SXSW 2010, A Heavy Opening

There's always so much going on at SXSW that it' impossible to hit every single showcase worth going to, and choosing one over another is no easy task. But when it came to Tuesday and Wednesday nights, there was no question in our minds were we needed to be.
Author:
Publish date:

There's always so much going on at SXSW that it' impossible to hit every single showcase worth going to, and choosing one over another is no easy task. But when it came to Tuesday and Wednesday nights, there was no question in our minds were we needed to be.

Tuesday night at the famous Stubbs BBQ -- which has an amazing, large back yard venue -- we settled in for heavy rock 'n' roll legends Motorhead and local favorites The Sword. This bill was a no-brainer for the metal guitar and bass geeks, and it was a sold out event. We arrived just in time for The Sword to start, and were instantly reminded of why we're so heavily anticipating the group's third album (currently being recorded here in Austin by Matt Bayles, of Mastodon production fame). The band plays a brand of metal that's rhythmic and driving, heavy handed and hard charging, but doesn't sacrifice the technicality. We heard classics like "Winter's Wolves" from their eponymous debut record, and "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians" from their second record, Gods of the Earth, as well as some soon-to-be favorites from their as-yet-untitled record.

SWORD

When Motorhead hit the stage pandemonium hit the audience. Despite his slight frame, Lemmy is about 20 feet tall in personality, and when this signature opening line rang out from the PA -- "WE ARE MOTORHEAD, AND WE PLAY ROCK 'N' ROLL!" -- the audience responded with a massive wave of cheers, and the band proceeded to rip through an hour-long set of new and old songs, including the legendary "Ace of Spades." It was, in a word, epic.

Wednesday night was a lock for the Action PR showcase at The Mohawk, featuring psych rock newcomers Mondo Drag, Booklyn's Naam, Vancouver BC's Bison, midwestern metal traditionalists Gets Of Slumber, Southern metal stalwarts Zoroaster, Montreal's fast rising Priestess, and the mighty High On Fire, in their only SXSW showcase appearance. It was a long night featuring act after act of bone crushing metal, capped off by Oakland, CA's High On Fire, who played a packed house of rabid fans. The band's latest record, Snakes For The Divine, was released a couple weeks ago and cracked the Billboard Top 100 at #62, and fans were treated to live renditions of great new songs like "Frost Hammer" and "Bastard Samurai," as well as older tunes like "Fury Whip" and "Rumors of War." Guitarist Matt Pike, bass player Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensal are obviously very much in their element on stage, effortlessly pummeling the audience with massive riffage, Pike running his custom 9-string First Act through a Marshall stack AND an Ampeg 8x10, Matz following suit on a First Act Delgada run through an Ampeg SVT CL and 8x10, as well as a Marshall half-stack.

HOF_Matz

It was huge and loud and amazing, and it was just the first night of SXSW Music. Stay tuned for more, and see photos from the High On Fire show by CLICKING HERE.

Related

SXSW 2010 Topspin Demo

The SXSW Festival and Conference is a mecca for live musicians of all stripes, from rock to metal to country to rap to electronic and pop and everything in between. It all has a home here, and as far as music cities go, few can touch Austin's open accommodation of music culture. Of course for most bands, writing songs, playing shows and recording albums is most of the focus, but at some point, nearly all bands to turn to the question of how to get their music out to more people and built their fanbase, which is why many of them play at SXSW. But a festival like this is only the start of one path to stardom, and success never comes without hard work and calculated business.

SXSW 2010 Location, Location, Location

The next big thing in mobile internet technology is location. With GPS-enabled smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberrys and Android phones, software like Google Buzz, Foursquare and Gowalla, and location-enhanced options coming to Twitter and Facebook, its becoming easier to check in to the cyber world while on the go, and follow your friends in real time.

Jim Marshall, 1936-2010

In the world of music magazine publishing, Jim Marshall was probably just as important as the musicians he photographed. In an industry where image so frequently becomes perception, Marshall's keen eye and craftsmanship produced thousands of photographs which may have

War_Clay_Rev-side

NAMM 2010 Warm Up

Among the tons and tons of new gear we're looking forward to getting our hands on at this year's Winter NAMM show, are three new basses from Warwick. The Adam Clayton Reverso model reflects a first time collaboration between U2’s

Bryan Beller on Turning 40

By Bryan BellerI just turned 40 years old. It’s funny my mind is sharper and more at peace than ever with the rigors of freelance musician travel, yet my body is showing signs of begging to differ, most notably when