SXSX 2006: A Week Of Magical, Musical Moments By
If you were to ask
almost anyone in the music industry what his or her favorite week of the year
was, you might be surprised by the answer. No, its not the Grammys or any
of the countless other awards shows.
For a multitude of
reasons, everyone adores the South By Southwest Music Festival, which takes place
during the second week of March in Austin, TX, known as the Live Music Capital
of the World. While some may argue that moniker, it cannot be denied that
the city is the host to the most diverse annual musical gathering in the world.
Entering its 20th anniversary, the initially modest convention began as a modest
way to promote regional bands and meet fellow industry staffers in a rather informal
setting. Over the past two decades, SXSW has grown to a point that it is the place
to conduct business, make deals, see shows, and have the best week of ones
life while still being somewhat officially on the clock.
2006s SXSW showed continued expansion and diversity with artists representing
over 15 countries. Neil Young was the keynote speaker of this years festival
and kicked off the event with his wry humor, personal insight, and keen observations
about the business of music. For those hungry to learn from veteran insiders,
a string of interactive panels takes place each day. This year, The Pretenders
held a panel and discussed their 30-year Rock And Roll Hall of Fame career. Singer
Chrissie Hynde shared her thoughts on the state of music and the direction it
However, the best aspect of the conference is the music itself. No matter what
your tastes, SXSW has something for everyone: rock, blues, jazz, country, R&B,
electronica, singer-songwriter, and every other imaginable style under the sun.
Particular highlights were Spoons appearance at Auditorium Shores. The hometown
quartet won four Austin Chronicle Awards and has amassed critical praise and a
rabid following over the past ten years. SXSW also attracts special surprise appearances,
such as The Flaming Lips raucous performance at the Fox and Hound. Playing
material from their upcoming release, the band closed with a scorching rendition
of Black Sabbaths War Pigs. Such a scene befits the magic of
SXSW because once in a lifetime truly applies to the spontaneous moments
that emerge from the gathering each year.