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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Can’t make SXSW? Meow by Meow Meow music fest has you covered

    If you’re bummed that you’re stuck in Tucson during Austin, Texas’s massive South by Southwest (SXSW) festival next week, look no further than Tucson’s own Meow by Meow Meow (MXMM). Originally conceived in 2009 under the alternate name South by Meow West, MXMM is comprised of three spectacular DIY, all-ages shows taking place on March 8, March 10 and March 12.

    Groups from Tucson and up the West Coast will converge to help pave the way for touring bands on the road to SXSW and to celebrate the all-ages scene that has sprung from the Tucson Live Music Space since its opening last September.

    As MXMM founder/local DIY musician Mullarkey explained, “South by Meow West/Meow by Meow Meow has always been about matching the fest to the needs of the time, whether that means getting fun shows for multiple touring bands or helping out with a bigger fest.”

    Although the timing and geographical convenience makes MXMM a pit stop for those headed out to Austin, Mullarkey maintains a positive attitude about what his festival means for Tucson itself. “I think the most important thing is to make great things happen in our own community, rather than envying a big, mega-funded fest in a distant city,” he said.

    It’s Mullarkey’s commitment to his local scene that makes MXMM such a special festival. For one thing, Mullarkey is a proud supporter of all-ages shows, opting not to hold MXMM at 21-and-up bars and clubs. The way he puts it, the most important shows to him need to be all-ages for “maximum inclusion.”

    “I can never forget what it was like to be a teenager wanting to see one of my favorite bands but locked out because it was at a bar,” Mullarkey said. “Young people need live music more than the adults because it empowers them and gives them joy at a stage in their lives when a lot of forces are trying to make them conform.

    Mullarkey also relates to the all-ages issue as a performer. His band, Monster Pussy, which will play one of its last shows at MXMM on Tuesday, has long championed all-ages venues for the simple reason that “it means no one is going to get drunk while talking over a band in the background. Music is the reason to go there.”

    With this vision in mind, Mullarkey looks ahead to the three days of MXMM and what is hopefully a bright future for all-ages festivals in Arizona.

    “At Tucson Live Music Space,” Mullarkey explained, “all it takes is being in the same room and liking the same music. ‘Welcoming’ is a good word. New friendships are sparked; existing friendships are strengthened.”

    That sense of welcoming and community is strong in MXMM right now, perhaps more so than in any other music festival in the Southwest. With the right people and the right attitude, even the most casual interest in local music might lead Tucsonans to stumble upon the perfect spring break experience.

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