South By Southwest was a fabulous experience for me once again. As always, I missed some of the bands I wanted to see, I heard about other noteworthy bands too late, and I went through the usual hectic insanity of running around all over downtown Austin trying to see as much stuff as possible. I think I saved myself from some of the typical sleep deprivation by putting off most of my writing and photo editing until the whole thing was over. I know, in the world of instant blogging, there is a premium on posting reviews and pictures as quickly as possible, but every minute I spent working on the blog would have been a minute I could have spent watching another concert (or getting just a little bit of sleep). Anyway, after listening to 700-some mp3s plus numerous myspace sites in preparation for SXSW, and after four and a half days of live-music immersion, I’m finally ready to look back at it all… (PHOTOS are coming soon, too, but first I’m going to do some writing.)
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
The music portion of SXSW did not officially begin until Wednesday, but I was in town on Tuesday night and caught a few live bands. Playing at Emo’s, THE HARD LESSONS did not impress me too much. A little too classic-rock radio for my tastes. In the smaller room next door, THE HANDS were putting on a pretty decent show. They sounded good when they were rocking out to twin guitar lines during the epic solos, perhaps going for a bit of My Morning Jacket kind of vibe. The songs themselves didn’t strike me as all that original, but I think The Hands are worth a listen. Down the street, Beerland was hosting the THIS IS AMERICAN MUSIC tour, and I stopped in to see solid (but too short) sets by GLOSSARY and GRAND CHAMPEEN. And then I was back down the street at Emo’s one last time for PORTUGAL. THE MAN. As much I’d like to support a band from my home state of Alaska (how many bands are there from Alaska, anyway?), I can’t say I enjoyed Portugal. The Man very much. Too jam-band for me.