The Best Shows at SXSW This Year

Categories: SXSW

This year Rocks Off and DC-9 at Night, the music blog at our sister paper Dallas Observer, teamed up to bring you only the choicest moments from last week's SXSW madness.

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Photo by Craig Hlavaty
John Fogerty: Creedence Clearwater Revival survivor John Fogerty gets overlooked as a riff-happy rocker, with most people concentrating on his good-time Americana rock and roll instead of the volume addict in flannel that he is. Saturday night Fogerty and his band ran through nearly every CCR hit, and even played 1985 solo hit "Centerfield," complete with a guitar fashioned after a baseball bat. Or was it a baseball bat fashioned into a guitar?

Either way, I saw a cloud of smoke erupt during "Lookin' Out My Back Door", a sight that would make Jeff Lebowski smile that beardy smile. And honestly a show with True Believers (Alejandro Escovedo's lost '80s band), Junior Brown, and Bobby Bare Sr. as support was just a slice of all right. By the way, True Believers were delightfully loud, and their return to the stage is welcome. CRAIG HLAVATY


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Once Again, SXSW Really Stands For Sex By Southwest

Categories: SXSW

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Photo by Marco Torres
Hands up, everyone who thinks dude in the middle scored at SXSW.
"All the single dudes put up your phone. Now all the single ladies put up your phone. Turn to the nearest person with a phone up. Now type in your phone number. Now you have something to do after this."

That was Chuck D, talking from the Doritos Main Stage. Or at least I think it was Chuck D. I was just passing by on the street and I couldn't see through the green mesh set up on the fence.

A lot of SXSW is experienced that way: in passing. People are looking for something new, for something that impresses them. Bands? Yes. "Professional" networking connections? Oh so exhaustingly, yes.

And also, you will not be surprised to hear, hookups. SXSW is the Olympic Village of music dorks, right down to the complimentary condoms everywhere. In three days, I was offered more than a dozen.


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sex, SXSW

The 10 Dumbest Things Overheard at SXSW This Year

Categories: SXSW

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Photos by Marco Torres
Swag is rampant again at SXSW this year.
For every insightful conversation I have heard or had at SXSW over the years, whether it was talking to Matt Pinfield while walking the streets of Austin discussing David Bowie, or telling The Clash's Mick Jones that he was, in fact, in The Clash, I have overheard a thousand awful ones.

Years of eavesdropping on troglodytes trying to talk "shop," or listening to people with horrid musical opinions waxing poetic about a band that should have been aborted, should have hardened me to humanity in Austin, but instead I just keep trying harder to listen.

For blog's sake, of course.

Here are some of the dumbest, most dogshit things I have heard so far this SXSW. Where applicable, I will fill you in on the locales and circumstances.


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SXSW

10 Signs Your Band Won't Make It at SXSW

Categories: SXSW

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Photo By Craig Hlavaty
With more work, maybe Dave Grohl (seated on drums) can finally find success in the music business.
Being a successful musician really has to be a slice of heaven. And of course the chicks are great.

It's why from the beginning of time, men (and women) have taken up instruments, for the chance that they will be played in front of many, many others, some of whom could possibly want to have sex with them. Oh, and money is a factor, too.

Even guys like Bon Iver get mad tail, and he basically weeps for two hours onstage.

But alas, not everyone will make it in the cruel music biz, that slurring, drunken sea-bitch of an industry.


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SXSW

The Complete SXSW Overflow Festival 2013 Guide: Week 1, Part 2

This year Rocks Off would like to help our readers get a handle on all the acts playing Super Happy Fun Land's SXSW Overflow Fest, an event that is longer than SXSW itself, with almost as many bands. There are nine nights left to go, and "season passes" are still available. See superhappyfunland.com for details.

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The Glorious Veins
THURSDAY, MARCH 14

NCM: Alternative. Punk rock. Folk. From Brooklyn. Need we say more? 6:45 p.m.

WFC: The name is short for "Who Fucking Cares," so that may give you an idea of what to expect from this St. Louis-based punk/hardcore outfit. 7:30 p.m.

Better Days: "We are fast, melodic, positive hardcore," says drummer Travis Schaeffer. "It's something you'd work out to." 8 p.m.


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Sad You Aren't at SXSW? Here's What You Could Be Missing...

