“A couple of years ago, Lewis Jay Meyers, a co-founder of the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, stood in the middle of Austin’s blocked-off Sixth Street, the heart of the club district, as SXSW attendees poured down the sidewalks and traffic lanes. Meyers shook his head in amused disbelief and said, “You know, this isn’t quite what I envisioned when we started this.”
“This year, SXSW’s music component, which kicks off Tuesday, marks a quarter-century as music’s springtime nexus for networking, schmoozing, scouting and rocking out.
“Organized by Meyers (now director of Memphis’ Folk Alliance), Austin talent manager Roland Swenson (today SXSW’s executive director), Louis Black and Nick Barbaro, editor and publisher of the alt-weekly the Austin Chronicle, the first SXSW was a humble affair. The 1987 event’s panel sessions and its 700 registrants were housed in one downtown hotel, and just 172 bands comprised the official bill at 13 venues.
“This year’s 25th SXSW Music will attract nearly 12,000 registrants. The conference will take over the 881,000-square-foot Austin Convention Center for five days. The official 2011 roster of 2,000 acts will perform in 90 venues; hundreds of others will play guerrilla-style unofficial shows. And every hotel in the Austin area is booked solid.”
“We know Odd Future’s SXSW show will be swarming with … everybody, and admittedly, we add to that mass media feeding frenzy with our special spread in this week’s print issue, out tomorrow. But we like being able to breathe a little bit (which is why we live in this sprawling, sparkly city, smogwhatsmog?) at our hip-hop shows, which is why we recommend the following Five Must-See L.A. Rappers at SXSW.
J*DaVeY & Blu
“The tomcattin’ Miss Jack Davey and Brook D’Leau, the beatsmith who lets her prowl the stage, are J*DaVeY, an every-funky-thing but the kitchen sink duo. With D’Leau’s viscous beats throbbing underneath Miss Davey’s softly panting vocals, the music’s as seductive as their live show. Blu, L.A.’s most enigmatic, artistic rapper, is hitting a few of J*DaVeY’s upcoming tour dates, so we bet they’ll hop on each other’s sets at SXSW, too. Every artist needs a muse, and Miss Jack Davey seems ripe for Blu’s picking. Or vice versa.”
Related: Your TSS x SXSW Itinerary For 2011