The second annual SXSW Create brings together local and international members of the SXSW community to share disruptive creations, innovative tools and unique fabrication methods.
I was a little underwhelmed for the most part. Much smaller than the Dorkbot back in 2006. But one fundamental thing changed since then that makes everything today cooler: 3D printers. Below, some photos, videos and observations.
This is the Leap Motion Controller. It’s a little box that can track all your fingers in space. They started preorders last year and it looked so cool on the videos that of course I ordered one. Well, they are shipping in May, and I finally saw it in person. Useful for me? Unsure. Cool? As hell.
This is a demo of the MaKey Makey. Plug it in to turn almost anything into sort of a sensor. Here they are demoing a fruit piano. Kinda cute.
The star, in my opinion: 3D Printing. That was the Makerbot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, slowly but surely building some little figurines from melted plastic filament. This stuff is amazing. It sells for $2,199, which sounds like a lot. But think of this: when I was a kid, I wanted a color flatbed scanner really bad. But they cost around $2,199. Now they cost less than $100. See what I mean? This stuff is going to be everywhere!
I used to be a serious gamer. I beat hundreds of games back in the day. I even came in second place in a 2004 FIFA Soccer tournament. But that was then. Now, my gaming friends are no longer around, and I got tired of getting mercilessly beaten by little kids when online gaming got big. So I pretty much stopped.
But that’s not enough to keep me from the SXSW Gaming Expo! Of course, the number one obvious thing is that gaming has largely shifted away from consoles and PCs towards iPhones, Android phones, and iPads. Some photos below.
As expected, almost two thirds of the bands are from the home country. I don’t know how this compares historically, but I would guess that the US share has been slowly declining as the event grows in size and notoriety.
US bands by state
This one you definitely want to click on so you can see in more detail. To my surprise, there are nearly as many Californian acts as there are Texan!
As expected, US-speaking Canada, UK, and Australia are the most represented. Southern neighbor Mexico is next. The biggest surprise in my opinion is that tiny Israel is next, with 10 bands! Good, since I like Israeli music. Saddest surprise: nothing from Colombia. Colombian bands are always a big draw. As circumstantial evidence, an old SXSW photo I posted with Bomba Estereo’s Colombian hottie lead singer Li Saumet is one of the top traffic referrers to The MKX®. Go ahead, look it up on Google Image.
And only because I can and because it’s cool (Google Docs Drive FTW!), here’s a World Map showing the number of bands per country:
On the last night of SXSW I headed over to Maggie Mae’s for some Chilean love music. First, Intimate Stranger – a band from Santiago, Chile with a British vocalist – but they all live in Austin now. Got it? Keep reading for more photos and video.
Top Israeli band HaDag Nachash (or Nahash – but the h is stronger) has been to Austin before. February 2008 to be precise.
Now they came back for SXSW all the way from the other side of the world. It’s very unfortunate that due to poor planning, the earlier shows at TenOak (formerly Cuba Libre) could not stick to their schedule apparently due to delays in setting up each show; so everything ran late and HaDag could not start playing until 1:45 AM, 15 minute before closing time.
When this happened last year at a different venue, they simply stopped serving alcohol and let the band finish their act… sure, after anti-Mubarak-like protests from the audience.
We were not so lucky this year. Shitheads. At least we got a good 15 minutes.
Another South African rapper we saw is Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), and he was a grownup. He was pretty good, but the best part by far was his bassist. She was awesome. You need to see the video, but I don’t know if it does her justice.
This little kid from Johannesburg (oh… the memories) calls himself Gamebuoy and he can rap pretty good. Who knows, maybe he’ll get really famous and I’ll be able to say that I saw him in a concert when he was a kid and I was standing by the stage and totally blocked him from everyone’s view.
These guys were one of my favorite surprises this SXSW. From Medellín, Colombia, this band from the late eighties sometimes can sound a lot like Depeche Mode with a little Moenia, which they predate… so I guess Moenia sounds a little like them.