South by Southwest's annual music-industry dog pile wouldn't be complete without representatives from Madison's music scene. Plenty of bands from our cozy hamlet have made the journey to Austin, Texas, over the years, but the Majestic Theatre is making sure a few more will join the mix this year.
The Madison club has linked up with Minneapolis concert venue First Avenue and Etix to put on a free day party March 15 at Austin's Holy Mountain (formerly Beauty Bar). The event will celebrate the musical talent of both Minnesota and Wisconsin, with First Avenue sending Dessa, Dosh, Off With Their Heads, Solid Gold, the 4onthefloor and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. Majestic co-owner and promoter Matt Gerding said it was tough to choose just six Wisconsin bands, but in the end he and his crew chose Milwaukee-based folk band Field Report, Madison-raised rapper F.Stokes and local acts PHOX, Count This Penny, Masked Intruder and Brandon Beebe.
"It's an important thing to showcase Madison as a city with a great music scene," Gerding says. "A lot of those bands are taking up Madison as part of their identity."
This is the first year the Majestic is hosting a showcase in Austin. First Avenue asked Gerding and company to program half of the event with artists from Wisconsin. The Majestic reached out to a designer in Chicago for the event's artwork, which shows Minnesota and Wisconsin embracing each other while flashing devil horns with their free hands.
In addition to the handful of bands the Majestic tapped to make the trip, a bunch more from Madison are en route as well. All Tiny Creatures, whose new album, Dark Clock, comes out on May 28, will perform at SXSW for the fourth time, this year at the Hometapes showcase on March 16 at the Museum of Human Achievement. Guitarist Andy Fitzpatrick loves the festival but notes that it gets crazier every time.
"Each year we've had to park our van further and further away and contend with more and more crowds," he says. "But Austin is a really interesting and vibrant city, and we always have a great time down there."
He adds that it's a good chance to check out the mind-blowing barbecue in Lockhart, just south of Austin.
With luck, all the Madison acts making the trek will be just as comfortable and well fed.