Heading South of the Border

A Great Canadian Turnout at this Years SXSW.

Last week, bands from across North America and beyond made the epic journey down south to Austin, Texas, to play at the highly anticipated South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. This year’s festival officially took place from March 8 to 17, but bands have been on tour all the way down to Texas and then all the way home just for the opportunity to play one of the year’s biggest events. Beside the festival proper, throughout the week Austin was buzzing with hot new up and coming acts from all over the world. This included some Canadian and East Coast bands that made the journey to show off the talent from our part of the world. 

One of the most famous events occurring at SXSW, at least from a Canadian perspective, was the 2011 reunion of Death From Above 1979, which ended with a riot and, thankfully, resulted in a reunion tour for one of Canada’s favourite hardcore bands. One of the first events to start off the festival’s 2013 offerings is the Canadian Bust BBQ which, this year, features acts like Hannah Georgas, Paper Lions, Rah Rah, Daniel Romano, Serena Ryder, and Hey Ocean. And this is only a few of the big Canadian names that rock the festival. Others include Two Hours Traffic, Said the Whale, The Tom Fun Orchestra, Ron Sexsmith, The Trews and Jenn Grant. 

Some big names from south of the border also performed at this year’s festival. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Andrew WK, The Flaming Lips, Third Eye Blind and John Fogerty all performed throughout the week to the staggering fifty thousand people that attend the annual Austin festival. However, what is truly amazing is all of the Canadian acts that make the trip and share the same bill with some of these huge names in the music industry. If you’re a DJ fan, you could check out Major Lazer, and two of Halifax’s own, and hip hop leaders both in Canada and on an international scale, Skratch Bastid and Buck 65 at the same music festival. Or, if punk rock’s your thing, your week could consist of Iggy Pop and the Stoogies alongside Canadian punk power-duo, Japandriods. Tegan and Sara, The Specials, The Sheepdogs, Cold War Kids, Shout Out Out Out, Ra Ra Riot are all playing alongside Mount Allison’s first class bash performers, Keys N Krates. And this list of acts does not account for all of the acts that hit it big over the week and will come up in countless reviews of the festival.  SXSW went out with a bang with a performance by Prince and opening act, A Tribe Called Quest,a performance which has already received rave reviews. 

One of the more interesting things a fan and follower of Canadian music could have done, that is if they do not have the means to make it down to Austin, was to see all of our great bands and artists interact with one another, and their fans, over social media. One of Prince Edward Island’s favourite acts, and a band that has played countless times in Sackville, Two Hours Traffic, got held up at the border with some visa complications and, to their regret, had to cancel a number of shows on the trip to Austin which they informed fans via Twitter. Jenn Grant is another Twitter stronghold, as she updated her fans with all her goings-on as she attended and performed at this year’s festival. However, for someone who is stuck in the cold while all this great music is happening in sunny Texas, this interaction did not make up for actually being there.  So next year, when the long cold weeks of February and March get you down, try to make it down and kick off the Festival season right at SXSW music festival, and experience all this great music congregating in one place.

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