Well, the big event begins this week in Austin and we’re ready. Even though the “official” music doesn’t start until Wednesday or so, some folks we know are heading down early in order to get their bearings and hammer out a plan.
Because, you see, you can’t do the SXSW music festival without a plan. That would involve figuring out who you absolutely MUST see, and who you can see if you can’t get to your favorites (which is always a distinct possibility). This year, the big name that jumps out at most of us would be The Decemberists, who are promising to track their entire upcoming new album The Hazards Of Love on Wednesday night. The lines should be long outside of Stubb’s Barbecue, but don’t fear – you can listen to the entire show live on National Public Radio or stream it from their website. Otherwise, The Hazards of Love will be available on Tuesday.
MP3: “The Rake’s Song” by the Decemberists
Another act we want to see is Black Joe Lewis, an Austin-based blues and R&B artist. He just put out the EP Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, with an eight-piece horn-heavy unit, and Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! also with the Honeybears. He’s playing multiple dates at SXSW, including a free in-store at Waterloo Records.
MP3: “Bitch, I Love You” by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
The farther you get from the “official” stuff at SXSW the more fun you have. There are literally hundreds of side and day parties, most of ‘em free and freewheeling. One of the best side events each year is the Mess With Texas event in Waterloo Park on Saturday; this year the headliners will be the Black Lips and the classic L.A. punk band The Circle Jerks.
MP3: “World Up My Ass” by the Circle Jerks
And one of my must-see bands is Magic Christian, a San Francisco band that could be called a supergroup. The band features Cyril Jordan (Flamin Groovies), Eddie Munoz (the Plimsouls) and Clem Burke (Blondie), and they play a combination of 1960s garage rock and 1980s power pop.
MP3: “All The Stars” by Magic Christian
So, we’re ready for the madness and hopefully we will file some posts from Austin in coming days. See you there!
Official SXSW music schedule
Austin Chronicle list of unofficial side and day parties