By Geoffrey Himes
Ballroom D, on the fourth floor of the Austin Convention Center, is a cavernous, charmless room, colored in corporate grays and tans. But on March 14, when the room was transformed into the “Radio Day Stage” for the South by Southwest Music Conference, the smell of sterility was overwhelmed by a whiff of skepticism. Much of what’s left of the music industry had crowded into the SRO room to hear the Alabama Shakes, to see if the buzz band of the moment could possibly live up to its hype. After all, this group of four twentysomethings from small-town Alabama was appearing on magazine covers and being touted by...