, Japan etc. Also I ran into plenty of other people in bands i knew who were playing “unofficial” South By southwest shows as well as some very good “street corner bands.”

Many people have complained that it has gotten too big and too corporate, but I felt like the grass roots stuff is still there if you’re looking for it and for me it was a great opportunity to see bands from all over the world I had never heard of that I might never have got a chance to see otherwise. Also usually when I hear that an event has gotten too big, I know that it’s something i’m going to be interested in(too corporate and it just becomes a pop art experience.) I’m not one looking to preserve some cozy “down home” sort of atmosphere in a community.

Moving on, I suppose it’s subjective and everyone has different tastes…but some bands that I thought were cool/interesting were:

Judgement Day (a three piece “string metal” band from Oakland that played a couple free shows just on the street)

Kings Go Forth (from Milwaukee)

Crystal Antlers

The Magic Wands

Casiokids (from Norway)

Ben + Vesper (New Jersey?)

But looking through the schedule, there were tons of bands, and one could find pretty much find any type of music they were looking for. Most of the memorable bands I saw weren’t on my schedule and just ones that I sort of stumbled across while walking around…so in my experience there is still plenty of opportunity for newer music to be discovered there.

It’s rare for me to experience new music, as I never check out new bands and pretty much live in a 1960’s time warp
as far as music and movies…rarely venturing out past the anything from the late 70’s…the exceptions being nostalgic stuff from my childhood and adolescence back when I used to live halfway in the present.

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