Gay.com, The Advocate and ShoutTexas host a gay and lesbian showcase called RockOut during SXSW. It’s one of those pesky hanger-on shows that the festival doesn’t like, and it’s happening on Thursday night, the one night I’m leaving pretty wide open.
I’m tempted to check it out, if only because I haven’t been to Oilcan Harry’s in years, and I’ve never stepped inside Rain. One thing, however, makes me hesitant — the music itself.
For some reason, "emerging independent gay artist" is code for "sad gay folkie". All of the musicians featured on the program are all singer-songwriter types armed with the requisite acoustic guitar. Yes, I understand SXSW is held in Austin, Texas, a magnet for singer-songwriters, and the town is overrun with them during the five nights of the music festival. But when you’ve got R.E.M., Steve Reich, Wing and toddle playing at the same week-long event, maybe some of that diversity could have rubbed off?
I’m not expecting the Gossip, the Magnetic Fields or Matmos, but between Ari Gold, Sacha Sacket, Dylan Rice, Office and — to throw the curve out really far — Jennifer Higdon, gay musicians make all kinds of music. Why focus only on the folk ilk?