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March 17, 2006
Support local rock?

Minnesotans love Minnesota music. This is, by and large, a good thing -- local support helps bands thrive. And when you're in Austin, it means that any performance by a Twin Cities band is likely to attended by a sizeable flock of Twin Cities fans. Case in point: the Plastic Constellations, who ripped through a great set at the Frenchkiss showcase last night. The audience was by no means MN-exclusive, but let's just say I got to catch up with a bunch of old acquaintances.

One of 'em was fellow former Minnesotan Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, who hopped up on stage to join TPC for "Sancho Panza." Finn and guitarist Tad Kubler were both in town merely as civilians this year -- the band played enough shows for three SXSWs in '05. He did have a curious news announcement though: On Wednesday, the Hold Steady signed with Vagrant Records, known for pop-emo phenoms like Dashboard Confessional and Senses Fail--an odd choice, that.

Then again, the Cities aren't the only cities with rabid local boosters. Earlier last night, we caught The Catch, a pretty decent new wavey power-pop band from Seattle. And judging from the crowd, plenty of Seattleites had turned out for their hometown heroes as well. Again, not sure what to make of this phenomenon--on one hand, it's great that everyone wants to back up their local faves. On the other, it kind of defeats the purpose of these showcases, with bands' exposure limited to already converted fans, and fans failing to expand their horizons.

OK, breakfast is calling out loud to me now. More about last night in an hour or so...

Posted by Keith Harris at 11:51 AM


SXSW reminds me of Washington D.C. during pro football season -- you wander into a bar, and everyone is an expat from a different city united for this brief moment because they share a common previous local reference.

Posted by Rex at March 17, 2006 3:20 PM