Think about how the annual SxSF (South by Santa Fe) Transit Music Festival is ingenious: Bands are on their way to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, passing through Santa Fe anyway, so why not snag some for shows here?

That’s exactly what musician Mikey Baker and promoter Tim Franke have been doing for the past three years, and the 2012 installment—now located at Sol Santa Fe Stage & Grill—is already underway. Not that y’all should (or do) need ’em, but I’ve put together a brief list of reasons to go.

Better bands? You bet
We’re talking acts like Crystal Antlers, Gardens & Villa, La Sera and plenty more. OK, maybe you don’t know who these bands are right this second, but you will and soon.
“We’ve got more bands and more dates than ever before, and I’m so confident that this will be the best SxSF yet,” Franke says. 

It’s progressive!
No disrespect to excellent events like Thirsty Ear and the Santa Fe Bandstand, but I’m not middle-aged, and I’m more than a little tired of blues wanking, grasses both blue and nü, and nonthreatening rock music that seems tailor-made for my mother. Some of us want new music that we can’t necessarily hear or see live during the rest of the year, and that’s precisely what SxSF is all about.
“There are great fests in Santa Fe, but most are—and let’s face it—a little cow-pokey,” Baker says. “This is the first progressive-type festival I’ve seen as long as I’ve lived here.”

No headlining DJs…and that’s OK
Santa Fe has a ton of DJs whom I love both professionally and personally, but with respect, it is totally nice to see someone play an honest-to-goodness instrument. This doesn’t mean that DJs might not sneak their way into the proceedings, just that any dancing will probably be to the sounds of music that is actually being created live (no letters!).
“After a recent Moby Dick [Baker’s Led Zeppelin cover band] show, some guy told me how he missed listening to music with actual instruments and notes and chords,” Baker says.

Lots of local love
It’s even cooler than you might think. Baker has thrown together an entire day of heavy-ass music with metal bands like CassoVita and Obelisk; experimental, Sonic Youth-ish weirdness from Low on High; and the long-awaited (by me, anyway) return of the post-punk visionaries of Venus Bogardus. “It’s all about loud guitars,” Baker says. I like those.
D Numbers, We Drew Lightning, The Grannia Griffith Story and more round out the local action throughout the fest.
“One of the great things about [SxSF] is that, even though there’s a touring act focus, we’re counting the locals in as well,” Baker tells me.

Deerhoof and The Velvet Teen
Yes, both of these bands are playing.

It’s all-ages!
Yes, kids, you, too, can be a part of the entirety of SxSF for the first time ever! Just do us all a favor and don’t show up drunk and ruin it for everybody. And for those of you thinking it’s cool to buy underage kids drinks, it’s not. If everybody plays their cards right, this could be a glorious new era for Santa Fe.  

Follow SFR music news on Twitter: