10 Signs Your Band Won't Make It at SXSW

Categories: SXSW

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Photo By Craig Hlavaty
With more work, maybe Dave Grohl (seated on drums) can finally find success in the music business.
Being a successful musician really has to be a slice of heaven. And of course the chicks are great.

It's why from the beginning of time men (and women) have taken up instruments in the chance that they will be played in front of many, many others, some of whom could possibly want to have sex with them. Oh, and money is a factor too.

Even guys like Bon Iver get mad tail, and he basically weeps for two hours on stage.

But alas, not everyone will make it in the cruel music biz, that slurring, drunken sea-bitch of an industry.

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The 50 Commandments of SXSW

Categories: SXSW

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For Christ's sake, don't break any of these commandments this year.
By DC9 at Night

You're going to South by Southwest, right? Or you're already there? One of those things is bound to be true. Well, we here at DC9 have got some advice for you, and we've managed to format it all into the style of commandments, because one of our favorite things to do is pretend we're angry gods. Or something like that. We're not really sure, but the doctor told us it was best to just go with it.

So, here they are, the 50 Commandments of SXSW 2013.

See Also: 
- The 20 Most Overused Terms in SXSW Band Bios
- The Faces of SXSW Interactive 2013
- The Famous Faces of SXSW Film Festival 2013


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The Worst Moments from SXSW 2012

Categories: SXSW

You were a little flat at the end of your performance of "Happy Birthday" there, Wolf Violinist
The last few days, Village Voice Media's indefatigable music staff has been regaling you with stories of the best from SXSW 2012. In the midst of these discoveries, we've been culling another list: the worst shit. The acts that ranged from huge bore-fests to downright lame. Below, you'll find our critics' submissions. Let us know if you have similar experiences.

Yawn at Bar 96
Standing up for indie rock in 2012 is like pledging allegiance to Joseph Kony, and we have bands like infantile Chicago quartet Yawn to thank. The pleasure of Bandcamp is that we get to peruse hashtags like "animal collective, avant-pop, beach boys, brian eno, electronic, of montreal, vampire weekend, yeasayer, avant-pop, dreampop, electronic, indie pop, Chicago" and theoretically end up with something that resembles those terms. (Don't forget "andrew bird" and "beirut," guys.) The downside is that a slickly produced EP like Yawn's self-titled collection and last year's Open Season get out to the masses too fast. Tongue-wagging tastemakery takes over, and suddenly folks trying to fill out lineup cards at festivals end up latching onto goobers like these guys without seeing them perform.

Yawn's live act confirms they are a fraud. Thursday's appearance at Bar 96 was the art of trying as hard as possible to seem like they weren't trying. Imagine four unremarkable white dudes with unkempt hair having a rehearsal consisting of directions like "can you make your voice crack a little more when you add some unnecessary harmony to the second verse," or "make sure to introduce that song that obviously isn't slow as a 'slow jam.'" Further banter clunkers: "This is Terry Gross and you're listening to NPR" and "We're in Austin right now, but let's imagine we're in Africa." Even the guy convulsing and spazzing in place to these dilute ripoffs must have been a paid extra. Such earnest attempts to make flippant music -- well, it's enough to make you... yawn. -- Reed Fischer / City Pages


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The Best of SXSW Music: Saturday 3/17/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Nick Rallo
Justin Townes Earle at Stubb's BBQ
So, we come to it: the end of all things. Four days of madness, Doritos, Skrillex and finally, St. Patrick's Day. Before we bid SXSW 2012 farewell, allow us to share our favorite moments from SXSW day four. Later, we'll let you know which shows weren't so hot. Find our favorites below, and if there was a show that blew your hair back -- let us know in the comments. To quote Raymond Chandler: "I went to brush something off my cheek, and it was the floor."

Grupo Fantasma - The Stage on Sixth
Anytime Grupo Fantasma plays, one has to fight the feeling that this might be the best band in the world, or at least the most fun. On Saturday, the Grammy-winning Austin Latin funk-rock ensemble crammed nine musicians onto a small stage under a backyard tent and put on the kind of party-rocking performance that can only be achieved with Latin rhythms, a three-piece horn section, and some seriously whammy'd-out guitar solos. Yes, the lyrics are in Spanish. But this group's endless energy and sunglassed cool spoke more than words ever could. When Grupo Fantasma plays, casual observers become blissed-out converts, and even the older ladies in the crowd get up to shake it. Having seen them twice now -- both times in front of hometown crowds -- I've learned to never underestimate this group's powers of seduction. The only thing this writer doesn't understand is why Grupo Fantasma isn't better-known. -- Ian S. Port

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The Best of SXSW Music: Friday 3/16/2012

Categories: SXSW

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Marco Torres
50 Cent and Eminem at the Austin Music Hall. More photos below.
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day three, along with our sponsored Slim Shady SXSW showcase with 50 Cent and Eminem. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

