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SXSW Summary

Posted by John / March 19, 2007

I'm still in a slight daze as my body and brain try to catch up on rest post-South by Southwest. The last shows on Saturday night ended around 2 a.m. I got back to my hotel around 3 a.m., and then up at 6 a.m. for a flight back to Montreal (with a stop in Chicago) that left at 8:25 a.m.

No choice but to sleep on the first leg, but from Chicago to Montreal I was semi-awake and writing my last Gazette article about the conference. Most of my blogging was for Northern Invasion, the Gazette's online coverage (along with the infinitely more musically talented Olga Goreas and Elizabeth Powell), but I'll note some highlights here as well.

From a Montreal perspective, there was nothing more noteworthy than the dudes from Dare to Care Records (home to Malajube, We Are Wolves and Pawa Up First) cooking up multiple batches of poutine for the M For Montreal showcase. Some of the other Montrealers who showed up (12 bands played there, but people from virtually all 30-or-so Montreal bands stopped in to say hi) clearly hadn't had poutine in quite some time. I watched many non-Montrealers walk away from the distribution point looking very skeptical about the dish they were carrying, and it reminded me that fries, cheese curds and gravy are not a common meal elsewhere in the world. Poor them.

I blogged more than necessary for the Gazette about Austin's transit system (although, really, more needs to be said about $1.00 passes that work for 24 hours, free downtown-area buses, 50-cent single rides, bike racks on most buses, etc.), so it shouldn't be surprsing that one of my favourite moments occurred on the way back from the NXNE barbecue party west of downtown. NXNE rents a mansion every year, has a handful of bands play, and gives away Moosehead, brisket and beans.

I was walking back from it with a couple of people from the Dears and all of Les Breastfeeders. Being a nerd, I knew which buses would get us back downtown, and when one showed up, we all got on. The riders already on the bus (who were, as always, mainly working class, and mainly non-white) were totally bewildered for the entire time as this huge gang of semi-drunk, flamboyant francophones had a party in the middle of the bus.

As I noted in my Gazette wrap-up piece, the show of the conference for me was the Dears' surprise set at the Arts&Crafts showcase, and Montreal acts in general consistently blew me away, but other highlights for me included Bats for Lashes, The Young Knives, Loney Dear, Tokyo Police Club, You Am I, Spoon, The Broken West, Turbonegro and Small Sins.

Hey, other Montrealers who attended, feel free to post your favourite shows and discoveries from the festival in the comments below.



chip / March 20, 2007 at 07:49 pm
Dude, look at the size of that bowl of cheese curds! I'm thinking it's safe to assume that someone was dared to eat that whole thing.
J Mac / March 20, 2007 at 11:11 pm
Nika may be able to verify this, but I think that bowl contains a bit less than 3 kilograms of curd.
Chip / March 21, 2007 at 09:06 am
Those tongs don't look nearly big enough.
Shaun / March 24, 2007 at 03:28 pm
Why would you fly 3000 miles to spend 90% of your trip seeing bands from your hometown? You should lend me your gold card next year and let me go down to write the report next year.
Shaun / March 24, 2007 at 03:30 pm
I also can't believe you didn't see these guys at least once:;rf=sv&fr_story=2f2aa f87dff4ef1400e5ed5b4c06f55be51520b9
Anne-Marie Spin le Monde / March 24, 2007 at 06:50 pm
Hey John!

it was a pleasure to have drinks with you at the Aussies party and share that bus ride with you.

For those who would like to see videos of Montreal bands in South by Southwest, go on and look up for La Musique Spin le Monde (on-line Tuesday)

My favorite moment, beside the NY2LON showcase where Malajube seduced americans, was coming back from the MAd Decent busted party in a too small car, after having recieved a Skull candy from Hearts Challenger candy truck, to ends up in a gigantic outdoor The Rub party, dancing on Yelle and TTCs surrounding by american folks, to finally end up in an after party with 50 people squeezed in an hotel room, with MC Spank Rock falling asleep on the bed, while Alex Lemieux was pooring delicous vodka in our drinks.

And Lee Scratch Perry was as awesome as he is crazy.

And Amon Tobin did a loud and up-beat genius set...

And I lost my voice there. It totally worth every penny spent.
J Mac / March 27, 2007 at 11:07 am
Shaun, yeah, tell me about it. This is the story of my festival experience every year, although this year was a bit more Montreal-centric than usual. I go to cover it for the Gazette, so my priority is to tell the stories of the Montrealers who have made it down there, and not produce the same story that the zillion music mag people are going to write anyway. That said, my shortlist of bands at the end of my post is totally Montreal-free. of course.
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?????? ??? ???
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