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So it is Day Five, or rather isn’t really but we need a bit of pretend good in these dark days.

I decide to completely break the rules in these unprecedented times and make a point of going to see only bands that I seen before or know very well for as many as I can in one day. See goes.

Day Five Friday

The Wood Burning Savages

Saw this bunch of old school punk pop rockers from Derry at last years’ The Great Escape. Worth hearing.


Tim Burgess

The first of several solo performances by folk well known for their roles in famous bands, here is Tim Burgess, former lead of The Charlatans, mellowing into middle age.


Spooky Mansions

Last time I saw this spiky pop LA quartet they were playing…….in our living room. Great bunch of folk.


Aiming For Enrique

From Oslo, the sound these two can create live is outstanding, witnessing them as I did at last year’s SXSW. Don’t let the Eye of The Tiger like first few seconds put you off. This is amazing relentless rhythmic bliss.


Surfer Bood

Ah, Surfer Blood. Back in the day, probably around the time this song came out, ten years ago, a bunch of us saw Surfer Blood play live at the Daytrotter studios in Austin. Just the band, the Daytrotter sound engineer and the head guy who ran the website, and us. We saw a bunch of great folk in that very intimate studio over the years including Gary Louris and Mark Olsen (The Jayhawks) and even Daniel Johnson. Surfer Blood were one of the best.

Quiet Slang

Remember I said Beach Slang were my current favourite band, well the band is the personal project of James Alex. He also plays as Quiet Slang where he does dreamy acoustic versions of his wild loud thrashing songs, all the better to hear his lovely lyrics. For those who are following my rambling notes, this is the Quiet Slang version of the Beach Sang I previously posted on Day One.


The Wants

If you know Brooklyn band Bodega, or even better, if you have seen them live, you will know all about the manic guitarist Madison Velding-VanDam who might just be the most exciting guitarist to see live at this moment in time. Also having a great name and also previously in Bodega is Heather Elle, the bassist here. This group will grow on you.


Stella Sommer

Stella Sommer is the singer, songwriter and only constant member of her project Die Heiterkeit, the Berlin art rock troupe. Not sure therefor why she is also performing at the is fantasy SXSW solo. But pleased she is. This is her material sung in English.


Josiah Johnson

Former main person in The Head and The Heart, he is now out on his own and….. “Like many before him in need of recovery and self-love, he has learned to cope with ghoulish feelings of self-doubt and he does so with new collaborative tools and creative blueprints in tow, buoyed by a single idea: no matter what happens, the world will still turn and you’re still here.” Hope so!!!!



Mental pub rockfish country act from Minneapolis. A band to see live!!


Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper

Ok, are you sitting down, This year sees the release of the Mojo Nixon 10 CD Box Set including the megahits (listed here in chronological order): I Saw Jesus At McDonalds, Burn Down The Malls, Elvis Is Everywhere, Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child, Don Henley Must Die, Tie My Pecker To My Leg, You Can't Kill Me and Drunk-Divorced Floozie (The Ballad Of Diana Spencer).

Mojo Nixon is an American musician, known for playing psychobilly music. He is stark raving mad.


With that I resort to my normal SXSW behaviour - exploring bands that I have never seen nor even heard of.By my reckoning it would only be about 9pm on the Friday night so I would be able to squeeze in at least six more acts.


Back to the wannabe competition. This crowd - Coldplay. I quite like the blatant mimicry.



Check out the photo of this guy: https://schedule.sxsw.com/2020/artists/2019507

And as his blurb says. Bedroom pop from hell. Fair play to him.



OK, the music media have gone thesauruses crazy on this woman. Variously described as otherworldly, warped”, “billowing, crystalline” (Gorilla vs. Bear), creating a sound that “revels in small electro-pop ecstasies that burrow inward” and comparing her to "a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy.” Pleasant despite the hype.


The Cuckoos

Contrary to the previous act this is straight up rock music. And the only act I would see if the event took place that actually came from Austin.


Kurt Hugo Schneider and Laura Somogyi

This LA band are specially chosen for three of my friends Neil B, Richard C and Simon C. Guys here is a bit of harp for you……


The Muckers

What better way to end day five in the early hours of Saturday morning with a high energy rock and roll set from The Muckers, another band fro Brooklyn?


So the penultimate day over, a stellar day on this not really SXSW 2020. Another 17 acts…….One day to go.

And here it is:

Day Six Saturday

William Doyle

So we start the final day with a great act. Yet another from small town England, this one, Chandler’s Ford. William used to be known as East India Youth, now going under his own name. Famous friends too. This is with Brian Eno……quite a special one this.



Some early afternoon Americana would have gone down well about now. This Philadelphia five piece also got the overblown Pitchfork search to say something deep in a review - "The humanity on their album is so pure that it’s virtually superhuman”.



Maybe the best bio introduction this SXSW was for this London crowd: "A band you can get behind, they’re honest and down to earth, and while the world grows increasingly hostile it’s reassuring to know that there’s a group of people out there who get it, address it and want to change it. They’ve found the sweet spot between sincerity and humor, without taking themselves seriously they garner a lot of respect. Meatraffle have a self awareness, they know what it is to live in a changing, unequal society. But they know how to counteract it too, by calling it out. Their lack of pretense is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant, money-obsessed world, and they shout about worker’s rights, sexism, capitalism and the shoddy state of politics in a way which truly captivates and engages their audience.” Brilliant sounds too.



Another great Canadian band, a new Metric.


Samba DeLa Muerte

France like Germany and Little towns in England dominate the acts that most impressed me at this year’s non existent SXSW. This band make sure their music revolves around Drums, Bass and Wurlitzer. Got to love that..


Hotel Lux

Time for a most English sound from a most English band from Portsmouth. Complete with Blackadder bowl haircuts.


Anna Altmann

Lovely guitar sound from another Brooklyn act.


You Said Strange

More folk with famous friends. This band, also from France, flew to Portland to record their first album in the Dandy Warhols studio produced by the DW guitarist. They have that Cocteau Twins wall of sound going on here.



Ok you all had to wait till the afternoon of the last day to get some real industrial music, from this Boston group. Enjoy.



Blackpool Rock!! Some of you will get that… A great rock sound from four youngsters from Blackpool. They would be a band I would try to get to do a living room show. I still might.



A dream pop duet rom Tel Aviv, they would have kicked off the evening run to close my SXSW.


TC Superstar

Then a bit more dance pop stuff, with a message..A light dance groove which could have been early eighties, of course. And another local act squeezing in from Austin.



This guy used to work in Neil Finn’s studio in NZ and learned how musical craft there. Now breaking out into the world with this slow building lush sound.



They say this began as a small bedroom project, but are not clear if they meant a small project which started in a bedroom or a project for small bedrooms. Confusing message from not Brooklyn this time but Albany, NY.


Ward Hayden and the Outliers

Smartly changed their name from Girls Guns and Glory, one of the better Americana acts to not turn up in Austin for SXSW this year. They would not have travelled from their home town, Boston, to get there.


Laundry Day

Time for a midnight show from basically a New York boy band who also play their own instruments. All still teenagers. Very inventive stuff and a god way to head to the last show of the week.


Nordista Freeze

And so we come to the 1am SXSW show on the last day and what better way to end than with this guy who NPR described as "the most beautiful and perfect example of the Nashville music scene". While Nashville Scene declared him "the cosmic Tom Petty” . I hear the Beach Boys….


And there you have it, another seventeen shows. And SXSW is over, before it even started, quite literally and all that.

Stay Tuned for a bonus FIFTH note where I pick the top ten shows that never actually happened and also a spotify playlist of all the songs from these reviews….