We came, we saw, we captured bands in situ in Austin during South By Southwest 2009.
Photo by Candice Lawler/Retna for Billboard
You already couldn't get away from their single "Sometime Around Midnight," now the L.A. quintent descended on Austin for SXSW. They'll be back home to play for Jay Leno on the Tonight Show on April 14.
Each year, it seems that the magazines, the press companies, the record labels (or all of the above) find new, interesting places to host shows. Some are ideal for concert settings and some are not. Some are just places converted on the fly. Jane's Addiction played a warehouse that formerly served as an Obama campaign headquarters last year, and at some point was a Safeway. Thus, the venue was just called "the Old Safeway." But the best new venue award has to go to Press Here Publicity's Garden Party, hosted on the lawns of the French Legation Museum, just a few minutes' walk from downtown Austin.
The setting was perfect for a Saturday afternoon: open fields, large, billowy trees providing shade, and well landscaped grass. A tent was set up to host the small stage, where I listened to performances from the Nancy Sinatra-ish Melissa Auf der Maur and Laura Marling (pictured) who were breezing through stripped down sets. Marling has been supporting her debut "Alas I Cannot Swim," over the last year, but it sounded as if she was performing a slew of new material- good news for Marling fans such as myself.
The one pitfall I could see though, is that for a performer, these settings might be a bit too casual. Either that, or the end of the week was catching up with everyone, shortening the collective attentaveness. Regardless, this setting is the place to be down the line. -Michael D. Ayers