South by Southwest Music Festival + Conference
@ Austin, Texas (18th - 22nd Mar. '09)
Feature Special SXSW 2009
- Intro -
Heading for South By Southwest from New York, that is where you are at, Austin, Texas, and the name of this festival comes out of that phrase, we hear. It might be true that the central part of music business is situated either in Los Angeles in the West Coast or in New York in the East Coast, but the hardcore of music culture is here in Austin,Texas... Probably that is what meant behind that name and the long and successful history of this festival held in every March. However what we are dealing with here in Smashing Mag is the last part of the entire festival as it has been having film and interactive conferences since 1994. We have to let you know that what we could manage to cover was only a tiny part of the amazing performances of some handful of musicians and artists of the last 4 days of the festival.|
Roughly counting the names in the artist index of the official "pocket guide" of the festival, the number of the artists and bands appears like more or less than 1800 which is far more than the last year and we could easily find it out by the crowd of the people in the 6th street in the evening whose view reminded me of the world famous Shibuya crossing of Tokyo. The number of the venue listed there is over 70 which include usual music halls, clubs, cafes, bars, restaurants and sectors of a gigantic convention center located right in the heart of the festival and the musicians are playing all over the places at the same time. Needless to say, sometimes your have to find your favorite musicians playing at the same time at a different venue which is a kind of luxurious trouble and wish there were a dozen of us running ups and downs like a hero of the movie, "Matrix". Under this circumstance, we have to let you know it never is possible to cover them all.
In addition to that, the musicians are playing more than listed in the official programme if you check the details of the musician's official site or My Space. For instance, Eli 'Paperboy' Reed & The True Loves, we were talking about a lot before heading there, did 10 shows in the period of the festival there and we covered the very first one @ a shop called Sonny's Vintage which, obviously, was not listed in the programme at all. It was nice to see him in this shop selling lots of classic gear from the 50's and 60's and looked the boys most appropriate as their music flavor was close to Soul and R&B from that ear.
Telling this to the guys of Peelander Z, an all Japanese band based in New York and pretty regular in SXSW, the response was, "Holly Shit! We didn't realize there is a band playing more than us!". Their 8 shows were not the top of chart providing how many shows there. I don't think there are countless number of the bands playing that many times in this festival, it is easy to guess that the majority of the bands and artists did play more than once there. In fact, on Sunday the 22nd, most of the festival activities are supposed to be over, but when I visited a record show called Anton's just for a record hunting and opened a door to the shop, the view comes into my sight was Andy White about to play his set. It was a couple of days before that I saw him the first time for the last 2 decades and covered his show. I guess he was playing more than twice in this festival period for sure.
Nothing surprising from those stories, it was like a flood of music streaming all over the 6th Street and reaching to the every corner of the town. Literally from the right to the left or from the top to the bottom, tremendously vast variety of music was hitting us like a heavy shower. It seems sound insulation means nothing here which was a must in Japan for any venue providing live music. Asking to the local people here, even non festival season doe not make much differences on that matter, but, as might have been expected, right in the middle of the festival period, the flood of music you could experience here is far beyond your imagination and from every corner of the streets to side walks or from parks or empty spaces, or from a private garden to a tiny space of a super market it was filled with music and musicians.
Further more, there were hell of a lots of surprises and happenings as well. I guess the very thing of this year was an appearance of a giant of Metallica. None of us knew nothing about it nor the local people, but the venue was absolutely packed up with amazingly lucky 2100 people and there were over 5000 hanging around there with getting information on that somehow. However that was what we hear from the local news and none of us got a chance to cover it at all.
It was on the 17th when we flew into this rockin' town of Austin, Texas, and started running ups and downs of the town from the following day of the 18th which resulted here in this special feature. With no doubt, each one of us had a plan and marked some favorite musicians, but it was not quite possible for us to cover them all. It was not easy to move on time from one place to another or even if we could manage to do so, sometimes it did not happened because of a long line to a door of a venue. Anyway anyhow the list of musicians we covered are listed on the right hand side of this page, but each one will be posted when we are ready a part from Ruthies Foster whose report was posted on the 26th of March which was the day she kicked off her tour in Japan.
Looking back the history of us covering this festival, the beginning was 2004 done Ryota Mori, one of our photographers, visited there alone and reported his story here. Ever since, we are covering the festival every year and this time it is the 6th storied on the history of this festival. It might sound like a long history, but we all are discovering something new and moving each time. I guess every report will be telling you shortly, but what we know about music is very limited and, each time to come here, there is a new discovery and new experiences. And every time we have that kind of experiences, we feel how happy we are about music. Music is such a wonderful something in our life and we sincerely feel that we could let you know the beauty of music and its culture through this special.
comment and photos by hanasan
|==> Feature Special
SXSW 2009 : Intro (JPN | ENG)
|==> Smashing Mag
top page : JPN / ENG
SXSW 2009 (09/03/18-22 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota, sam, funabashi, hiroshi, hanasan
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