South by Southwest Music Festival + Conference
@ Austin, Texas (12th-16th Mar '08)
Feature Special SXSW 2008
- Intro -
I heard about a gig being thrown down a manhole by a girl who traveled all the way from Japan for this event, who also happened to get the info from someone else. She said she went to check it out and couldn't believe there actually was a live performance happening down in a manhole!|
As I wrote in my introduction to last year's report, the best and easiest way to describe the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) hosted in Austin, Texas, every March is this : "The whole town is rocking". What's different about this event from other festivals is that the entire town of Austin - from concert venues, clubs, bars, restaurants to clothing stores and supermarket lots - becomes one massive festival site with gigs happening at the same time everywhere.
This year the official number of participating artists totals 1,400 that is 200 more than the previous year. But this number changes frequently as special guests make unannounced appearances or some show get cancelled. And you have to keep in mind that the official number doesn't take into account gigs taking place in locations like down a manhole, people's homes, at parties or on the street - so the actual number of artists taking part is uncountable.
What's great for music fans is not just the festival atmosphere and vibe that permeates throughout the town, but the opportunity to see musicians who don't often come over to Japan in relatively smaller, intimate venues. On top of that, legendary musicians also take part at this festival. An artist that can surely be counted as one of them is the founding member and nucleus of Derek & The Dominoes, Bobby Whitlock. Last year he was honoured for his contributions to music and performed a short set with his wife CoCo Carmel. For this year's event he's brought a band for a full performance. His rendition of the classic "Layla" was inexplicably beautiful and out of this world. For classic rock fans, needless to say, it's music like this that can bring out tears of joy.
From Irish soul legend Van Morrison to Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates, R.E.M. to the soulful vocalist Bonnie Bramlett - whose voice can heard on the legendary album "On Tour with Eric Clapton" as well as the man behind the master piece of U2's, "The Joshua Tree", along with Brian Eno, the producer, Daniel Lanois of a classic album, "Acadie" - these are just the few names of artists appearing in clubs, some in small places like those in Shibuya. It's a dream come true for music fans.
At the at other end of the scale, there are artists participating who are only just beginning to expose their talents to those that are currently creating a buzz and enjoying a new core following. There are artists from Spain or other parts of Europe and South America or Asian coutnries as well to discover here, not just American or British talents.
But because countless numbers of artists are playing over the few days, artists you want to see could be playing at the same time as another one, in another venue, in a different part of town causing a lot of excitement but also a lot of disappointment because you can't be in two places at the same time. Unfortunately this year I had to miss Blues greats R.L. Burnside and Jimmie Vaughan and even my friends' gigs, which is a real disappointment.
We, 4 photographers and 1 writer, of Smashing Mag flew to Texas and, as you can imagine, had to endlessly crisscross all over Austin. Still, with the amount of talent around, it's like a small drop of water in the ocean but I will start uploading the reports one by one. The list of these artists is on the right of this page and I am creating links but at this point it is still a work in progress. I'll keep you up-to-date so check out the headline on the top page of this site.
comment and photos by hanasan, transalated by Michelle McBride
|==> Feature Special SXSW 2008 : Intro (JPN | ENG)
||==> Smashing Mag top page : JPN / ENG
SXSW 2008 (08/03/12-16 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,keco,hoya,miyo,hanasan
SXSW 2007 (07/03/13-18 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,keco,hanasan
SXSW 2006 (06/03/15-19 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,keco,toddy,taisuke,taeko,taiki,hanasan
SXSW 2005 (05/03/16-20 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,toddy,taisuke
SXSW 2004 (04/03/17-21 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota
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