Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

SXSW 2008 – Irish acts in a Lone Star state of mind

Irish acts are in Austin, Texas this week on a mission to make new friends, influence people and play numerous shows at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival. The Irish contingent, joining the hundreds of acts from all over …

Fri, Mar 14, 2008, 14:20

   

Irish acts are in Austin, Texas this week on a mission to make new friends, influence people and play numerous shows at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival.

The Irish contingent, joining the hundreds of acts from all over the world, includes Cathy Davey, Fight Like Apes, Delorentos, The Answer, Driving By Night, Channel One, Oppenheimer and Paddy Casey.

Now in its 22nd year, SXSW is the world’s biggest and most important music showcase. Some 1,700 bands have made their way to Austin in the hope of creating a buzz in front of hundreds of music-industry professionals and media reps.

Acts who have used SXSW as a springboard to greater things in the past include The Strokes, Norah Jones (who went from playing in an Indian restaurant called the Clay Oven in 2002 to selling millions of copies of her debut album), the Polyphonic Spree, the White Stripes and Amy Winehouse.

Such is SXSW’s promotional pull that many established acts now travel there to plug an upcoming release (REM and Van Morrison) or a return to the live game (Was Not Was).

For new bands, the reasons for taking the long trip to Texas have changed. With the record industry in the doldrums and the number of major label reps in attendance down on previous years, any talk of a big record deal on the back of a SXSW appearance is fanciful at best. Instead, acts make the most of a couple of days in the Texan sun by playing numerous daytime party events in addition to their official SXSW night-time slot.

For nine of the Irish acts, yesterday’s Full Irish Breakfast at BD Riley’s on Sixth Street was one such promotional opportunity, while four Northern Irish acts, including Oppenheimer and In Case Of Fire, are playing the New Music from Northern Ireland party today at Latitude 30.