SXSW standouts bound for New York
Even as the Internet has made it easier than ever for bands to get discovered, nothing can replicate the experience of seeing a great new act in person.
That's why Austin's South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) remains a top destination for music lovers, with more than 2,000 bands performing during the course of a week, ranging from huge names to groups that haven't even recorded an album yet.
For those who couldn't get to Texas, here's a look at some bands making their way to New York.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Bruce not only delivered SXSW's keynote address, he also warmed up for his world tour with an intimate concert - only his second with the new version of the E Street Band, which features a horn section in place of the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons. The show focused on the folk- and gospel-influenced tracks from his recession-themed new album "Wrecking Ball," with some classic hits sprinkled in. At 62, Springsteen is still one of the most energetic and inspiring performers around. (Izod Center, April 3-4; Madison Square Garden, April 6 & 9)
A soulful, vintage rock 'n' roll band with a singer that can channel Adele's heartbreak in one song and Tina Turner's grit in another, the Alabama Shakes sold out clubs in England and the U.S. based solely on word of mouth. Their debut album, "Boys & Girls," comes out April 10. (Bowery Ballroom, April 11; Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 12)
SXSW's biggest comeback story, Fiona Apple played a bunch of old favorites and premiered three songs from her upcoming album, her first in seven years. In many ways, not much has changed: Her voice is still powerful, she wears her emotions on her sleeve, and she's hasn't lost her ability to pull off everything from jazzy vamps to growling blues. (Music Hall of Williamsburg, March 23; Bowery Ballroom, March 26; Governors Ball Music Festival, June 24)
The hard-touring Lucero lived up to their reputation for putting on a killer live show. Their new album, "Women & Work," is practically a primer on the music of their hometown of Memphis, encompassing Southern barroom rock, classic soul, country and even a bit of gospel. (Webster Hall, April 20)
The Punch Brothers
Who would have thought one of America's best young bluegrass combos would be based in Brooklyn? A Punch Brothers performance goes beyond tradition, including not only lightning-quick runs on banjo and mandolin but also new twists on songs by bands like Radiohead and the Strokes. (Town Hall, April 26)
Sharon Van Etten
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter made the most of her high-profile slot following Fiona Apple at NPR's showcase. Once known for her onstage shyness, Van Etten is now a commanding presence, keeping the crowd engaged as she moved from delicate ballads to loud, muscular rockers. (Brooklyn Academy of Music, May 3)