SXSW Music Conference 2004 By
For one week in
March every year, Austin, Texas, becomes the undisputed Live Music Capital
of the World during the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Convention.
Artists representing every conceivable genre descend upon the city in hopes
of gathering interest and promoting their art. Over a thousand different acts
perform live in one of the citys many venues throughout the hectic, week-long
Although the conference
offers panels and a chance to network with some of the industrys most
powerful players, most people want to savor the opportunity to have some of
the worlds brilliant musicians nestled into one relatively small town.
Everyone from Johnny Cash, Flaming Lips, The White Stripes, and George Clinton
have played at one time at SXSW. This years gathering was another amazing
collection of talent in the festivals 17-year history.
Scorpio Risings guitarist Stephen Larsen availed himself of many shows
throughout the week when his band was not playing their own showcase, which
garnered the attention of numerous interested record labels. When pressed to
pick his favorite live act of the year, Larsen readily concluded, The
Hives on Saturday night at Emos was electric! I have not felt that energy
at a show since Cheap Trick or a Fugazi performance. Howlin Pelle Almqvist
is the best frontman I might ever have seen.
As a respected impresario for local culture, the talented Larsen also acknowledges
the live intensity of Austin natives, Young Heart Attack. He enthuses,
This band [Young Heart Attack] pulled off an arena show at a tiny bar
on Sixth Street. It helps that the P.A. was pumping so loud, it almost gave
me heart murmurs! The band was having fun and the performance came off as seemingly
effortless for them.
Perhaps the most endearing aspect about SXSW is that someone can unexpectedly
walk into the wrong venue and discover a new favorite artist, whether internationally
famous or completely unknown.