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'SXSW Live 2007'
(Various / DVD / NR / 2007 / Shout! Factory)

Overview: 'SXSW Live 2007' is the first-ever DVD featuring material from the trendsetting music festival. Recorded in March 2007 at SXSW in Austin, TX, it contains 18 outstanding performances from the event. 'SXSW Live 2007' includes many of the newest cutting-edge and established artists of today, including The Bravery, Aqualung, Peter Bjorn & John, Razorlight, Polyphonic Spree, Rachel Fuller with Pete Townshend, and Rickie Lee.

DVD Verdict: The South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas is regarded as one of the most influential live music showcases in the country. Starting in 1987, the festival has grown into a sprawling multi-day event with hundreds of bands. And now for the first time, an official DVD was made, filming some off the best (and not quite the best) artists of the fest. The bands were filmed at two custom-built clubs (constructed by Shout! Factory), the Lone Star Lounge and the Bat Bar. The performances were captured in HD with 5.1 surround sound. On SXSW Live 2007, the video quality and sound is exceptional.

The show was originally broadcast on DirectTV. This DVD culls some of the top bands. A few legends (Lee Scratch Perry, Rickie Lee Jones, Pete Townsend) are included, but it’s mainly focused on up and coming artists like The Bravery, Aqualung, and Peter Bjorn and John.

Of all the performances, Marc Broussard stands out. He is a revelation. His high energy Cajun blues, buoyed by a voice that rips the song to shreds, drives the crowd into a frenzy. I could have used a couple more songs by him. Hopefully his entire performance will make it to a DVD. This is what SXSW is exactly for, discovering great new talent.

The Bravery, The Automatic Automatic, Razorlight, and Mando Diao all delivered frenetic, jarring performances, elevating their songs onto that higher plane that a truly awesome concert experience can do. Aqualung’s soulful, inspired music was well featured in his segment, while Rachel Fuller extracted great rhythmic work from legend Pete Townsend. Kraak & Smaak, Stars of Track and Field, and Lee Scratch Perry, filled that middle gray area between good and bad… bland. Their song selections were good though, making up for the uninspired performances.

Not every performance lived up to expectations. I don’t get the Polyphonic Spree. Their appearance on this collection did nothing to change that. Rocco DeLuca’s song "Colorful” wasn’t much worth watching, while Bowling for Soup might go down in history as a half-hit wonder with their annoying radio ditty “1985”.

There aren’t many extras, save for some interviews with some of the bands. But for the picture and sound quality alone, this is a must have DVD for fans of music. Though a few bands failed to “bring it”, the rest delivered.

www.ShoutFactory.com





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