South By Southwest was bigger than ever and, to quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”
There were a lot of interesting bands from around the world, and the umbrella genre of world music was well represented at clubs and parties around town. The jazz offerings, on the other hand, seemed to have shrunk from years past.
I was fortunate to be able to offer a world music sampler showcase at the Butterfly Bar of the Vortex Theater. We had the show March 13, and featured local groups Sangeet Millennium, Ethereal Spectrum, and my band Manteca Beat. It was a pretty magical evening.
During the week I also played shows with Larry Lange and the Lonely Knights, kicking the blues and swamp pop at Tom’s Taboley, Guero’s, the Broken Spoke, and the G & S Lounge.
One of the high points of the SXSW week was playing with Bett Butler and Joel Dilley at the Elephant Room. They are a wonderful jazz duo from San Antonio and I hope to do more music with them soon.
One of the low points of the week was trying to get to my downtown gigs while dodging drunks, thick crowds, and miserable parking. But that’s just normal working conditions these days. Builds character.
Thanks to everyone who made the week a full and inspiring experience! A special shout-out to my sister Joyce Klemperer who attended SXSW this year and shot a lot of video of my shows. Keep an eye out for various clips as we edit and post them.
– Paul Klemperer