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Gearing (and Queering) Up for SXSW

Getting a grasp on the world of South By Southwest is daunting. At the music side of the Austin festival there are thousands of bands playing sanctioned showcases, on top of tens of dozens of unofficial parties, showcases and random pop-up acts. You can barely walk two feet in the downtown area without hearing something new. As a first-timer in Austin, I'm on the ground for Popnography trying to find the best of the best, and queerest, performers. Sure, there are a lot of buzz bands to catch at SXSW, but here's a few that caught our queer eyes.

Scissor Sisters:
If this band isn't at the top of every SXSW homo's list we don't know what's wrong with you. If you're looking for a show where you're all but guaranteed to see a naked or nearly naked men, glitter, and some of the biggest and best hair ever known, Scissor Sisters' Saturday night showcase is your best bet.

The band (see the clip above) is finally making their eagerly awaited US debut (after a canceled run on a Katy Perry tour in 2008) at SXSW this year. They'll be playing a showcase Friday night and then Perez Hilton's highly anticipated One Night In Austin shindig on Saturday. For those of you not in Austin, they'll be making a stop in New York on their way back to Europe. This band is not to be missed.

The Young Veins:
Before last week The Young Veins only slightly-queer connection was that they're an off-shoot from Popnography favorite Panic! At The Disco (lyricist and guitarist Ryan Ross left the band with bassist Jon Walker last spring to start The Young Veins). However, with the addition of Nick White on keyboards (formerly of Tilly and the Wall and touring band member for Bright Eyes) the band gains some seriously gay cred. The new sound is definitely not in line with their old disco-circus roots, and you probably won't catch any eyeliner, but this fivesome of boys are sharp dressers who sing jangling summer tunes reminiscent of the Kinks. Plus they're playing a killer showcase on Friday with their fellow Crush Management bands Travis McCoy, Foxy Shazam and headlined by none other than Courtney Love and Hole.

Gay Witch Abortion:
Okay, we'll admit, we don't know anything about this band other than what their official SXSW bio provides --- "a two-piece from Minneapolis" --- but we're going to say you should go see them just because of their name. I mean, come on, it's gay witches. You really can't go wrong.

We'll check out these and maybe wander by a several dozen more showcases, parties and events this week in hopes of finding the next big, queer thing. But we know with 2,000 plus bands showcasing this week that we're obviously missing some, so let us know your picks for the best and gayest SXSW bands in the comments and we'll try and check them out.


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Noah Michelson