© 2022 WFIT
Public Radio for the Space Coast
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Baby Bands, Pop Stars And Room-Filling Joy: What To Expect At SXSW 2013

<strong>Twin Horns Of Joy?</strong> Members of the band The Bottom Dollars play on the street in Austin, Texas, during the opening night of the South by Southwest music festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR
Twin Horns Of Joy? Members of the band The Bottom Dollars play on the street in Austin, Texas, during the opening night of the South by Southwest music festival.

Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish onAll Things Considered by clicking the audio link.


The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.

Finding a prevailing trend at SXSW isn't easy; the festival is like 50 events in one, so it's possible to see nothing but hip-hop, or big names, or heavy metal, or bands from overseas. There's one clear trend in independent music: A lot of the biggest artists have shed the intimacy of bedroom recordings in pursuit of a grandiose, joyous, room-filling sound.

My favorite young band of the festival's opening night fits this bill. Mother Falcon, a 17-piece rock orchestra of sorts, is based in Austin and can't help but send huge sounds bouncing off the rafters. I'm looking forward to seeing a like-minded octet called The Soil & The Sun.

Of course, the big names have their own pull, too. Prince is slated to perform at the SXSW closing party Saturday night, and even the most discovery-minded festival-goers — the ones who lament SXSW's increased emphasis on established names like Green Day and Snoop Dogg — are likely to have a hard time passing up the opportunity to see that.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)