Posted by: detourmag on February 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm
Detour is taking the Bivouac on the road this March for the 2008 incarnation of South by Southwest, and we’re already stocking up on Rolaids, Excedrin, and cheap sunglasses. Our crew is set on the day parties this year, those extravaganzas sponsored by a record label, publicity house, or weird corporate sponsor (“The NEW Toyota Indie!”) that offer as many opportunities for free beer as they do chances to find your next favorite band. At the core of it, that’s what we’re all hoping for, even if the event’s scope is making it more difficult to separate hype from “Hey, these dudes are awesome.”
The proportion of sponsorship at the annual blab, booze, and watch bands event is equal to SXSW’s importance on the rest of the year in music. Everyone wants a piece of it, because it’s often where the road to revenue (or at least mad blog blow jobs) starts for so many artists. Just as Sundance has become an atmosphere of anticipation — the search for another Napoleon Dynamite or Little Miss Sunshine — each SXSW offers one, two, or even three artists or groups who are impossible to ignore, appearing at two showcases during the day’s parties, making all the headlines with their shows in the bars at night, and causing a commotion on 6th Street when they play an impromptu set in front of a booth hawking street pizza. Then, usually, those same artists or groups play a few triumphant post-festival gigs at parties in abandoned natatoriums in Brooklyn or Echo Park, then swarm the summer festivals (Pitchfork! Lolla! Rothbury?), then hit the late-night gabfests, and then next fall or maybe even Christmas, those groups will put out their debut albums and everyone will have dismissed them. “This album sucks,” we’ll all write. “But remember when we saw them at that day party at Emo’s, opening for ATM and Mariner Worm? They were awesome then.”
Detour’s guide to South by Southwest’s day parties will give you a roadmap to where we’ll be and what’s next. It even offers a few theories on who we see as becoming most-blabbed about in 2008. Check it, and we’ll see you in the sunlight.