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SXSW: Boston bound for Austin

Posted by James Reed  March 12, 2012 02:07 AM

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pictured: Grimes

It's the night before I head to the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, and already I've got the bloodshot eyes I'll be sporting for the next straight week.

It's impossible not to: From March 13-18, thousands of bands, industry folks, and every stripe of music fan will descend on Austin for performances, day parties, and panels (not to mention breakfast tacos and a couple of cold ones). The fun starts in the morning and usually ends the next morning.

Even the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, will be there on Thursday to deliver the keynote address. I'll be blogging on Sound Effects throughout the week, but for more up-to-date observations, follow me on Twitter: @GlobeJamesReed.

I've just spent 90 minutes carefully mapping out my show schedule -- and that's only the first day. Oy. I'll make sense of it all eventually. In the meantime, here's a partial list of the bands I'm excited to see, time permitting:

Fiona Apple
Spoek Mathambo
Jesus and Mary Chain
Michael Kiwanuka
The Magnetic Fields
Lost in the Trees
Chiddy Bang
Dr. John
Kali Mutsa
Sharon Van Etten
Bear in Heaven
Robert Glasper
Big K.R.I.T.
Jimmy Cliff
Justin Townes Earle
The Pines
Jack White
Billy Joe Shaver
Nite Jewel
Class Actress
Cheyenne Marie Mize
M. Ward
Alabama Shakes
Scott Matthew
The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart
Lower Dens
Andrew Bird
Kat Edmonson
Field Report
The SteelDrivers
Dayna Kurtz
John Fullbright
Vex Ruffin
Alejandro Escovedo

Showing some hometown love, I'll also be keeping tabs on bands with local ties, including Debo Band, Quilt, and Providence's Brown Bird. I'll drop by Berklee College of Music's day party on Friday. And in keeping with our city's pride, both The Dig and local music blogger Ryan Spaulding's Outlaw Roadshow will be hosting their showcases on St. Patrick's Day. You can take the Bostonian out of Boston, but....

I'll be a one-man show down in Austin, but I'll do my best to keep pace with the madness. And I promise I'll have those bloodshot eyes to prove it.

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About Sound Effects

The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.


Sarah 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's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at