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Austin Calling

Stuart Bailie | 12:43 UK time, Friday, 19 March 2010

stusxsw.jpgSo here we are in Austin, Texas, squeezing out the sunscreen, hearing the royal cacophony of a hundred bands and watching a still-curious music industry in the throes of sorting out a programme of fun. The event is called SXSW (South By South West) and it's an amazing work of love and logistics.

Dozens of venues have been liberated and street musicians are filling up the space between, particularly around the royal throng of 6th Street. At the Conference Centre, folks are toting around their large delegate packs, full of literature such as 'Is Indie Dead?' and tweeting with intent.

Personally I'd say that there's still juice left in the creature. We saw some of that on St Patrick's Day when 'Belfast Rocks' - a City Council initiative - was staged at the Latitude 30 venue, which has been given a week's branding as the British Music Embassy.

Straight Laces, And So I Watched You From Afar, General Fiasco and Fighting With Wire were all sweetly received. It was a treat to watch ASIWYFA crank right into the transcendental art-noise mode from the get-go, causing some to reach for the ear plugs and others for the joy receptors.

Later, we spilled in the night parade, to see many small acts of musical delight, to hear to increasing prowess of Villagers and the skill of Smokey Angle Shades, onwards to the small hours.

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