Last night the festivities annual South By South West got underway, in the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world that is Austin Texas. Over 1200 bands and oodles of labels are here to showcase their wares to music industry and media from across the globe.
DiS has sent their soberest poshest speaking reporters to witness the hoe-down and eat the bbq. The first report has just been telegramed in...
Bands everywhere. Literally littering the whole of Sixth Avenue, everywhere you turn there's a strum, thud or a howl. It's a vibrant mess of enthusiasm and noise. Queens of the Stone Age played a secret show last night. Robert Plant is in town. Elvis Costello and Billy Idol. That's proper headliners and it's only Wednesday.
At kick-off yesterday the anticipation was bubbling with yankie awe about how many great British bands are here (the names Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs popping up in every local paper and half-heard conversation) but by 1am I can safely say Austin should be proud of itself. Amongst the 17 bands I saw yesterday locals The Chapters (yeah, think bookish swirling indie www) and This Microwave World (keys by the girl who served us our first texan meat platters under rants over angular guitars www) did Austin proud. The quality everywhere is high and everyone's forced to raise their game or be left missing in action. There's folk music pouring from one bar and two doors up there's a Bella Union Night with Midlake, followed by a few blocks down Emo's rammed to the rafters to see Sub Pop's The Thermals. Every other shop is a bar or a venue or has a tent set-up out back with a performance happening inside.
The day began at the Fader Magazine party around 3 with Yorkshires shambolically charming The Cribs and ended queuing beside booking agents and NME journo's to get in to see The Wrens where Japs Mono are playing nextdoor and rocksters Drunk Horse are just a few doors down. But with smiling eyes I'm left with a first days head full of the realisations that this is the festival of the future, personalized and intimate, but with the microbiotics of hundreds of mini cultures, local and international, living and breathing alongside eachother and grinning in harmony.
Bring on Sunday's hangover!
Today Drowned in Sound Recordings very own Martha Wainwright plays Carribean Lights at 10pm, and for those of you not lucky enough to be in Texas, this set will be going out live on BBC Radio2 as part of their coverage details here. DiS will also be out watching the yankie talents of Pedro The Lion, Tegan & Sara, Erase Errata, The Have and possibly The Unicorns if it isn't just some rumour.
Full reviews and reports coming over the next few days...