It's hard to imagine another U.S. city that could host SXSW as completely as Austin does. Every bar, restaurant, parking lot, rooftop, hotel lobby, grocery store, record shop, coffee shop or abandoned building has a stage, a PA, and a band looking for an audience of any kind. Music becomes the primary focus of the entire city. There is nothing quite like it.
Each year SXSW grows in attendance (and corporate takeover), but it remains an essential outlet for the music industry and beyond. Jimmy Kimmel did a week of shows here, Seth Meyers worked his #sethxsw, Apple had the hot ticket with the iTunes Festival, Rachael Ray rocked her annual day party and Lady Gaga carried the keynote.
The highlight for me was our own showcase/live broadcast – the Public Radio Rocks Day Stage. We partnered with 4 other public radio stations around the country to curate one of the most diverse lineups of the week. All the artists dug it, and we managed to pull it off without the benefit of a Doritos sponsorship.
Austin, I will miss your bats, random celebrity sightings, disco pedi-cabs, and Tex-Mex breakfasts. See you for ACL.
Check out a Spotify playlist of some of my highlights and discoveries of SXSW 2014 (scroll down below).
-- Rita Houston
Our home away from home (with more style than our actual homes) was again the Hotel San Jose. Big thanks to all there for their hospitality of our crew and artists. We set up there for these sessions:
- Ireland's Hozier backed by cajon and cello on the standout "Take Me To Church" [video]
- Mary Lambert cozied up with us in a vintage RV to perform "She Keeps Me Warm" [video]
- Ages and Ages bring their anthemic vocals to the party with "I See More" [video]
- The Strypes cover the classic "You Can't Judge A Book by the Cover" as only enthusiastic teens can [video]
- The Spanish Gold southern supergroup of sorts do their ode to SXSW, "Day Drinkin'" [video]
- Thumpers win for Good Sportsmanship, pushing through the rain for "Unkinder (A Tougher Love)" [video]
Friday's Public Radio Rocks SXSW showcase was a smash, we've got full audio sets and select videos from:
- Damon Albarn [audio/video]
- Lucius [audio/video]
- Phantogram [audio/video]
- Jeremy Messersmith [audio/video]
- The Hold Steady [audio/video]
The Public Radio Rocks team from WFUV/NY, XPN/Philly,
The Current/Minneapolis, KUTX/Austin and KXT/Dallas
- Videos from all sessions are on our WFUVRadio YouTube Channel, thanks to Russ Borris, Jim O'Hara, Caroline Inzucchi, Erica Talbott, Tim Pierson and Josh Briseño.
Photo Gallery below of highlights from New Media Director and in-house shooter Laura Fedele.
BAND BLOGS FROM SXSW:
- Roman Remains on Blondie, big hats and broken elevators
- Fenster on some drinks, some cider and brazen blonding
- Team Me - Norway in the house in search of Death Metal Pizza
- The Mary Onettes - first U.S. dates in six years, plus shrimp tacos with Dad
- Woman's Hour with Eno the Dog and bacon toffee
- September Girls - Five Irishwomen, one Debbie Harry and a Gremlin
Funding for WFUV's ongoing coverage of live concerts and festivals comes from The Agnes Varis Trust, supporting affordable access to the arts, education and healthcare.
Rita Houston's SXSW Spotify Playlist: