South by Southwest is sort of like running a marathon, except you're drunk most of the time, and there's nothing but BBQ and tacos to eat, and have sun stroke, and you basically hear live music from the moment you wake up until the second you pass out. So, actually, it's not really like a marathon at all, except in duration (and probably perspiration).
Yes, it's that time of year again — SXSW is upon us. It's a magical week that comes around each March, when the city of Austin, Texas is overrun with hundreds of bands and thousands of hipsters in really tight pants, all braving the blazing Texas sun to catch can't-miss sets from much-buzzed blog acts, top-secret performances by some of the biggest names in music (there's a couple of doozies this year), and have a really gigantic, really debauched party.
At SXSW 2008, there were performances by mainstays like Paramore, N.E.R.D., R.E.M., and My Morning Jacket, star-making turns by Vampire Weekend, No Age, MGMT and Katy Perry, appearances by Perez Hilton and Rachael Ray, even a Britney Spears rumor (and, as luck would have it, we spoke to almost all of 'em). Rumor has it, there was also plenty of partying — though we don't really remember, to be honest.
This year, things are looking to be just as awesome. There are rumors (repeat: rumors) of performances by Metallica — under the relatively awesome Norse name of Volsung — on Friday and Kanye West on Saturday. We'll see the return of alt-rock greats Jane's Addiction — in all their original-lineup glory — and faerie queen Tori Amos. Big Boi, Rick Ross and Jadakiss are all scheduled to appear. There will be sets by the Silversun Pickups, Explosions in the Sky, Primal Scream, Devo, the Hold Steady, M. Ward and Peter Bjorn and John. Plus, indie heavyweights like the Thermals, the Decemberists (performing their new album, The Hazards Of Love, in its entirety) and Grizzly Bear, who will unveil tracks from their much-anticipated Vecktimest album at what promises to be a revelatory church show.
We know it's a lot to handle.
Of course, it wouldn't be SXSW if there weren't also a ton of up-and-comers grabbing headlines, too. From lo (perhaps even no)-fi noisemakers like San Diego's Wavves and Brooklyn's the Pains of Being Pure at Heart to NME-approved female electro-poppers Little Boots and Ladyhawke, there's no shortage of buzzed-up bands to catch in and around Austin this week. And that's not even mentioning bands like Passion Pit, Crystal Stilts, the Dirty Projectors and Marnie Stern — who's already given us an SXSW preview of her own. Throw in a strong hip-hop contingent — multiple sets by Asher Roth, Kid Cudi, Kid Sister and B.o.B — and you can see why the whole "marathon" comparison is more than apt. There literally is not enough time in the day to see everything, but that doesn't mean you're not gonna try your hardest to do it.
And, of course, MTV News is going to be there too — checking out bands, staying up way too late, making terrible decisions and trying very hard to remain sane. We'll be bringing you up-to-the-minute updates on SXSW on MTVNews.com, the Newsroom blog. We'll have live video of shows, interviews with bands and even a BBQ story or three. In short, we're going to try and bring you everything you're missing at SXSW 2009. It's hard work, for sure. But we do it because we care.
MTV News will be all over the South by Southwest festival this week, with blogs, articles and video on all the gigs, the artists and the scene!