GP's SXSW Wrap-Up

March 21, 2008

As for trends at the show, most of the bands reside squarely in the indie-rock camp, but there is a resurgence of metal and more blues-based rock outfits. Not a ton of them, mind you, but a few. Thankfully, guitar is alive and well and the rig du jour seems to be a Fender Telecaster plugged into a Vox AC30. My vote for “Trend That Has Grown the Most Tiresome” is watching guitarists (and now bass players), getting down on their knees and hopelessly trying to “freak-out” with their effects pedals. Most of the time you can’t even hear what they’re attempting to do, and when you do hear it, the word underwhelming instantly springs to mind. Geez, it makes me almost yearn for the days when guys would smash their guitars—or at least throw them around for effect—rather than having a box do it for them.

As for any hotshot players, lets just say that, for the most part, the best players I saw were local Austin cats (Bill Kirchen, Ray McCarty, Carolyn Wonderland and Freebleeder’s Jon Millican) and Albuquerque’s Ryan McGarvey. Hell, Moby impressed me with his 6-string skills! I know there had to be more, but I’m only one dude, and I can’t see everything. All in all, a good time. Austin is a wonderful place and I can’t recommend it enough. If you go to SXSW next year, bring ear plugs, some spare time to wait in line, and an extra liver in a cooler because the beer flows like the mighty Colorado River!

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