Bay Area Goes for Broke at SXSW

Bay Area bands set to blow up at indy fest

Just because you aren't in Austin for the country's biggest indy fest doesn't mean you can't enjoy it.

The Bay Area is well represented at the 23rd annual SXSW Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, which kicks off today and runs until the early hours of Sunday morning.

For four nights, practically every venue in downtown Austin hosts shows, sandwiched together every hour and often grouped into showcases put on by record labels and sponsors.

Badges for the festival cost about $695 each. Most of the people in the crowd are us press types (sorry but you can follow our photographers on Twitter) and industry people looking to sign the next big thing.

Our friends at Esquire put together a list of the ten acts to keep an eye open for at this year's festival and two are from San Francisco with others having deep ties to the Bay Area.

Esquire dubs Sleepy Sun and Vetiver as two bands that are on the verge of making it big. Learn more by following Vetiver's blog from Austin or check out Sleepy Sun's web site.They had plenty to say about both of them.

Esquire on Sleepy Sun: San Francisco's Sleepy Sun are the right band in the right place at the right time: This sextet's atmospheric pysch-freakout rides the wave of critical acclaim directed at peers like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. But while their sound evokes another time (and intensely altered states of being), it's their flair for strangeness (in the form of massive basslines, syncopated percussion, and enormous beards) that has their rabid fan base screaming "Let's Get Weird!" during their high-energy live shows.

Esquire on Vetiver: These San Franciscans aren't new, but they have been overshadowed by contemporaries like Bright Eyes and their friend Devendra Banhart. With their fourth record and first for a major (they signed to Sub Pop) their folky pop's about to break through — don't be surprised to see it sharing counter space with Joanna Newsom at Starbucks.

"Live music has always been the most critical component of most bands' careers and that's obviously something we've featured," says Brent Grulke, creative director of SXSW. "We've really been much more appealing to people that are do-it-yourself, make-your-own-career sort of folks."

They will be joined by another Bay Area powerhouse, Metallica, which hails from San Jose. The hard rockers are in Austin to promote their new Guitar Hero video game and to perform a semi secret show. Oops, I guess the secret out. Kanye West and Big Boi from OutKast will also put on solo shows.

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