It’s that time of year… as college students around the country pack their bags for Panama City and Cancun, music nerds all over embark on an alternative spring break of their own and head to …TEXAS! Das right… it’s South by Southwest (SXSW) time, and Remezcla is Lonestar State-bound to take in five (well, four, really) days of non-stop musica, and report back with our findings.
South by South-Whaaa?
Part conference, part festival, SXSW isn’t just industry schmoozing for the jaded and snobby (though there’s plenty of that)–it’s any music lover’s wet dream; a five day party like no other …with quite the soundtrack. The streets of downtown Austin are closed off, making way for the crazy mix of bands, fans, press, groupies, bloggers, label execs, and wannabes to mingle and roam freely from party to showcase to BBQ to party to showcase… catering nicely to impromptu street performances, not to mention quality people watching.
SXSW is where many bands “get discovered,” and while previously it was all about getting signed by a label, now it’s more about catching the attention of bloggers, brands, and tastemakers, and just creating general buzzzzzzz. Traditionally an indie-rock (en inglés) affair, SXSW has gotten progressively more eclectic over the years, and ’09 offers up a verrrry long list of Latin American, Spanish, Brazilian, and US-based Latino acts that we couldn’t catch anywhere else.
Media outlets and brands dominate the daytime fun at “South By,” with afternoon open-bar parties and BBQs with more free music than anyone could possible keep track of. The official showcases take priority at night, giving you the opportunity to catch the next big thing (and plenty of already big things) in a small club setting that you couldn’t ever get at Coachella, Lollapalooza, or the like. Post showcases, afterparties take over, with DJs (and more bands) galore until the wee hours of the morning (or till the Austin po-lice shut things down…). Sleep is optional, but recommended.
This year’s lineup features over 1800 musical acts on over 80 stages, including big names like Devo (performing, and talking on a panel, no less!), PJ Harvey, Perry Ferrell (+ a secret Jane’s Addiction show!)… But our objective is Remezcla-specific: NEW (good) LATIN MUSIC, carajo!!! Frankly, we’re kind of sick of listening to the same ol’, same ol’… and are determined to update and expand our music collection and knowledge, and to share all of it with you!
We’ve spent the last few days figuring out our agenda and dealing with annoying scheduling inconveniences like how we can possibly catch both Zoé and Pato Machete (remember him??), who are both performing Saturday night at the same time…. We’ve zeroed in on some great free food ops (what what, Sounds of Spain showcase’s free paella and sangria …and Rachael Ray (!!)’s Saturday showcase featuring BBQ and mac and cheese, plus the New York Dolls and others…), and we’ve RSVPed to more afterparties than we could attend in a month, let alone 4 days, so we’re feeling ready!!
In the “official” realm, we’re particularly pumped to check out Hello Seahorse! (Mexico), Bomba Estereo (Colombian electro-cumbia), Choc Quib Town (rootsy Colombian hip-hop), Niña Dioz (the Mexican Mala Rodriguez?), Poper (from Colombia, featuring ex-Zoé members), Bam Bam (Mexico), Descartes a Kant (Mexico), and Cápsula (Argentina/Spain) for the first time. Plus, we must check out new stuff from former Porter lead singer Juan Son, Natalia Lafourcade—who’d been on sabbatical studying music in Canada ‘n’ stuff—, Los Super Elegantes (who finally have a new album, with the super-awesome track “Africa”), and, frankly, we admit we’re curious as to what Leon Polar (ex-Sin Bandera!!!) is doing at an indie rock conference…. Remezcla faves Los Fancy Free, Monareta, 60 Tigres, and The May Fire are all playing at the conference as well. Plus, we’ll be on the lookout for Jorge Drexler who we heard will be presente, though not officially part of the conference.
And that’s just the beginning, folks…
We popped our SX cherry in 2007, and covered last year’s craziness day by day (by day by day), but this year we’re stepping it up a notch with daily recaps, interviews, videos, photo galleries, constant twittering, and plenty of dirt, so you can “be there” without actually being there. Follow along at remezcla.com/sxsw (and twitter.com/remezcla) for all our adventures and misadventures.