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Shout Factory presents
SXSW Live 2007 (2007)

"South By Southwest is the biggest festival/music conference, throwing in names and artists from all over the world."
- Matt Pinfield

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 27, 2007

Stars: The Bravery, Peter Bjorn & John, Ozomatli, The Automatic Automatic, Aqualung, Rickie Lee Jones, Bowling For Soup, Polyphonic Spree, Marc Broussard, Rachel Fuller, Pete Townshend, Rocco DeLuca, Annuals, Razorlight, Mando Diao, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Stars Of Track And Field, Kraak & Smaak, Joe Purdy
Director: Ivan Dudynsky, Phil Heyes

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:24m:24s
Release Date: August 21, 2007
UPC: 826663105735
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BB+A B-

DVD Review

The South By Southwest music festival has been held yearly in Austin, Texas since 1987, and it has quickly become the hip standard bearer for up-and-coming bands to play. With 50+ available stages and artists coming from all over the world SXSW has become an essential place to play, and it's sort of like the Olympics of music, where standout performances can quickly elevate a group's cachet in the industry.

For the 2007 fest, the circle of exposure dramatically widened, with DIRECTV having carried three days of live performances, including the 18 acts gathered here. Two distinctly different custom-built "clubs" were created inside of the Austin Convention Center, and as a capsule representation SXSW Live 2007 is a combo platter of bands, each performing one song each culled from their individual sets, with camera work and angles serving up close viewpoints from all corners of the stage.

Some of these full SXSW sets, such as the big orchestral/rock/pop of Polyphonic Spree are still getting airtime on DIRECTV, and though their performance here of When The Fool Becomes A King is grand and bombastic, in my opinion is not the best choice for as a representation of what they're all about. It really works best as build up as part of their overall set, and on its own here it's almost like coming in during the end of a movie. The Spree live is a truly unusual and exhilarating experience, and I can only hope Shout Factory eventually issues their SXSW set as a standalone.

As expected, it's a pretty diverse cross-section of acts, and it's unlikely every artist will appeal to everyone. There are some familiar acts represented, as the jazzy musings of an established performer like Rickie Lee Jones (who in her words is reinventing herself at SXSW) seems to be the polar opposite of the sexy club beats of newcomers Kraak & Smaak, but that's what SXSW is about: variety in all its forms. A genuine rock legend like Pete Townshend (hardly an up-and-comer) backs up Rachel Fuller, providing guitar and vocals, but never becomes an overshadowing presence, and dub icon Lee "Scratch" Perry shows that age does not diminish one's ability to command a stage.

But SXSW is theoretically geared towards the new, so acts like The Bravery and Razorlight are featured, as are wunderkinds Peter, Bjorn & John, who perform their catchy whistle-laced Young Folks and transform it from catchy pop into a bass-and-drums piece. Without Victoria Bergsman of The Concretes to add those lovely disinterested vocals, Young Folks gets tweaked a bit live, and the result tilts the song in a different direction. I'm not exactly sure why Bowling For Soup shows up doing the radio hit 1985, and no matter how frothy and fun the tune is, it seems to be the most ill-fitting in this overall lineup.

Eclectic is as eclectic does, and that's what SXSW Live 2007 is about. Rock on.

Live From The Bat Bar Set List:
The Bravery - Honest Mistake
Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
Ozomatli - City Of Angels
The Automatic Automatic - Monster
Aqualung - Pressure Suit
Rickie Lee Jones - Nobody Knows My Name
Bowling For Soup - 1985
Polyphonic Spree - When The Fool Becomes A King

Live From The Lone Star Lounge Set List:
Marc Broussard - Home
Rachel Fuller with Pete Townshend - Sunrise
Rocco DeLuca - Colorful
Annuals - Complete Or Completing
Razorlight - In The Morning
Mando Diao - Long Before Rock 'N' Roll
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Kiss The Champion
Stars Of Track And Field - Movies Of Antarctica
Kraak & Smaak - Money In The Bag
Joe Purdy - White Picket Fence

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All performances are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and even under the sometime shifty conditions of a live concert the transfer here looks very solid throughout. On stage, colors are vivid, with strong detail, with only the audience members lacking the same level of definition.


Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The principle audio mix here is a big, beefy Dolby Digital 5.1 track that creates a very pleasant live music listening experience, with the rear channels carrying ambient audience cues to fill out the space. The musical performances are all first rate, with instrument separation exceptionally clean, so much so that even during the jam-packed stage of Polyphonic Spree it's possible to make out the nuances of seemingly every instrument. Bass is deep and rich, as well, which helps enhance that live feel.

A 2.0 stereo option is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 18 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Fearless Freaks, Stubbs The Zombie soundtrack, Zach Galifianakis: Live At The Purple Onion, X: Live In Los Angeles
Production Notes
15 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras include a six-page booklet with brief artist profiles, listing basics like members and hometown.

A set of 15 separate artist interviewsóconducted by either Andrew W.K. or Matt Pinfieldórun about two minutes each. Not much time to go into particular detail, though Polyphonic Spree does to get succinctly explain what their unique sound is all about. The only acts not featured with interviews are The Automatic Automatic, Bowling For Soup and Joe Purdy.

The disc is cut into 18 chapters, with no subtitle options.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

This concert compilation can be had for less than the cost of a single CD, so it's tough to not to heartily endorse it just as a primer that embraces live music from a nice variety of artists. The 5.1 audio is excellent, and comes darn close to recreating the thrill of being there.


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