The Accidentals, Heaters, Flint Eastwood, Rick Chyme, LOUIS, The Outer Vibe and more travel to Texas this week in hopes of making waves at the music industry’s biggest conference and festival.
LOCAL SPINS WILL PROVIDE DAILY COVERAGE OF MICHIGAN BANDS IN AUSTIN DURING SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST STARTING TUESDAY — INCLUDING STORIES, PHOTOS AND VIDEOS.
With more than 2,000 acts performing “officially” during the Texas conference and festival that will attract more than 50,000 registered attendees later this week, SXSW ranks as “one of the most unique events we have experienced,” Buist said as the Traverse City band prepared to attend the gargantuan musical summit for the second year in a row.
“You have the opportunity to learn at the panels, connect with industry professionals, have your music heard and critiqued, get feedback from people who have been in the business for years, meet other bands and musicians, and get to eat great barbecue all in the first two hours.”
And once again, there will be an island of Michigan music and products amid the vast sea of SXSW performances, speeches and parties.
For the second year in a row, Michigan House will host a venue highlighting all things Michigan, with daily coverage of its musical happenings courtesy of Local Spins.
Grand Rapids and Austin couldn’t be more different in terms of topography, climate, population and culture. But a common thread connects the two: a love of the arts, especially music.
For their part, The Accidentals – among dozens of Michigan bands making the trip to Austin this year – see that “both areas have people that work incredibly hard to cultivate a supportive music scene and the artists on both fronts work to support each other and collaborate in a way that creates family.”
CREATING A PLACE TO ‘COME TOGETHER’ MUSICALLY
The Accidentals even “designed these awesome T-shirts last year that were two guitars – one with Michigan in the sound hole and one with Texas in the sound hole, because we think anywhere people who love the arts have a place to come together and share with one another and support one another, great things happen.”
This year, Michigan House will set up camp in an East Austin home at 1617 Willow St. from Monday through Friday morning, allowing visitors to experience some of the great things the Mitten has to offer including craft brews from Founders, furniture by Steelcase, and products by Brightly, Detroit Creative Corridor, CAT Footwear, Shinola, Two James, Cabresto Tequila, L. Mawby Vineyards, Boxed Water, Proper Soda and others.
The venue also will host a panel discussion hosted by Local Spins on March 17, a roundtable focusing on ways of making connections and building Michigan’s music scene using Austin’s experience as a model.
Musicians on the panel will include BettySoo, an Austin folk-rock singer-guitarist, Michael Fracasso, an Austin singer-songwriter and chef based, The Accidentals, Grand Rapids rock-pop outfit, and The Outer Vibe, along with Nicole LaRae, co-founder of Grand Rapids’ dizzybird records.
The 1:30 p.m. Thursday roundtable will be streamed live via Periscope, with a video of the session available later at LocalSpins.com.
Michigan House is described as a roving pop-up space where Michigan companies, organizations, artists, and entrepreneurs can tell their stories under one roof. The pop-up venue is backed by a list of organizations, including Creative Many Michigan, Start Garden, Opportunity Detroit, ArtPrize, AMI Entertainment and the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.
The most recent Michigan House incarnation took place in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show and featured performances by several artists, including Grand Rapids funk/soul band Vox Vidorra.
This year, marks the organization’s second visit to SXSW, and a few changes are in order.
“The biggest change is we’re doing venue shows outside the house at a place in East Austin called Stay Gold,” said Ted Velie, chief organizer of Michigan House. “One night, Founders is doing a tap takeover and the other night, Shinola and AMI Entertainment are bringing in some musicians that they work with.”
HOUSE BANDS TO PERFORM — AND RECORD — AT MICHIGAN HOUSE ALL WEEK
Throughout the week, Michigan musical acts will rotate through as “house bands”: Traverse City’s The Accidentals, Heaters from Grand Rapids, In Tall Buildings from Ann Arbor and Chicago, and the Detroit acts Flint Eastwood and ONEFREQ.
While at Michigan House, each band will record a song for the international ArtPrize competition, with one chosen by a panel of experts to win a $5,000 prize and the opportunity to headline ArtPrize 2016’s opening ceremonies at Rosa Parks Circle.
Beyond acts showcased at Michigan House, a plethora of other Midwest artists will play SXSW, both officially and unofficially. Michigan performers include Flint Eastwood, Heaters, LOUIS, Luke Winslow King, Rick Chyme, The Outer Vibe, The Cardboard Swords, Lin-Say, Lokye, Ka$h Tha Kushman, Supakaine, Prada Leary, Mic Phelps, Earlly Mac, Abacus, Vnesswolfchild, Cel-Man Iller, The Immortal, King Visionary, Wild Belle, In Tall Buildings, Native Howl, Humons, The High Strung, Flashclash, Dan Tillery and others.
For a performance schedule for many of these bands, visit the special SXSW scheduling page at LocalSpins.com.
The Accidentals will play a half-dozen times in Austin next week, including official SXSW showcases on Wednesday and Friday.
MAXIMIZING RESULTS AND ‘CONNECTING LIKE CRAZY’
“Going into SXSW this year, we were hyper-aware after last year’s experience that we needed to be more selective about where and when we showcased,” Buist said. “It is easy to burn out. Every show that we are doing this year has a purpose. We have spent countless hours researching the opportunities and setting up our schedule to maximize results.”
The Outer Vibe also returns to Austin this year with shows March 15 at San Jac Saloon, March 17 at The Blind Pig and March 20 at Stubb’s. The band got a taste of the festival’s environment last year for the first time.
“For whatever strange and complicated reasons, almost all of the artists on people’s radar are at SXSW playing their hearts out and connecting like crazy,” said lead guitarist Nick Hosford. “It’s over-saturated and corporate, so going down there shows the people there that still are very passionate about music that you are committed and invested in your craft.
“It’s a chance, with no guarantees, to make connections with people that might help your career. It is the crazy intersection of art and business.”
“Getting the chance to connect with industry professionals,” having the option to choose from more live venues, benefiting from a live music culture and better live attendance, enjoying some amazing barbecue and “not having to drag gear through the snow” are the pluses.
But Austin, with such an abundance of talent and hunger for live music, has its downside as well: over-saturation. To that end, there are major positives in calling a place like Grand Rapids home.
“It’s a much smaller pond in West Michigan. You can make a mark much faster, you can get an interview, TV appearance, press article, etc., without being a seasoned touring band,” Hosford said. “Competition is high in Austin. There are hundreds of excellent groups. Like Nashville, people have come from all over the world to pursue a career in music.
“Cutting your teeth in a smaller market like West Michigan before heading to the live music capital is an important step.”
Return to Local Spins for daily updates on SXSW starting Tuesday.
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC