Sunday, March 19, 2006

Manchester by way of Texas

During a Saturday showcase of Manchester, UK bands at Elysium, the night's MC, a DJ from Britain's XFM, told the crowd, "It's bloody crazy that these Manchester bands need to travel thousands of miles to Texas, of all places, to get airplay." This really helped me see how huge this festival means to bands. There seems to be a large UK presence here at the festival, bands like this year's "it" the Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol is here to push their new album, Billy Bragg, The Magic Numbers, The Rakes, most of the bands from Domino records, even the now elder statesmen - The Charlatans UK - have established a presence. They were the final band in last night's Manchester showcase. Ironically, these UK bands might need SXSW to get exposure to their native audience as well. I've bumped into several fans who are from the UK who traveled all the way to Texas for the music and seem to support their home country acts. I met one young Manchester couple who were seeing the Charlatans for their first time. They laughed much like the XFM DJ on how they had to come all this way to see a band who is from their backyard.

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