Categories: SXSW

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Photos by Craig Hlavaty
Well, you actually are missing really good pizza.
Awwwww, I know it is a shame you aren't here with us at SXSW in Austin. I can only imagine the aching and longing in your heart for walking aimlessly and standing in long lines for no reason, and sweating through your cardigan to see a band you heard on one of the Twilight soundtracks.

You don't want to be here. Turn around, go back home. Go see a movie. Go see that new Oz movie; it looks kinda cool. Take advantage of all the empty bars. Save your money and sleep in your own bed.

Here's what you could expect here in Austin. Take this all as a warning, folks. It's like the last days before the fall of Saigon here, except for all the free Doritos and vodka.

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SXSW

SXSW's Class of 2008: Where Are They Now? (w/VIDEO)

Categories: SXSW

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Photo by Craig Hlavaty
Monotonix was a monster hit at SXSW '08, beginning a touring career that would include Dumpsters, sweat and minor bone breakage.
My first true SXSW with the Houston Press and Rocks Off was way back in March 2008, when I was given a wristband to explore/maraud Austin looking for trouble and new bands. This was a time when Justice and MSTRKRFT were what would be called EDM now, and Israel's Monotonix was flipping every wig in town.

R.E.M.'s Stubb's gig that year was more than likely the band's last ever in Texas, and I seem to remember walking in during "Bad Day" and leaving after getting my five minutes with them.

Five years later, we're staring down appearances from Prince (maybe), the Flaming Lips, Iggy & the Stooges, John Fogerty, Green Day, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave and other biggies. Honestly, the smaller acts are an afterthought.

The acts that Rolling Stone chose in 2008 as its "ones to watch" that year included Kid Cudi, Los Campesinos!, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, These New Puritans and The Whip. Today only two, Cudi and Campesinos!, are still on anyone's radar.

But a lot of others were gaining steam that year.


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The Complete SXSW Overflow Festival 2013 Guide: Week 1, Part 1

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Photo courtesy of Glory
With SXSW under way in Austin, Super Happy Fun Land is keeping Houston ears satisfied with its Overflow Festival 2013, a two-week lineup of up-and-coming music acts from all over the world.

Below is a complete list of the rest of this week's performers.

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

Ash Reiter: The San Francisco set pours out a hefty glass of "California Groove" music. Check out their current single, "Hola." 4 p.m.

The Ugly Club: Ugly isn't the word. The five-man group's psych, pop and funk tunes blend beautifully with Ryan Egan, Joseph Stasio and Taylor Mandel's rich tenor voices. Rick Sue's ukulele adds country twang, and Ryan Mcnulty keeps the tempo. 5 p.m.


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EPIC: The 20 Most Overused Terms In SXSW Band Bios

Categories: SXSW

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A Vampire Weekend fan prepares to scale a fence during "Horchata" and rage.
Before I take any trip to Austin and SXSW, I always take more than a few days to peruse the schedule and check out a few of the hundreds of names on the roster and read their bios.

Some years there are more bands with "wolf" and "space" in their monikers than usual, and some years there are random exclamation points! that seem to make! no sense other than to annoy! copy editors who are already sick of reading about SXSW.

RIP Steaming Wolf Penis. I hardly knew ye.

Anyhow, the worst offenders this year seem to be the people behind the SXSW band bios. Some missives are straightforward histories of these up-and-comers journeying to Austin to seek music-blog fame and licensing fortune, while others are meandering pieces of hilarity that seem to use descriptive terms pulled out of a fedora.

Speaking of fedoras, way too many bands this year have members sporting them in promo shots. You think you look like the Specials' Terry Hall, but all I see is shame. You ain't Tom Waits, guy in Americana-ska band from Minnesota.


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SXSW

Once Again, Super Happy Fun Land Welcomes More Than 100 SXSW Overflow Acts

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Photos by Altamese Osborne
Actually, by the time you read this, that number will be closer to 90, but you get the point.

SXSW, Austin's popular music, film and interactive festival, opened its arms to the public this past Friday. In an adjacent welcoming hug, Super Happy Fun Land, Houston's stuffed-animal-strewn East End venue, offered music lovers who may or may not be able to make it to SXSW themselves a taste of the many artists who will be featured in our state's capital. It's the same musical spread, only bite-sized.

Bands like Hip Hatchet, Friend Roulette and Time and Distance (Saturday night), and The Bottom Dollars, Cheers Elephant, The Nuclears and Château Nowhere (Sunday) rang in Super Happy's festival this past weekend with a kick-drum bang.


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