…been meaning to blog about the latter half of SXSW, specifically the music fest which I attended for the first time last week. The highlight of the event was clearly the full set by Morrissey (right). While at times it felt a touch like a Vegas act, the guy’s still got it. He’s clearly a showman and his new music is up there with the best of his solo work. The big crowd at the Austin Music Hall ate it up and, was left screaming in joy when he played a few Smiths tunes (I thought my colleague Brian Brooks was gonna lose it when he played “How Soon Is Now”).
Another major highlight for me was a Wednesday night set by Athens, GA band, “Of Montreal“. I caught them last month at a True/False film fest party and they are right up there with some of the other great Elephant 6 collective bands like Apples in Stereo, The Sunshine Fix, and Neutral Milk Hotel. Other more familiar bands that gave great performances included fun, dance late-night dance sets by Brazilian Girls and Goldfrapp. Sleater-Kinney also gave a great show at an IFC party as the film conference wound down and the music event kicked off.
SXSW Music is all about making tough choices with nearly 60 competing venues offering a full program of bands each night, so among the bands I unfortunately missed were Ladytron, Arctic Monkeys, Belle and Sebastian and surprise shows by The Beastie Boys and The Flaming Lips.
Discoveries for me included British acts Art Brut and Aberfeldy, while sets by Sia and Lady Sovereign gave me a deeper apprecation for performers I was only somewhat familiar with. While not a big fan of Snow Patrol, their acoustic set at a Filter Magazine party was pretty darn good, and the whole music fest was capped off by Diamond Smugglers racy, crowd-pleasing renditions of Neil Diamond tunes.