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SXSX 2012 Report

There is no way to prepare for South By Southwest. Each year the world famous music, film and interactive festival utterly transforms the city of Austin. For two weeks, the city is truly the cultural epicenter of the (western) world. Being so close, many a Lake Flatonian endured the traffic on I-35 to migrate North in the hope of perhaps catching a glimpse of the next breakthrough act, or at least enjoying some free tacos. The atmosphere on 6th street was comparable to a political revolution or black Friday in Walmart, not that I have experienced either. The music blared from every possible corner, the smell of food stimulated the senses and there were more $15 sunglasses than you could see west of the Jersey Shore. And then the architects arrived. Due to the chaos, meeting up with somebody became an achievement all by itself. With over one hundred official venues and lines that always wrapped around the block, seeing a show was difficult. Frankly everything at SXSW is arduous but the satisfaction of seeing a great band makes the whole experience completely worth it. Here are a few of our highlights from the festival, in no particular order: Alabama Shakes (okay maybe there is some order) were out of this world. Lead vocalist Brittany Howard lit up the small tent we were all crowded under with her powerful voice and immense presence. When looking at others in the crowd it became obvious that when Ms. Howard was singing, I wasn’t alone in feeling pure ecstasy. Poor Moon are an off-shoot of the Fleet Foxes and a few lucky LFers stumbled upon them in Barbarella’s on Saturday night. Lost in the Trees received a stamp of approval from Rand Pinson. Hailing from NC, this up and coming band is becoming known for their haunting songs and intricate melodies. Grimes played on the rooftop of a parking garage rented out by Spotify. The ground-breaking electronic duo played some wonderfully atmospheric music while the sun was setting behind them. Not a bad moment. Of Montreal played an energetic set and surprised many of us who, before then, were quite ambivalent about the band which isn’t from Montreal. Other acts attended were Tennis, Craft Spells, Sbtrkt, Asap Rocky, La Sera among others. The wide spectrum of musicians—from established legends to fiddlers playing on street corners—is what makes SXSW such a fantastic celebration of music. Leaving Austin I saw a stop sign practically falling over due to the weight of all the flyers taped to it. That’s all you really need to know. Just go
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