Counting Crows Headlining SXSW? Seriously?

Rocks Off has long since made our peace with the massive inconvenience SXSW can be. Even after our recent medical difficulties, we're even looking forward to going next month. We had a good time last year, mostly because we finally got to see OMD and Men Without Hats live. The bucket list got a little shorter.

Also, we managed to stay out of the way of collapsing booms and fences, and no riots broke out at any shows we attended. So that was nice. Steering clear of the traveling maelstrom that was Odd Future and Tyler, the Creator also turned out to be a wise idea.

But now comes word that Counting Crows will headline one of SXSW's free shows at Auditorium Shores on Friday, March 16. Yes, the Counting Crows. Really?

Before this morning, Rocks Off had not spared a thought for Counting Crows in about the past 10 years, and we were perfectly fine with that. No part of this is OK, least of all the fact that the evening is sponsored by BMI. That means that one of the two major publishing houses in the music business is firmly backing one of the worst bands we've ever heard.

We don't care if T-Bone Burnett produced their breakthrough album, the Crows' faux-Bohemian, folk-rock-lite sound wasn't that interesting the first time around. Rocks Off cannot think of a single reason for SXSW and BMI to be celebrating it today.

The Crows were "one of the most beloved band of the decade," says the email Rocks Off got this morning. Seriously? Rocks Off might agree with that statement if you substituted "heinous" or, at the very least, "boring" for "beloved."

Even worse, the Crows' success opened the door to radio and MTV for other bands whose "organic" neo-hippie attitude was even more annoying. (A friend of ours' brother was once in Blind Melon, so they get a pass, plus they actually turned out to be a decent Southern jam band.)

To each his own, of course. Just because the Crows aren't to our personal taste doesn't mean we have to go watch them. It doesn't mean that that thousands of other people won't go see them. No doubt Rocks Off will be far, far away, perhaps watching another 120 Minutes holdover like whoever comes instead of OMD this year.

But the fact that a band so mediocre is being showcased at SXSW's very highest levels - right up there with Bruce Springsteen, pretty much - makes us sad.

Does anyone know if Adam Duritz still has the dreads? Because even if he doesn't, that still wouldn't help.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray