FESTS // SXSW Tour & Photo Diary // Day 2

Day two of SXSW and my brain is already crashing.

Who knew attending party after party was going to be so much work.

SXSW art felicis

Brenmar and Tasha the Amazon – DOTS x VICE Play Beautifully at The Mohawk

SXSW tasha the amazon

A somewhat less Vice-esque crowd than what I’m used to seeing is swanning around the Mohawk. This is probably because of the ridiculous multitude of other shows happening at the moment. It kind of seems like everyone is standing around waiting for Ryan Hemsworth to jump on stage and just as I’m thinking this to myself, I spot the man himself at the bar and lock eyes for a bit too long. Out of embarrassment I wander down to the inside stage in time to see Tasha the Amazon finishing her set with her Broad City collaboration track.

Thee Oh Sees – Austin Bug Out at Scoot Inn

An absurdly long line to see the Thee Oh Sees is paid off. Rowdy crowds and beer flying everywhere, as well as an insane performance by John Dwyer make the hour-long wait worth it.

Refinery29 and Kesha discuss reclaiming the internet

SXSW kesha

The main takeaways from this: Kesha did the International Baccalaureate (anyone has does the IB is immediately fam) and has also just turned 30, “The day I turned 30, I was on safari and saw two lions having sex, and I was like, I think my 30s are going to be dope.”

Matzka – Taiwan Beats at Elysium

SXSW matzka

Matzka are like a Taiwanese Sticky Fingers, with a bit more of emphasis on the reggae. There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence. The lead singer has dreadlocks which is definitely not a sight that you see very often in Asia. And another sight you don’t see very often? Coming from Australia, it’s such a delightful novelty to not be in the minority and actually see so many Asian faces in a bandroom watching a gig. It’s these little things that have made me smile in the last two days.

Jade Eyes – Taiwan Beats at Elysium

SXSW jade eyes

SXSW jade eyes

My friend and I have a joke that all Chinese restaurant names are all created from a singular pool of certain words – think “dragon”, “yellow”, “imperial”, “palace” and so on. Put together two or three of these words in any order, and you no doubt have the name of a Chinese restaurant that exists somewhere in the world. Is Jade Eyes the Chinese restaurant version of bands? It actually literally translates to “Peacock Eyes”. The music is far from traditional though – downtempo electronic lounge tunes is Jade Eyes’ theme. Halfway through the set I realise I have had no idea whether they’ve been singing in Chinese or English. Thus is the beauty of the universal language that is music. Vom but truth.

Yael Meyer – IMI Chile Showcase at Friends Bar

SXSW yael meyer

Due to more scheduling changes, I miss Girlpool. However, it’s not like live music is hard to find at this time of night. Music venues are absolutely jammed into this city. Melbourne may be the live music capital of Australia, but I struggle to think of any area in Melbourne that has this many venues piled almost on top of each other. Wandering the streets, I happen across a showcase of Chilean artists and watch LA-based Yael Meyer. It’s easy to forget that the artists performing here are the cream of the crop of their respective countries, and the quality baseline is set high.

Even Voodoo Doughnut has showcases.

Little Simz – Musicalize at The Main II

SXSW little simz

SXSW little simz

When lining up to see Little Simz, I hear ‘Pony’ playing from inside and I immediately know that I have come home. The low-lit, smoke-filled stage hides Little Simz’ face, giving an air of mystique but her boundless energy has the crowd in her grips from the beginning.

Wu-Tang Clan – Austin City Limits live at the Moody Theatre

SXSW wu tang clan

I can’t tell you much about this set apart from how pretty the streets of Austin are in this area and how unfun lining up for a capacity gig is in the cold. Needless to say, I didn’t get in. So it’s hometime, and trying to squeeze in some form of sleep before yet another day tomorrow.

It’s easy to forget about the rest of the world when you’re stuck in a bubble of homegrown music.  Seeing all these international homegrown acts performing on a world stage for their fans is truly an eye opener.

Also Australians still manage to litter expensive cigarette packets on the other side of the world.


  1. Great photos and details, thanks for this. And you’re right, Austin is very unusual for having so many venues right next to each other, I think it makes for a special kind of dynamic. Alas I have never been to SXSW (and frankly, standing in line is indeed un-fun) but I still treasure the Rolling Stones t-shirt I found in the Travis River in 2008, and my guitar that I bought there in 2005, omfg that’s a long time ago. Austin is a cool place. I look forward to your next update.

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