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Feature [Issue #8]
SXSW: SXSW Music Conference 2004
By Dean Truitt

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 city’s many venues throughout the hectic, week-long event.

Although the conference offers panels and a chance to network with some of the industry’s most powerful players, most people want to savor the opportunity to have some of the world’s 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 year’s gathering was another amazing collection of talent in the festival’s 17-year history.

Scorpio Rising’s 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 Emo’s 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.

SXSW Music Conference 2004 SXSW

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Ready For The Four Rs? Readin', Ritin', Rithmetic, Rock!

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