SXSW: We Are Columbus Ohio: Ohio X Southwest

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Strolling through Austin during last year's South by Southwest Music Conference, Chris and Andy Shaw noticed the abundance of local music showcases that peppered the Sixth Street strip. Musicians from locales as diverse as Los Angeles and Milwaukee had organized a presence for their city at the center of the music world.

These events weren't part of the South by Southwest programming, but like the rest of the many unofficial events that go down concurrent to SXSW, they stood to benefit from the convergence of fans and music industry professionals.

Columbus had bands there last year, including official showcase spots for Mount Carmel, Lydia Loveless and The Main Street Gospel. Others played unofficial gigs.

The Shaw brothers, who play in the Andy Shaw Band, wanted in on the action. They figured more Columbus bands would too.

So the Shaws decided to organize a Columbus showcase during SXSW 2011. They named it We Are Columbus Ohio: Ohio X Southwest.

Andy Shaw and friend Genean Grantham traveled to Austin in November and secured a tiny Sixth Street spot called Foo's (The Treehouse Bar) for March 18. Since then they've recruited 10 local acts to perform and racked up sponsors to cover costs.

They hosted a benefit show last month, to be reprised Saturday at Kobo with more of the participating artists, including Joey Hebdo, G. Finesse and the NS Crew, Karate Coyote, Phillip Fox and Dr. Kenny Delicious.

Other acts making the trip include Mike Wojniak, Joshua P. James, Slick City Ramblers, The Floorwalkers and Andy Shaw Band.

With so many simultaneous shows, it's tough to get anybody's attention during SXSW unless you're already a known quantity. Having Columbus native Tim Easton as a special guest will help draw a crowd, but the Shaws emphasized that the bands can work on their own to make the trip worthwhile.

It's not a fool's errand. Lydia Loveless' manager convinced a rep from Bloodshot Records to see her play last year; she signed with the Chicago roots rock label this winter.

The Ohio X Southwest crew hopes for similar successes this year, but even taking the initiative to travel south is a step in the right direction.

"It's not dressed up like we're going to rule the world," Andy Shaw said. "It's about progress."


9 p.m. Saturday, March 5

2590 N. High St., Campus