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SXSW previews at Chicago venues

I am going to sprint past the assumption that you already know what SXSW stands for and is—a huge, multimedia festival in Austin, TX. The music portion of the festival starts up Wednesday (17th) and runs through Sunday (21st), and not everyone has the means or time or gusto to get down there to it. Luckily for us, we live in Chicago, and one doesn't have to dig too deep to find some bands stopping in our city on their way to Austin.

Monday, March 15th

The Empty Bottle has a great lineup of four bands that are headed down to SXSW this week. The show is free and starts at 9 PM with Campfires and their slick/fuzzy brand of lo-fi garage rock. Cleveland natives Cloud Nothings keep the fuzz buzzing. Next up is Champaign/Urbana duo Common Loon, who take the guitarist+drummer duo to harmonic heights instead of the usual thundering lows. My Golden Mask, another duo, headlines. MGM guitarist Jack Armondo brings a nylon-string electric guitar and drummer Gretta Rochelle sends her vocals soaring and occasionally crashing.

Woods and Real Estate bring their spring tour to Lincoln Hall tonight. Both bands put out Top 50 Albums of 2009 according to Pitchfork. Woods may not be as immediately listenable as the catchy, sun-drenched tunes of Real Estate, but the two should provide powerful counterpoints to each other, as well as lift and push each other to new highs. Show starts at 9 PM, ticket's $12 and if you're 18, then you're old enough to get in. Netherfriends opens.

Tuesday, March 16th

The Bottom Lounge brings The Very Best to the stage for what should surely be the most fantastically happy, mesmerizing and contagiously danctastic pre-St. Patrick's day party. This is something like M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, and Animal Collective. Maybe. The Very Best never stay stationary anywhere long enough to compare to other artists, which is one of the things that make them so interesting and lovable. And, since I went ahead and mentioned those other bands, I'll go ahead and say I don't smell any pretentiousness wafting from their direction. Chandeliers, Bin Laden Blowin Up (also headed to SXSW), and Ninjasonik play in support. The show starts at 8 PM, a ticket runs $15, and you have to be 17 to get in the door.

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