You don’t have to cruise down I-35 to experience some of the greatness that is SXSW. We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to bother. The crowds! The traffic! And, well, you might have to work.
Luckily, we benefit from the music fest spillover as bands put on shows in Dallas on their way to — or from — Austin. Some of the bands featured in these shows live in our own backyard. But some are stationed thousands of miles away from Texas.
The real beauty, however, is how well they mesh — whether on the same bill or as a progressive music hop along our local stages.
There is so much to choose from, but we picked a few of the best live music opportunities currently upon us, courtesy of SXSW.
Thursday, March 14
Less Than Jake at Trees
This Florida band has brought pop punk to nearly every corner of the world since its inception (and subsequent national airplay) more than 12 years ago. Their show at Trees is adorned with relatively new Dallas ska powerhouse Rude King, young punksters Happy Alright (ranging in age from 14 to 18) and Fat by the Gallon.
Friday, March 15
Bajofondo at The Kessler
“This is going to be amazing,” reports The Kessler’s Jeff Liles. “Huge band fronted by the guy who wrote the scores for Brokeback Mountain and Babel.” Although they’ve been labeled as “electronica tango,” Bajofondo dismisses such labels — and rightly so. The inventive, world-influenced shows mesh modern and classic dance music styles. With upward of nine gifted performers onstage, you can bet it won’t just be the dance floor that’s packed.
Sunday, March 17
Spillover Fest at DoubleWide and Sandbar Cantina
Local promoter John Iskander’s event sums up the “runoff benefits” of having SXSW just down the road. Two venues, three stages, 20 bands from DFW and beyond — and it’s a steal at just $20. Although there are so many cool sounds to explore here, a couple of highlights include Mondo Generator (starring Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age) and local hard-rock-tronic innovators Pinkish Black.
Honky Tonk PBR-BQ at Club Dada
One of the best-kept secrets of the Dallas music scene is our unique brand of country rock. It’s outlaw, it’s Americana and it’s definitely rock-and-roll, soaked in cheap beer and slightly burnt meat. It’s shrouded in a little mystery because, from the outside, it simply looks like an elitist hipster scene. It’s not. It’s fun, loose and friendly. All the bands on the lineup are top-notch; as a bonus, Chris Shiflett (of Foo Fighters fame) and The Dead Peasants have just been added to the bill. Bring your dirty cowboy boots and your appetite.
Monday, March 18
Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes at House of Blues
Cripes. They’re so good. And tough to describe, but we’ll give it a shot: sassy, big-booty soul music from Australia. A quadruple assault of sexy, hearty female vocals. If you like Aretha Franklin, Mihalia Jackson and Amy Winehouse, then these girls will blow you away. See them in a small room (the HOB’s Cambridge Room) while you still can.