SXSW recap: Tuesday, March 11

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.)

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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.

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