SXSW has been going strong since 1987. It seemingly gets bigger and bigger every year, with hundreds of bands descending upon the city of Austin looking to get noticed. So how does an attendee focus their time and energy in order to separate the good from the not-so-good?
It's simple. You can’t. This will be my third trek down to SXSW and I’ve learned pretty quickly that having a plan in place just doesn’t work. Sure, you can map out who you’d like to see, when and where they’re playing and try to stick to that plan, but it’s just impossible. You’re inundated with music up and down countless venues on 6th street and the surrounding area. It’s overwhelming, but make no mistake — it’s really fun, too.
If you insist on setting up a game plan anyway, SXSW has a great app and website to help navigate your travels. I’ll use both in hopes of getting some guidance, but honestly, I really just love to wander in and out of clubs to see/hear something I knew nothing about. It’s all about musical discovery, and there will be plenty of it down in Austin.
Speaking of which, we’ve already lined up some great new bands to turn you onto. We’ll once again be bringing you live performances from Hotel San Jose, from Portland’s Ages and Ages, young Irish band The Strypes, their fellow countryman Hozier, the bouncy British band Thumpers, soul guy Allen Stone, Londoners Bear's Den, and Mary Lambert of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” fame. We’ll post video of these performances starting Thursday.
On Friday, we’re teaming up with WXPN in Philadelphia, The Current in Minneapolis, KUTX in Austin and KKXT in Dallas for the Public Radio Rocks SXSW Day Stage show. We’ve got another great lineup this year, featuring Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), Lucius, The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Jeremy Messersmith and Temples. Listen in to the whole showcase Friday starting at noon.