Austin’s South by Southwest music and film festival has become something of a litmus test for up-and-coming bands, and their past set lists read like a veritable who’s who of the hottest current national acts.
Last year local acts Bon Iver, Birds of Avalon, Chatham County Line, Megafaun, Chapel Hill’s Old Ceremony, Patty Hurst Shifter, and The Rosebuds played SXSW alongside household name R.E.M. as well as some of the biggest indie explosions of 2008: Crystal Castles; Cut Copy (who are coming to the Cradle in March); Fleet Foxes; MGMT; My Morning Jacket; and, of course, Vampire Weekend.
So far this year SXSW has tapped Raleigh’s Annuals, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Colossus, The Love Language (who will open for Megafaun and The Rosebuds tomorrow night at Cat’s Cradle), and Patty Hurst Shifter (once again). This spring in Austin our region’s finest will play alongside nationally recognized Andrew Bird; the Black Lips; Peter Bjorn and John; Pitchfork darling Crystal Antlers; my new favorite band, Passion Pit; and tons of others that we haven’t heard of yet but will soon.
It’s no Dawson’s Creek, Raleigh, but we’ve got to start somewhere.