There’s no rest for the wicked at SXSW.
This is feels.
Somewhat ironically I’ve been attending panel discussions in the afternoon on how to get paid to write about music and whether music journalists even matter anymore, all the while simultaneously writing these reviews, and in lieu of seeing music performances. Thus is the nature of SXSW.
The big drawcard for the night, and arguably for the week, is Solange’s appearance at the YouTube showcase tonight. But with the venue sure to be at capacity hours beforehand, it seems wise to avoid it and actually get to see some music rather than the backs of lines.
Tkay Maidza – Secret Sounds Showcase at The Sidewinder
Too much of a fan to miss out on Tkay Maidza taking to the world stage at SXSW.
Jain – Pandora House at The Gatsby
Eager to see her since first discovering her on the SXSW playlist during my research days, I’m pleased by how great Jain actually is. Listening to nearly 1,500 showcasing artists is no mean feat, and the artists that made my short-list stood out somehow against the rest. In her very Madeline outfit, Jain has one of the best stage presences I’ve seen this week. Her crowd interaction game, including recording and looping individuals in the audience singing, is super strong. Meanwhile, I see a Tweet that pizza is being delivered to the line for the Solange show. Jain asks the audience, “Do you still wanna dance?” and someone in the crowd eagerly answers, “Oui!” I’m happy with my choice here.
Kasey Chambers – Americana Music Association Showcase at Cooper’s BBQ
I dance out to Flume‘s ‘Never Be Like You’ being played by the intermission DJ before running to the other side of downtown because Kasey Chambers is playing at a Texan barbecue restaurant that’s funnily enough being presented by the Americana Music Association. I just have to see this. And I can now die happy having watched ‘Not Pretty Enough’ being performed while people enjoy smoked meats at restaurant tables.
Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – Pandora House at The Gatsby
As all great rappers do, Artist J. Dubose rolls with a big crew. The back of the stage is lined with people, including a character with a singlet printed “Gym Gang” consistently squeezing a hand grip the entire set. It’s a pure fun set though and Dubose stands out from his broody crew with his nerdy dance moves and a big grin stuck on his face.
Lewis Del Mar – Pandora House at The Gatsby
We hear about bass face, but what about Danny Miller’s orgasm face while strumming a guitar?
The Chainsmokers – Apple House
What the hell are The Chainsmokers doing at SXSW? I don’t think anyone has the answer to this question. As the pinnacle of pop music over the past 12 months, I feel the need to see them perform at least once. The Apple House, in its very Apple way, has flown under the radar and drips with exclusivity, but it has not stopped people from lining up for hours. I get passively aggressively abused in the primary entry line by secondary entry line members. Funnily enough, there don’t seem to be any real Chainsmokers fans here but a lot of tall, white men giddy with excitement. Maybe that’s their fanbase after all. Apart from the strange additions of Franz Ferdinand, Panic! At the Disco (this blows my inner 15-year old’s mind) and Coldplay, it’s a pretty to-be-expected set with a lot of commercial bass drops and smoke machines blowing up. However, I know I won’t be seeing this much ego and many more commercial smoke machines at most showcases here.
It’s spouted time and time again, but you just never know who you’re going to meet at a conference this big. With musicians intermingling with corporates and people from all over the world doing all sorts of amazing things in their fields, a genuinely exciting atmosphere is created. I’m starting to see the extraordinariness of SXSW.