photo by Adam Conner-Simons
AUSTIN, TX -- While Bostonians celebrated their Irish heritage today, over in Austin all eyes were on the equally debaucherous affair known as the South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW). The annual five-day event, which kicked off Tuesday, showcases a dizzying amount of music, with 2,000 bands playing hundreds of venues.
The first two-and-a-half days have already seen an ungodly number of surprises, including the Foo Fighters playing new tunes at a secret show at Stubb's Bar-B-Q and Jack White busting out an acoustic guitar for a set of stripped-down White Stripes songs in a parking lot on 4th Street. On Wednesday night, Duran Duran repped for the “aging fiftysomethings” demographic, showing up bands 30 years its junior with a propulsive set that kicked off its looming world tour.
At the 512 Bar earlier on Wednesday there was a younger, home-spun vibe with Converse/DigBoston's “Boston to Austin” party. A stacked line-up of local outfits like Dirty Dishes and Mean Creek steamrolled through concise 25-minute sets in front of an almost entirely new audience. The acts, while frazzled by the non-stop gigging around town, were downright giddy about having a showcase centered around Boston talent.
"It's been complete chaos, running from show to show,” said Kingsley Flood lead singer Naseem Khuri. “But it's great to have an event like this that will make people take notice and help put Boston on the map.”
The diverse musical mix spanned Mystery Roar's throbbing disco-funk and Viva Viva's explosive garage-rock. Bodega Girls ran through a few club-ready tunes from its cheekily-titled new EP “Et Tu Bootay?”, which has a record release March 30 at Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge.
Kingsley Flood, meanwhile, delivered some foot-stompin' roots-rock with the occasional trumpet solo performed from within the crowd. Busting out tracks from last year's “Dust Windows,” the sextet revived the sleepy early-afternoon audience and set the stage for concerts for Dirty Dishes and Viva Viva.
"I don't wanna go home,” Khuri sang halfway through the show, and, with a rapt group of newfound Kingsley Flood fans soaking in the music, you can't quite blame him.
Elsewhere, listeners looking for a break from the unending parade of white guys playing guitars took solace in the rollicking R&B of Raphael Saadiq, who steamed up the windows and classed up the joint with a smooth late-afternoon show at Cedar Street Courtyard for Filter Magazine's Culture Collide party.
[Check back through the weekend for continued updates and photos from SXSW 2011]
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.