50 Cent / Eminem - Austin Music Hall
Never mind that Get Rich or Die Trying actually came out in 2003; the moist and dewy crowd at Austin Music Hall last night was plenty psyched for his performance of his debut album on its "10th anniversary." Backed by a full band, 50 came out in his signature vest, though it proved unnecessary as not a single shot was fired at him. His mentor Eminem came out as surprise guest, rapping passionately from beneath his hoodie. The show was further proof that this "artists doing their seminal albums in full" thing is the best trend in popular music. -- Ben Westhoff


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SXSW: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Rock ACL Live

Categories: SXSW
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Photos Courtesy of SXSW
Bruce Springsteen's Thursday started with a keynote speech in one of the big ballrooms at the Austin Convention Center, and ended with a mythic three-hour set at ACL Live across town, in front of a few thousand people cooing "Bruce".

The keynote and the show went hand in hand. If you weren't there this morning at the crack of noon, then the show wouldn't have affected you the way it did those of us who dragged ourselves out of bed -- hey, it's SXSW -- to listen to the Boss speak.

- By Craig Hlavaty of Houston Press' Rocks Off

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SXSW: Ten Things Your Outfit Says About You

Categories: SXSW
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Photo by Erik Hess
Some folks attend South by Southwest to look at bands, but a good many passing through the 2012 edition seem to enjoy the added benefits of being looked at as well. Even without haute couture, music fans and opportunists on the streets of Austin send a wealth of subliminal messages to one another simply by their choice of wardrobe.

Here are the top ten visual subjects who let us point a camera at them, and what their attire was saying -- or screaming -- at us.


- By Reed Fischer
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The Best of SXSW Music: Thursday 3/15/2012

Categories: SXSW
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Nick Rallo
Oh nothing, just a guy in a wolf mask playing "Happy Birthday" on the violin.
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day two. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

A.Dd+ - Kiss & Fly
I was at the Audible Treats showcase at Kiss & Fly to see Dallas' own A.Dd+, who had the entire crowd screaming their name by set's end. Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy facilitated that reaction somewhat by ending the set in the crowd, rapping to each other. They've got the perfect complementary flow, and when they trade verses, they actually look at each other with an intensity rarely seen in rap duos nowadays, gauging where the other might be going. They just got off tour with Detroit's Black Milk, so they've no doubt gotten a chance to refine their delivery. The energy of the set made me stick around for Brooklyn trio Flatbush Zombies, who endured some technical difficulties but thankfully got to perform their hit "Thug Waffle." Bay-area rapper Moe Green followed suit, but the surprise of the night was Georgia Anne Muldrow, an L.A. MC who's just as comfortable with rap as jazz and soul, a beat poet who eschews formal verse/chorus/verse in favor of mantra and message. Her voice is an instrument in itself. Madlib produced her upcoming album, Seeds, and I can't wait to hear the fruits of that interstellar collaboration. - Audra Schroeder


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SXSW 2012: The Band in Heaven Battles Traffic, Time Crunches To Buzzworthy Success

Categories: Local Music, SXSW
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A few South Florida bands are currently floating around Austin -- from Broward and Palm Beach Counties, we've got the Band in Heaven and the Jameses, and from Miami, we've got a few acts like Plains and ANR. The Band in Heaven is perhaps experiencing the most intense trial by fire. The group has never toured extensively together, and only the singer, Ates Ildisak, has ever even attended SXSW. And still, they've gamely agreed to a grueling schedule, with some eight shows in four days, half of those gigs stacked up on one crazy Wednesday.  More »

The Best of SXSW Music: Wednesday 3/14/2012

Categories: SXSW
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Nick Rallo
Sharon Van Etten, at the NPR showcase, was a stunner. Plus, there was a box accordion.
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music editors have selected their favorite moments from SXSW day one. Find 'em below, and let us know in the comments what show blew your hair back.

Christopher Cross - Austin Music Hall
Yacht Rock was so 2007, but Christopher Cross is one cool customer. His 20 or so minutes during the Austin Music Awards on Wednesday at the Austin Music Hall was set on maximum smooth, but with teeth. The Austin music scene has always been associated with hippies and then indie-rockers, but Cross has more Grammys than anyone else in town outside Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson. The four players the fedora-clad Cross had with him had Steely Dan-level chops too. He gritted out "Ride Like the Wind" with quiet anger and yearning for freedom, then brought out local string ensemble Mother Falcon and Austin Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Bay to cruise through "Sailing."

Bonus: Watching Rolling Stone senior scribe David Fricke secretly enjoying himself during Cross' set, or at least try not to fidget too hard waiting for Alejandro Escovedo and reported special guest Bruce Springsteen. Eat your heart out, Kenny Loggins.

Random Thought from Wednesday: Supposedly Kenny Rogers is in town. Anyone know why? -- Chris Gray

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