Yep, it’s the time of year when local musicians starting speaking in acronyms. With South by Southwest (SXSW) less than a month away, several different organizations have revealed their lineups for parties in advance of and during the festival. As with last year, it looks like Minnesota will be heavily represented at this year’s festivities; at first glance there are easily a few dozen bands planning on making the journey down to Austin, Texas next month, and more are being added by the day.
What follows is by no means a complete schedule of MN-related activities, but an initial look at some of the bigger shows planned this year. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments and I’ll integrate them into this post.
The biggest SXSW kick-off show planned so far is Vita.mn’s Are You Local? send-off, which will take place next Friday, March 2, at First Avenue. Headlining Mainroom acts include Astronautalis, Peter Wolf Crier, Pink Mink, the Blind Shake, and Fort Wilson Riot, and three Are You Local? best-new-band nominees will battle for a trip to SXSW in the Entry: Clara Salyer of Total Babe’s new band Prissy Clerks, hard-driving blues-rock band the Japhies, and longtime producer-turned-budding rapper Xavier Marquis.
Bands will also rally at Nick and Eddie on Sunday, March 4 for a SXSW send-off show that’s doubling as a benefit for booker Flip Arkulary, who was recently in a car accident and the victim of a robbery. Zoo Animal, Grant Cutler, Mayda, The Half Hearts, Gabriel Douglas of 4ontheFloor, Sleep Study, Me and My Arrow, Ghost Towns of the West, Sexcat, and Fort Wilson Riot will all perform.
And across the river at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall on Sunday the 4th, Rock the Cause and Green Room Music Source will throw a send-off bash with Savannah Smith, Fort Wilson Riot, Gabriel Douglas of the 4onthefloor, Murzik, Danger Ron & the Spins, and the Mad Way Out.
The music portion of SXSW runs from March 13-17 this year, and there are several all-MN and mostly-MN parties popping up. Singer-songwriter Luke Redfield (formerly based in Duluth, now living in Portland) is curating an unnofficial showcase at the Hole in the Wall on the festival’s first night, Tuesday, March 13, with scheduled acts ranging from headliner Stuart Davis to a handful of Austinites to Minnesotans Rogue Valley, Gabe Douglas of the 4onthefloor, Me & My Arrow, and the 4onthefloor.
On Thursday night, March 15, at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, Rock the Cause will round up a handful of local acts to pay tribute to Georgian songwriter Vic Chesnutt in honor of last year’s stellar compilation Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt, including the Honeydogs (at 9 p.m.), the Melismatics (10 p.m.), the Figgs (11 p.m.), Tommy Stinson (midnight), and an all-star hour of rotating special guests to close out the night.
Vita.mn will throw its MN Music Showcase day party in collaboration with IPR at the Dirty Dog Bar on Friday, March 16, from 12-8 p.m. featuring Peter Wolf Crier, Tommy Stinson, Dark Dark Dark, Rogue Valley, the Melismatics, and the Are You Local? best-new-band winner from the send-off show.
Many of those same acts will perform at McNally Smith College of Music’s first ever day party, which is being organized by a crew of students in the Music Business Department. That showcase is happening Saturday, March 17, at the Liberty in East Austin and will feature Astronautalis, Night Moves, Peter Wolf Crier, Zoo Animal, Fort Wilson Riot, Me & My Arrow, The Honeydogs, Pink Mink, Toki Wright and McNally students Danami, Kara Laudon, and David Sutton.
Copycats Media will also host a hip-hop heavy day party on Saturday afternoon at the Thirsty Nickel with Hurray For The Riff Raff (12:30 p.m.), American Scarecrows (1:15), Gangstagrass (2:00), Ecid (2:45), The Breaklites (3:30), Prof (4:15), and Grieves & Budo (5:15).
And Minnesotans will also take over the East Avenue Lounge on Saturday afternoon and evening for the “Barbeque Hot Dish“ showcase, featuring local acts Me and My Arrow, Zoo Animal, Rogue Valley, Gabe Douglas, Mayda, The Half Hearts, Sleep Study, Fort Wilson Riot, and Grant Cutler on one stage and artists from the East Atlantic Recording label on another. That showcase runs all day and night, starting at noon and ending at 1 a.m.