More than 800 bands (and counting) from all over the globe have been selected to perform as part of the 2013 South-by-Southwest Music Festival and Conference (March 12-17). The list includes a few regional acts, including three from the Fort who all have played the festival before: singer-songwriter Hudson Moore (who lives in Austin but claims Fort Worth), rapper Snow Tha Product (who lives or has lived in Fort Worth but claims Dallas), and, yes, Complete. The greatest band of all time has been chosen –– again; like, for the fifth year in a row –– to play the festival. By choosing Complete every year, South-by honchos are reveling themselves to be nothing but bargain-basement ne’er do wells. Either they, like sneaky snakes, are trying to capitalize on Complete’s YouTube notoriety –– the video for the band’s “hit” “song,” “Hoogie Boogie Land,” has been viewed 534,411 times as of this writing –– or South-by folks are trying to be funny, which is so not funny, considering that the guys in Complete are not all there mentally. The South-by bosses who think making fun of special people is somehow cool should burn in hell. It’s not cool, man. Not cool at all. And, no, Complete doesn’t need our pity either. They’re grown-ass men. They just need to stop making “music.” Which shouldn’t be a problem. The band doesn’t exist the rest of the year and comes out only to play South-by. Wow, South-by talent buyers, you guys really do your homework.
This year’s selections also have done nothing to abate my annual gripe: that cities in Flyover Country like Fort Worth always get short shrift. Nine-hundred bands from Brooklyn get invited every year but only two or three from the Fort, and there’s no way in hell that anyone can tell me that even half of those Brooklyn bands are tighter, more professional, and more creative than the 10 best bands from Fort Worth or Little Rock or Madison or Lincoln or St. Paul or St. Louis or Cleveland, the list goes on. No way.
Austin bands also get a lot of love, a lot. Well, you say, the festival is in Austin. There’s nothing wrong with South-by big-wigs throwing homegrown talent a few bones. No, but if the festival means what it used to mean –– a feather in the ol’ proverbial cap –– then South-by honchos are not doing any bands any favors by being homers. Or, of course, Austin just has so many good bands. It doesn’t. It has a lot, way more than Fort Worth, but not so many to create such a discrepancy in the numbers of Austin bands invited to play versus the number of bands from Flyover Country invited.
Maybe a lot of Flyover Country bands just didn’t submit this year. Apparently, you have to pay $35 for South-by honchos to even consider your band. Thirty-five times probably a million bands? That’s a lot of freaking dough, easily enough to pay for some big-time headliners, “underground” and “independent” artists like Robyn Hitchcock, The Crystal Method, Cold War Kids, Los Lonely Boys, and Dawes, who all are all scheduled to play this year. For free? I highly doubt it, but I could be wrong. I hope I am. Sheesh.