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Reverb

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It's likely that Austin has a lot of cleaning up to do. The capital of Texas just finished hosting hordes of bands, fans and industry types at the largest live music platform in the country, the South by Southwest Music Conference & Festival. While official numbers had yet to be tallied at press time, early estimates suggest the 20th annual SXSW didn't slim down: Approximately 1,300 acts performed for more than 8,000 registered attendees (and thousands of others) over four days.

Many of the players, like Morrissey, already are established, but the real joy of attending SXSW is in discovering the year's buzzworthy acts.

There are those who think SXSW has outgrown its britches, with lines too long and more hype than substance. But Aaron Retka of Colorado Springs-based The Great Redneck Hope believes the hype.

"I've never seen so many creative people in the same place at the same time," he says. "In that regard, it's still totally worth it."

His band was invited to be a showcase act, which means he was part of the festival proper. SXSW organizers are growing increasingly frustrated by independent shows and parties on the outskirts of the festival. Retka (a former Indy contributor) says a bandmate ran into a band from either Pueblo or Fountain, which played a non-showcase performance.

Bands that showcase tend to have greater exposure to industry members, but The Great Redneck Hope, a noisecore four-piece, had no dreams of grandeur.

"We didn't go there with the intention of getting signed or something," he says. "[But] I think it was definitely helpful. We talked to a guy from Hot Topic he's a buyer who came to the showcase. He's gonna start stocking the stores with our stuff, which is good."

Retka says he was pleased with The Great Redneck Hope's SXSW performance, but adds that the band found itself upstaged.

"The Beastie Boys were playing across the street from us. They were one of the secret acts that was playing, so that kinda killed our draw a little bit," he says. "We could hear each other, certainly. But they had a couple thousand more people then we did."

In town: Brickyard, Benny's (517 W. Colorado Ave.), March 24; The Rightaways & Leer43, The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.), March 25; Edith Frost, The Black Sheep, March 26; Nerdbomb, Tony's (311 N. Tejon St.), March 28; Dwight Yoakam, Cowboys (3910 Palmer Park Blvd.), March 31.

Go north: "Taste of Chaos" Tour with Deftones, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, March 25; Gatsby's American Dream, Ogden Theatre, Denver, March 29; James Blunt, Paramount Theatre, Denver, March 30; Rocky Votolato, Marquis Theatre, Denver, March 31; Ben Harper, Fox Theatre, Boulder, March 31 & April 1.

send tips to reverb@csindy.com

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