← back to Blog Archive

Day Three Thursday

Suitable reinforced with the only real meal I normally have at SXSW, A Big Breakfast, off we go. Start with an Italian Prog rock outfit called Moustache Prawn, already giving themselves a head start in the competition for the worst name this year easily rising above a band called just Prawn who will need to try harder. Pleasantish for a midday show. Then into the Swan Dive to catch one of my must sees. Run River North are a bunch of third generation Koreans who live in LA. Great live show. Here is their new single as the DJs used to say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxDn9z9yEkQ

On to the Empire Control room to see the bar room boogie madness of Lo Cut Connie. Treat yourselves - go see them sometime soon. This whole clip is worth viewing but make sure you se from 4.45 in!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4PTFtRjyPk

Ok its only 1.30 in the afternoon and the place is jumping. Walking along the street we hear a great sound, jump into a tent in a car park and there are the UK outfit Haelos again!! Pure pop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXTFP4wcjdA

Over the next hour or so we see Judy Moon, Liz Anne, Hunter Sharpe and The Away Days in various places, all fairly good.

Heading in to the Conference Centre, as for those who do not know, there is an official SXSW Music Conference with guest speakers and workshops all week long. Made sure to attend none of that. But in the conference centre there are numerous stages where bands play and it is far from the madding crowd so I get some old guy comfort watching some of the acts. First one of the week was The Wild Feathers.

Spectacular Americana in the mould of The Jayhawks, Three dueling lead singers too. Here is their acoustic version of their big song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofsz0iGgHmk

Then as we leave that stage we get a message to get to a room around the corner quick as there is a wild party going on. We went. There was. I give you from Sarajevo, Bosnia, Dubioza Kolectiv. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a5BJxrarL0

After watching one of Australia’s much touted acts The DMAs who looked phazed a bit to be playing at four in the afternoon, we then head to the biggest venue traditionally at SXSW, the Converse Fader Fort. The big names play here and we watched Neon Indian up close and personal.

Then a strange thing happened, I needed to have a break from music, needed a rest, wanted a change of clothes, some food. I realized that I had Crossed the Rubicon at that moment and I was now officially an old git. I left Elliot at Fader Fort where he watched the latest hiphop sensation Rae Sremmurd and loved him.

Suitably refreshed we headed to a downtown hotel where The Giving Tree Band were playing in the restaurant. Great band, crap venue. So on to Tellers to see Italian rock phenomenon Laura Carbonne. Sort of Pat Benatar meets The Cure sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8fk2OJjafk

Then Elliot and I’s top joint pick of a must -see- but -previously -never- heard- of- them- band - Sleepers Reign from Belgium. Just listen to this - stunning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eusalT8king

We liked them a lot.

A bit of latin rock from Jambina in Flamingo Cantina is followed by a great one man geetar one woman drummer thing from Iceland called Ceasetone at Esther’s Follies. The great stuff just keeps coming now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLIHELumN0c

Then we head off to see a few of Elliot’s picks. First up a solo singer called Dolce from Holland. Easily one of the worst acts I have ever seen at SXSW. This was followed by a trip to a world hip hop showcase to see Adil Omar and Tabil Queron at Sledgehammer. Elliot told me they were Pakistan’s top Hip hip duo. I survived that for 15 mins then normal service was resumed.

Next my turn to experiment. To Sidewinder to see Sevdazla. Apologies here as there was a run of even blurrier than normal images captured. I blame the phone. An Iranian now living in Amsterdam, this might be one of the world’s next big pop sensations, or you will never hear her again. I think maybe the former. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpDQeVKEq_Y

It is only ten o’clock in the evening. Next up to the 18th Floor of the Hilton hotel to the bar which always has decent acts and is always empty - not very rock n roll to be in Austin for SXSW and sit in comfy lounge chairs to watch live music. But I like doing it a few times every year. One of the hottest areas represented by acts this year was Nashville who have a great and growing new music scene. So we see The Early Reset. They were special. The crowd were dismal. I counted about twenty folk there. Six were the next band waiting to play. Another dozen looked like they were staying in the hotel and were unaware that a music festival was taking place. And the two of us. After watching their great performance we spoke to the band. Turns out they had driven the previous day, fourteen hours from Nashville to play this one show and straight after were driving fourteen hours back. It was their only show of the week and their first got outside Nashville. They need an agent, a manager - I was tempted!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=616KgP4mtDY

Next to an equally empty Parish to see Cullen Omori, former lead singer of The Smith Westerns. Stunning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G49RzfQanFk

Then off to see a band described as the new Yes, the new Genesis. They were The Contortionist. I never knew that Yes and Genesis were death metal thrash rockers and The Contortionist will not be seeing my custom anytime soon.

To wrap up we head back to the Palm Door to watch Kind a snazzy little electronic band from -yes - Nashville. https://soundcloud.com/kind-nashville/gloss

It is 2am. Thursday is over. Friday is starting. We are sort of halfway through the week.