Baby Bands, Pop Stars And Room-Filling Joy: What To Expect At SXSW 2013

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The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.

Finding a prevailing trend at SXSW isn't easy; the festival is like 50 events in one, so it's possible to see nothing but hip-hop, or big names, or heavy metal, or bands from overseas. There's one clear trend in independent music: A lot of the biggest artists have shed the intimacy of bedroom recordings in pursuit of a grandiose, joyous, room-filling sound.

My favorite young band of the festival's opening night fits this bill. Mother Falcon, a 17-piece rock orchestra of sorts, is based in Austin and can't help but send huge sounds bouncing off the rafters. I'm looking forward to seeing a like-minded octet called The Soil & The Sun.

Of course, the big names have their own pull, too. Prince is slated to perform at the SXSW closing party Saturday night, and even the most discovery-minded festival-goers — the ones who lament SXSW's increased emphasis on established names like Green Day and Snoop Dogg — are likely to have a hard time passing up the opportunity to see that.

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