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SXSW’s Curtain Call

Mar 22, 2009 By Evan Rytlewski
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Austin took one last deep breath in preparation for South by Southwest’s last call Saturday, when the annual bonanza offered a final chance to see some of its biggest headliners. For those who somehow missed The Thermals, Kid Sister or the Circle Jerks, they capped their weekends with performances at Mess With Texas in Waterloo Park, one of SXSW’s largest free day parties. And for those who missed Cursive’s at Mess With Texas, they played another show just an hour later at the Radio Room. Cursive minimized redundancy by mixing up the set lists as much as they could. For Mess With Texas, they played nearly all of 2003’s The Ugly Organ from start to finish; for their follow-up show, they gave the same treatment to 2000’s Domestica.

Cursive’s Radio Room set was preceded by a performance from a reunited Frodus, the foam-mouthed D.C. post-hardcore outfit that called it quits a decade ago. They had fans moshing from the start, but it wasn’t until the closer, “Explosions,” that those fans stormed the stage and began diving off of it. For three minutes the tent was anarchy, as bodies, bottles of water and in at least one instance a chair were launched offstage toward the crowd. It was like the past decade hadn’t happened.

Fittingly for a conference that at its core is a celebration of the music industry, one of L.A.’s success stories, the Silversun Pickups, was among the batch of closing headliners. There was a time when bands might have played the festival hoping to impress a major-label A&R rep, scoring a record deal, but with the lowered expectations of today’s music industry, the best most can rationally hope for is maybe catching the ear of a couple bloggers. The Silversun Pickups offer an example of an alternative root to success for indie-rock bands that doesn’t involve crossing fingers for a Pitchfork write-up. Without signing to a major label, they came to fame through sheer ingenuity and elbow grease. When the industry began to take interest in their music, they played their hands right, parlaying the buzz into real radio play and subsequently a hit single. The band’s midnight set suggested the band could have commercial staying power. Where they once could expect much of the crowd to exit after they finished “Lazy Eye,” the entire, last night the entire, oversized audience stuck around after the single to see the rest of the show.

Saturday night’s headliners also offered an array of big-name comedians for those who needed a break from the ear plugs. With all the people dressed in leather jackets and scarves despite the Texas heat, and hundreds of desperate bands, SXSW made for an easy target. Eugene Mirman, now one of comedy’s top draws thanks to his “Flight of the Conchords” exposure, riffed on the festival in between his absurdist rants, ending his set by bringing out singer John Wesley Harding, playing Art Garfunkel to Harding’s Paul Simon on a version of “Mrs. Robinson.” Todd Barry, another deserving performer that’s benefited from “Conchords” appearances, deviated from scripted material to spend much of his set chatting with a faceless dance-punk band called Giggle Party. A member of the group told Barry they applied to play SXSW but were rejected.

“Really?” Barry smirked. “Because it doesn’t seem like this festival turns down a lot of people. Today there was a band playing in the laundry room of my hotel.”


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izmir sohbet
March 16th 2010

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May 7th 2010

SXSW conference was just like the celebration of music and musicians. At its end crowd was really satisfied with the music .  People enjoyed the great music.  Many examples can be given where people got to listen the melody and breath taking music.  Most of the bands performed really good.  Many performers even might have benefited from this event. People got to know the new talents and their nice work.

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