The fourth day of SXSW Music – part of the 30th annual South by Southwest in Austin, Texas – felt like a slight lull in the week, being a Thursday, with many attendees saving their energy to go all out on the last two full days Friday and Saturday. Downtown Austin was a bit dirtier, smellier, and more crowded but less hot than the previous day and didn’t deter too many folks from heading out to enjoy the music and probably people watch as well.
Connecting Communities at Performing Arts Centers
Larry Kosson (Kosson Talent) moderated a three-person panel on engaging and integrating performing arts with local communities. Kev Marcus (Black Violin) discussed his band’s devotion to get kids excited about music through hundreds of shows at local schools that encourage audience participation and social media use. Patrick Brogan (ArtsQuest) spoke about his organization’s efforts to provide access to cultural events and similar programs to residents of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. For those interested on an international level, the panel cited consulates, embassies, and tourism boards for funding options.
How to Build a Music City
Joey Hendrickson (Columbus Music Foundation) moderated the popular session about the ways to build a thriving music city. Kate Becker, Linda Lorence Critelli, and Don Pitts each spoke about their respective efforts in Seattle, New York, and Austin to foster their local music scenes. Much of the discussion revolved around reaching out to other like-minded people in order to get the ball rolling on issues like preserving small venues and lobbying.
This was my second time catching a performance by New York rock band Sunflower Bean. With access to better sound equipment and a larger venue at the Convention Center’s Radio Day Stage, the trio was able to engage its hard sound on tracks like “Easier Said” and fully embrace the space. And with more allotted time, the trio went on longer solos and just jammed.
Brother-sister duo XYLØ is another sibling act (Chase and Paige Duddy) invited to SXSW, which is still quite refreshing to see. I think many of us are still hurting from not hearing much new material from Oasis due to the ongoing issues over the years between Liam and Noel Gallagher. When siblings get along, the music can be quite fulfilling, as evidenced by the low-tempo electronic tunes of “L.A. Love Song” and “America.”
Eleanor Friedberger, also known as one-half of the indie duo Fiery Furnaces, performed a chill alternative folk rock set at the Clive Bar. While weird to see Eleanor sans her brother, many of her solo songs still had tinges of the earlier works with her brother like “Because I Asked You” and “Roosevelt Island.”
I have wanted to see the San Diego-based duo Little Hurricane for a few years now, and tonight was finally the time to see them perform at Clive Bar. Singer/guitarist Anthony Catalano and drummer Celeste Spina met on Craigslist in order to find musicians to work with, and they clicked musically with a dirty blues sensibility. Their blues rock melodies were infectious, encouraging everyone to shake their heads to the beats of “Haunted Heart” and “Crocodile Tears,” as well as my personal favorite “Give Em Hell.” The band also debuted a song they just wrote last week called “Dream Machine.”
Note: All photos taken by the author.