Sunday, March 22, 2009

SXSW 2009: Another round-up

You know what? It sounds like it's become fun again for Justin Hawkins:

The frontman, formerly of The Darkness, got a fan to hoist him onto his shoulders towards the end of the band’s 11pm (CST) show at Emo's Annex, with the fan making a circular walk around the venue while Hawkins played guitar.

Mind you, you have to watch it with using the fans as personal transportation devices. Those things break down on the motorway, and it's really hard to get spare parts.

Polly Jean Harvey remebered her manners after doing some stuff off the new album with John Parish:
Harvey thanked the packed Austin crowd, noting that it was her and the band's first time in the city, saying that they had been "having a really nice time".

Actually, PJ never having been to an SXSW before is more surprising than the supposed-surprising appearance of Kanye West. The LA Times never quite got round to answering its own question:
Is Austin excited about Kanye West?

But does point out that West's appearance is like introducing myxomatosis into the rabbit population of SXSW:
Kanye will have the attention of nearly every journalist in Austin tonight. Here's hoping he makes the best of it, as the three-hour window in which he's scheduled to perform will be pulling attention away from the hundreds of artists aching for a piece of the spotlight.

And so it proved.

Mind you, West did no more damage to the ecosystem than the lumbering presence of Metallica. It's a strange musical world when Rachel Ray seems less out-of-place at a festival than Lars Ulrich. But then Ray seems to be there for the fun, while for Metallica it long since started to just be a day job.

Pinning all their hopes on their trip to Texas was White Lies, who told XFM they saw this as their big chance to break America:
"Obviously we already have a label over here and they're working really hard for us," he explains, "but this festival is a great springboard. Our album's just coming out, we have a month of touring here after that and if the right people come to your show at SXSW it propels you into a different place. But who knows? It's a good thing to be a part of."

Well, yes, a good thing to be a part of. But it's not really going to replace the need to do the big slog round small cities to build an audience, is it? Indeed, with so many bloody acts turning up to play, you're almost faced with the same struggle to get attention bands usually face, only played out in a much smaller physical place. If every act in the world is there, you have to wonder if there's much point in bothering to turn up.