You are feeling that music festival afterglow. You just spent a weekend lounging in grimy, dimly lit bars letting raw music wash over you until 3 a.m. while gradually raising your blood alcohol content and you finally have had your fill.
Neon Reverb is over, but you can keep that feeling alive. All you need is a car, lots of gas, a 12 pack of Red Bull and the ability to take a handful of days off of work. If you’re a member of the Recently Laid-Off Club, this memo is for you.
South by Southwest, aka SXSW, is Neon Reverb on steroids; or, Neon Reverb plus a year-round dedicated full-time staff and 22 years of experience.
Held annually in Austin, Texas, SXSW is a week-long matrix of music and culture crammed with shows, parties, seminars, discussions and networking. But mostly, it’s about the music.
Hundreds of hot and fresh bands from around the world will arrive with the same agenda: Rock out, have a helluva good time and hopefully breakthrough to international stardom.
Amid the stages, tents and local bars, you can rub elbows with the irreverent lads of Fuckshovel, a metal band from London; Girls, a pop band from San Francisco; Shiny Toy Guns, a rock band from Oklahoma; The Palestinian Rapperz; a jazz singer named Apollo from Milan, Italy; The Pepper Pots, a ska band from Spain and Asher Roth, the fresh-faced hip-hop college kid with a knack for kegger anthems.
Oh yea, and Las Vegas is totally representing, too. Straight from their Neon Reverb performance, where, as always, they mobilized an enthusiastic crowd of mop-haired hipsters, team Afghan Raiders are slated for two shows at SXSW and are poised to take the next step towards making it big.
The duo, who have earned popularity with their hypnotic electronic creations like “Future Thinkers” and bizarre on-stage antics, aren’t the only Las Vegans making the roughly 1,300 mile trip.
Local rock band The Day After will also be performing at the festival, showcasing their new wave alternative sound for the Texan audience on March 18. Listen to them in our local band guide, and you’ll understand why.
Also along for the ride are Halloween Town, an indie band with a far mellower (practically ‘60s flowerchild) sound than their name implies, and pop rock band Ashbury, whose addictive angsty teen-love ballads served for moody background music for MTV’s The Hills and Laguna Beach. These two will not be playing at the festival proper but are booked at ancillary venues in Austin.
If you’re reading this in Vegas, you’re only 20 hours (by car) and a few hundred dollars away (suckily) from another unforgettable, anything-can-happen, up-all-night complete immersion in music, moshing and memorable times.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s hit the road, already.