SXSW 2009 Wrap-Up & Final Thoughts

One last post about South By Southwest 2009 to rule them all. I’m sure everyone who didn’t go is sick of hearing about it by now, but it is pretty much the greatest festival in the world, so one final discussion is warranted. If Bonnaroo is the Super Bowl of fests, SXSW is the World Cup, March Madness, and the Olympics all rolled into one. There simply isn’t anything else like it. So I’m going to ramble on about what I took from this year’s event after a photo journey through our SXSW 2009:

All photos by Clint Miller:

Anathallo:

Port O’Brien:

Loney Dear:

Wavves:

Anni Rossi:

M Ward:

Department Of Eagles:

St. Vincent:

Camera Obscura:

Oh No Oh My:

Arizona:

Bell:

Women:

Evangelicals:

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band

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SXSW Day 4 (Saturday): One Last Night To Get Dirty

Clint got a little earlier start on the final day than me, and went to see Still Flyin’:

After I awoke from a too short slumber I headed out to the 40 Watt showcase at Side Bar. Our gracious host Larry dropped me off and I went inside to catch a proper Still Flyin’ set, something I wanted to do since I caught their acoustic set the other night at the Todd P. party. To my surprise D.J. from Still Flyin’ did a short hilarious rap set as his alter ego Excalibrah. It was a nice change from the serious rock shows I had been catching during SXSW. After that Still Flyin’ came on stage with too many members to count. I really enjoy the beach music meets big family band thing that they do. The stand out song was “Rope Burn” which shows they have the power to craft incredibly catchy indie pop songs similar to their sister band Je Suis France. As soon as the set ended I hoofed it to Waterloo Park to meet up with the rest of the Ohmpark crew.

Excalibrah:

Still Flyin’:

After that we met back up at the Mess With Texas free mini-festival in Waterloo Park. This event features two big stages and showcases bands that have been playing SXSW shows all week.


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SXSW Day 3 (Friday): School Of Seven Bands


All photos by Clint Miller

The three of us that embarked on this road trip a week ago have been hitting it hard everyday and after staying up until nearly dawn Thursday night, we had to catch up a little it on sleep. So unfortunately we almost completely missed Friday’s day parties. We did, though, make it to the Asthmatic Kitty showcase just in enough time to catch DM Stith. This day party was very much in the peripheral of the where the main SXSW action was, and there was only a small, comfortable crowd for this one. They played in a garage of some art center, and the vibe reminded me of WonderRoot. I have been listening to DM Stith‘s full-length, Heavy Ghost, like crazy for the last week so this was a show I was very excited about. The album seems to possess a lot of instrumentation and production tricks, so I was skeptical as to how good he could reproduce the songs live, but with a fairly minimalistic 3-piece setup, he played his stuff beautifully.

After that I walked around the area near that day party and checked out a few others nearby. I caught a little bit of The Mae Shi at some interesting venue that had an outdoor roller skating rink and while they were playing, the crowd surrounded them with a big parachute looking thing that the band played under. It was a cool scene, and I think I’m coming back to this venue for something again later today.

After that we headed to the Radio Room where our choice of showcase for the night. First up we caught Micah P. Hinson. I listened to one of his albums one the way to Texas and it was pretty cool. He seemed to have a ton of technical difficulties for this show, and while it didn’t really match up to what i heard of his studio work, I did enjoy the set. His clothing was a hodgepodge of clashing styles, and it paralleled his music. He would go from a Texas sort of country to loud noise jams at the drop of a hat.


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SXSW Day 2 (Thursday): I Guess I’m Gloating


All Photos by Clint Miller

We started day two with a mad dash through traffic to make it to the I Guess I’m Floating day party in time to catch Oh No Oh My. We made it moments after they began their set, and they went on to play all my favourites off of Dmitrij Dmitrij plus a new one. It was a really good first set of the day.

Next up was a band called Arizona. I have no idea how I have heard of this band, but for some reason the name sticks out to me. They turned out to be great, with some serious guitar jams. The lead singer had a really unique, weird voice that added an interesting dimension to their sound. Check it:


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SXSW Day 1 (Wednesday): Return To The Center Of The Universe


All photos by Clint Miller

We left Savannah, Georgia a few hours after the St. Patrick’s Day parade and made the cross country trek to Austin, Texas. Upon arriving at SXSW around noon, everyone in our crew was already exhausted from traveling, but there is certain adrenaline that carries you through upon arriving to such a magical experience, and we were poised to tackle the day regardless of our condition.

We started things off at Paste magazine’s day show, and it was a fantastic way to kick this thing off. First up, I finally got to see Anathallo and they were everything I had hoped for. They churned out a set mostly made up of Canopy Glow tunes, and they sounded spectacular. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the day.

We hung out a little while and then checked out Port O’Brien. I had listened to their last album and enjoyed it, but it didn’t really blow me away. Live, the songs took on new life, and the dueling solo contest between the two guitarists was fun to watch. In typical SXSW fashion, the band had arrived in town about 10 minutes before their set and even said their manager was driving their van around in circles during their set because they didn’t have time to find a parking spot. It was apparent they were “winging” the set, but it sounded tight despite that.


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