NME Radar At SXSW 2011 – Suuns, Dom, Puro Instinct, Arson Anthem

Every year I attempt to dream up a new way of coining the magic of Austin’s South By Southwest music conference/massive fuck-off festival. But this year I had to defer to the words of a SXSW virgin companion of mine, who likened it to ‘an urban Glastonbury’.

Not urban in the dodgy sense of generalizing about N Dubz and Tinchy Stryder, but as in, harnessing that dumb-struck gawping awe new revellers get at worth farm. Not even so much at the bills – although megabands playing secret shows in taco stands and the such is nothing to moan at – but just at the sheer scale of the whole thing. It’s a city subsumed in new music. It can be quite overwelming.

Talking of overwhelming, check this out for an introduction to the week:


I caught up with the band earlier in the day, they were every bit as an intense experience in conversation (bazzing):

I stopped by this place called 501 for an Altered Zones showcase. My smoking partner Piper who I travelled to LA to explore its local medical marijuana scene with last year was playing in her band Puro Instinct. They were fittingly psychedelic, and it appeared they’d pinched the visuals from an early ’90s acid house rave. Everyone should check out their new album, out now on Mexican Summer:

Just down the road from that Dom were tearing it up at the Fader fort in their own inimitably disheveled manner, top stuff:

Then it felt about time for a bit of a hardcore marathon over at legendary local punk destination, Emos. Trash Talk were just starting as we arrived, their combination of being brutally heavy and faultlessly positive never wanes:

Then later that night we were treated to something very special indeed. Phil Anselmo from Pantera, Down etc was playing in his new Arson Anthem project with Mike Williams from Eyehategod. It was bludgeoning. Phil plays guitar in the band. Look at him showing off:

Mike gave perhaps the best opening gambit I’ve ever seen at SXSW: