SXSW: An audience of technological lemmings? Early head’s up; Blasted Canyons tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm March 22, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

The most disturbing trend at this year’s South by Southwest Festival — musicians performing to an audience of down-turned heads, thanks to the advent of the smart phone.

Sure, they’ve been around for years, but they’ve never been so prevalent. In Austin last week, everyone had an iPhone and everyone spent most of the time at shows I attended staring down at them rather than up at the stage. As a result, musicians and bands, who could play as many as 10 shows over the course of three days, couldn’t help but notice that no one was paying attention.

The problem was magnified at SXSW because so many people in the audience were media or bloggers. So the typical SXSW show paradigm consisted of the band taking the stage, the audience taking a photo with their smart phone, then spending the next few minutes uploading the image to their Twitter feed and/or Facebook wall. And then, after about three songs, going back to their phones to see if anyone commented on their tweets/Facebook status update. Pathetic?

This is the topic of my column this week in The Reader, which you can read right here (and in the printed version on newsstands now) Read it, then come back and leave a comment….

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This is an early head’s up for an event taking place next Friday — March 30 — at House of Loom.  Loom owner/operator/genius Brent Crampton asked me to take part in his Friday Afternoon Club. I said yes. Details here. More details next week. Mark your calendar. I have a very strong suspicion  no one will be there, so expect a chill launch to your weekend…

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Tonight at O’Leaver’s it’s SF band Blasted Canyons with Pint of No Return. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, LA electronic outfit Mansions on the Moon plays at The Waiting Room with Touch People (a.k.a. Darren Keen) & DJ Hypoxik. $12, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.