The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

SxSW and other upcoming shows…Austin is the greatest.

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When I moved here 3 years ago from Norfolk, VA, I didn’t really know much about this town.  I didn’t come here for the music, it was for a job.   From my first weekend here, I was thrown deep into what this city was about…or at least what this city touts itself as being…”The Live Music Capital of the World.”  The bad part about this town’s motto is that it does as much to keep music down as it does to support it.

Each year the local weekly music and entertainment paper, “The Chronicle”, puts on a festival called South By Southwest, SxSW for short.  This is the 24th year.  It was originally intended for bands to be showcased to record exec types.  Now it seems just more of a cash grab for record labels who showcase their own bands…and it’s really a huge cash grab for the festival promoters.  Bands come from all over the world, literally, to play here.  I went to my first one 3 years ago and got to see some cool stuff.  A lot of major label acts come and play for free.  There’s a whole badge, wristband, pre-pay sort of thing that gives you a little better access to shows but most of us locals can still see the ones we want to see by either waiting in long lines, showing up early or knowing someone at the venue who can get you in the back door.  Two years ago Motorhead played a free outdoor day show but you had to be on an RSVP list to get in.  Gates opened at 11AM and we were in line at 9am.  There were 20 people ahead of us.  Literally thousands lined up around 2 city blocks to try and get in.  You snooze you lose.  We won!

Walk anywhere downtown during the Weds-Sunday music fest and you will hear something that you like and most likely be able to get in, maybe with a small cover or just in for free…depending on whether or not it’s an “official” SxSW show.   The non-SxSW shows can be as good as the official ones, usually better.  Last night, walking by one of my favorite bars I hear some crazy jazz coming out…It was Prince’s bassist and drummer.  AWESOME!  Totally random.  Across the street the bassist for Little Richard was playing.

Last year the Texas Rockfest folks (non-SxSW) put on a great free show.  They always get use of 2 prime large open lots in the middle of the official stuff and show great bands for free.  Last year we got to see DC4 (Odin, DIO, Armored Saint guys) and Eddie Ojeda (who sucked actually, but still, you get my point).  The the the Rockfest guys are doing a $12 St. Patrick’s Day show featuring Agony Column (reunion!), George Lynch, Razr13 (Doug Pinnick), Faster Pussycat, Crank County Daredevils, LA Guns, Austin’s Broken Teeth (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Pariah members).  The next days begins the free Rockfest shows with more Broken Teeth,  Danko Jones(!), and more.

Other cool shows during this years festival are VoiVod, Cheap Trick (free!), GWAR (day show…sweet!) and tons more.

Getting past the SxSW thing, Austin is stepping up its game over the past year as for as the metal goes.  We just had Dianno here.  Anvil rolled through a few weeks back.  Megadeth/Testament/Exodus are next week.  Kreator is soon.  Overkill is soon.  Hammerfall is soon.  Not to mention with San Antonio just being 75 minutes south, there’s tons more to see.  Free Lizzy Borden show there in April.  Maiden is coming back this summer.  What’s a rocker to do?  I’m gonna go broke…happily.

All the above nonsense being said, life is grand here.  I just need to lose some weight…and I’m working on it…sort of.

Thanks Austin.  The move here changed and saved my life methinks.

http://www.showlistaustin.com for non-sxsw shows and http://www.sxsw.com if you want to see the “official” band list.

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