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SXSW '09: Rock of ages

Posted by James Reed  March 23, 2009 01:21 AM

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South by Southwest isn't just for discovering the next wave of hot indie-rock bands. More and more heritage acts (R.E.M., last year) are showing up in headlining slots, often hoping to connect with diverse audiences and generate buzz ahead of a new project.

This year's lineup featured performances by '80s hitmakers Echo & the Bunnymen and Devo, both of whom will have new albums out later this year, along with '60s garage-rockers the Sonics. Oldies but goodies such as Cajun legend Doug Kershaw, swamp-blues king Tony Joe White, and folk raconteur Rosalie Sorrels played one-off shows. Metallica made a not-so-secret appearance, and the Indigo Girls shared a bill with PJ Harvey and John Parish, who release a new album, "A Woman a Man Walked By," on March 31.

Confessing that it was her first trip to SXSW, and to Austin, Harvey said she and her longtime collaborator Parish felt very welcome at the festival. With Harvey on vocals and Parish playing guitar and ukulele, they gave a generous sneak peek of the new album, their first together since 1996's "Dance Hall at Louse Point." Behold a first taste of what's to come:


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