After nearly a week at Austin’s SXSW festival, I feel like I’ve seen almost nothing! Yes, I heard some amazing performers, watched several engrossing panels, checked out the gear show, schmoozed, networked, wined and dined. And yet I’ve probably really seen only about 1 percent of what this oversized event has to offer.
SXSW might be one of the most eclectic (and insane) festivals in the world. It's become something of a brilliant disaster, with throngs of people and a band list that will soon need its own billboard just to fit everything. If you are lucky enough to get to see this spectacle, you may be a little daunted at how easy it is to get distracted, lost or both. The sensory overload provided by the throngs of people is enough to put anyone in a daze.
In love with the instrument from the start, Stefanie Drootin has been unwaveringly focused on all things bass. She was never a guitar player first. She didn’t take on the bass because no one else would. Drootin’s brother took her to see fIREHOSE when she was a lass of 15 and bassist Mike Watt simply blew her away.
Singer Emily Armstrong, bassist Chris Null, drummer Sean Friday and guitarist Siouxsie Medley -- better known as Dead Sara -- combine a high-energy live show with well-crafted, organic rock and roll music. The band, which released a six-song EP, The Airport Sessions, in 2008, is now set to release their self-titled debut album on April 10 on Pocket Kid Records through Fontana/Universal.
The best parts of SXSW are the surprise moments. The bands you don’t plan to see, the people you had no idea you’d meet, the sheer unpredictability that forces you to just go with the flow. Most of my favorite SXSW moments this year stem from accidentally encountered awesomeness. But that said, it’s no accident that these performers are at SXSW.