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Among those helping take it up a notch are English band Keane. Late Thursday afternoon, the band took the stage at the Cedar Street Courtyard. "We lost our South By Southwest virginity effectively today," singer Tom Chaplin told the packed standing crowd at the open-air venue that holds a thousand or so.

Over about 40 minutes the band played older hits such as Everybody's Changing and Somewhere Only We Know from its stable of keyboard-driven melodic offerings with new ones such as Silenced by the Night and The Starting Line from the forthcoming album, Strangeland, out May 8. (On Youtube, you can see the band as it performed Silenced on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this week.

The crowd was "great," Chaplin said afterwards. "I think Keane fans, by their very nature, are very passionate. It has something to do with the emotional quality of the songs. I think they respond to it in a very potent way."

Chaplin says the band hopes to expand its U.S. audience with the new album. "It's a dream."

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