Everything is bigger in Texas, including South By Southwest. The massive music confab has never been larger and perhaps more fascinating than during its 25th edition, which commenced last Wednesday and ended Saturday.
As always, there was a little bit of everything and a myriad of industry folk and fans, to consume an endless barrage of music and BBQ.
There was the retro (a number of ‘80s acts, such as OMD, Duran Duran and The Bangles), the comeback attempts (The Strokes) and the lionized (Kanye West). Perhaps best of all was the array of exciting young new talent. France’s exciting and sexy We Are Enfant Terrible, London’s catchy The Pop Formidable and Montreal’s compelling Emilie Clepper
SXSW is like Disney World. There are so many great and quirky things to see, that you can’t experience them all but you can try.
Michael Stipe showed up to answer some questions about the new arty video clips, which accompany the songs from R.E.M.’s terrific new album, ‘ Collapse Into Now.’ Stipe was clever and accommodating while discussing the films and his band’s welcome relevance.
Stipe was sharp but not in the same league as this year’s keynote speaker Bob Geldof, who was amusing, insightful and compelling. Sir Bob who waxed about how we need to bring rock back, was perhaps the best keynote speaker in SXSW history and that’s saying something considering some of his predecessors (Neil Young, Quincy Jones and Robert Plant) who were very good but nobody has been quite as thoughtful as Geldof.
The former Boomtown Rat was equally impressive while showcasing his new album, ‘How To Write Popular Songs That Will Sell.’ Yes, he offered a version of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and it still sounds amazing.