For the last three days, I've been living in the heart of one of the biggest music festivals in the country: South by Southwest. Over 50 venues showcase almost 1400 bands, and most of the action takes place within a short stroll of my house/studio. This year's biggest act was the opening gig of the Stooges new tour, following the release of their first album together in 33 years. The piece above was done a while back for a book and exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it seemed like the right time to break it out.
I'm an Iggy fan from way back, having first seen him live when I was a teenager, and over 20 times since. I even got to meet him once, at a now defunct record store here called the Inner Sanctum, and found him to be a very nice and approachable guy. In concert, however, he's a force of nature, and last night's show was no exception. It's hard to believe that a guy about to turn 60 still looks like this and is willing to throw himself into the moshpit mid-concert to battle it out with the fans (which he did several times last night). The band even invited the crowd up on stage during the final number, which was absolute chaos. All and all, a Fun Time.
Along the way, I saw some other great acts, including my new favorite Peelander Z, a Japanese band now based in NY that's part punk and part Teletubbies, and from what I can tell the official band of Kaiju Big Battel - itself a cross between pro wrestling, bad science fiction movies and performance art. We also saw the Polyphonic Spree, the Little Ones, and a number of other bands that were new to me.
Peelander Z - like nothing you've ever seen.
Another aspect of the Fesitval is the showcase Flatstock, which brings together some of the best gig poster art & artists from around the country. Yee Haw Industries, Methane, Burlesque of North America, and several other great groups that create the most amazing concert art are all under one roof, and selling their posters at very reasonable prices.
Today, the crowds are starting to head home and city is beginning to quiet down again. There's always great music here in Austin, but SXSW represents one of the main reasons this city has developed the reputation it has internationally for music, and one the best times of year to come and see why Austin is a destination.