OA: Samantha Stiles Column April 03, 2009

Here’s more ink on bands at SXSW

Dirty, exhausted and hung-over musicians in sweat-stained T-shirts already have packed up their vans and hit the road on the rest of their spring tour stops since the annual South by South West (SXSW) music festival ended March 21.

All of the equally dirty, exhausted and hung-over music bloggers and writers have had some time to jot down the top live performers from SXSW and the new acts to watch in 2009.

For all of you music lovers who didn’t make the trek to Austin, Texas, this year for the festival (myself included), here are some of the bands that got some online ink.

A lot of buzz surrounded Grizzly Bear, Vivian Girls, Wavves, Crystal Stilts and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart prior to the music fest’s kick off.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s self-titled 2009 indie pop CD has sat in the “Best New Music” highlight box on http://www.pitchfork.com for awhile now. I’d include a quote from the review here, except it’s riddled with profanity (in a good way), and I’m sure it’d never make it past my editor.

The Rosebuds, The Avett Brothers, Pretty & Nice, Silversun Pickups, Monotonix, Explosions in the Sky, Glasvegas, The Mae Shi and, of course, plenty of others made it onto top performances lists.

Ladyhawke, a lone female dance band, would have topped my list of must-see performers.

But it’s all subjective, hundreds if not thousands of bands at SXSW perform just about anywhere with an electrical outlet. In year’s past, I’ve seen bands play in parking lots, under bridges and at pool halls.

To get to the festival is certainly noteworthy.

Denver had about 13 bands representing this fine state at SXSW: The Overcasters, The Epilogues, The Photo Atlas, Born in the Flood, Meese, 3Oh!3, Dressy Bessy, Young Coyotes, Pictureplane, The Wheel, Wovenhand, Adai and Aloft in the Sundry.
Despite bluegrass and jam bands being the overwhelming genre of choice in Colorado, the Denver bands represented genres from white-boy crunk to experimental goth-country.

I’m actually pretty intrigued by Wovenhand. It looks like the band is touring internationally now, but it will return to Denver for a May 29 show at Swallow Hill.

I think a misconception of SXSW is that all the bands are hipster, emo folk. While the majority of them might fall into that category, hip-hop and rap are definitely edging their way into the scene. Big Boi and Knux played shows, and for what it’s worth, so did Kanye.

The point of the festival is to show off new musicians and for new musicians to try to snag record deals. But big acts show up to steal a bit of the spotlight, such as Metallica, Erykah Badu and Devo. Yes, Devo, the band best known for the song “Whip It.”

Obviously, anything goes at SXSW.


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