SXSW 2013 - Saturday - Austin, Texas
South By South West is an industry-based music conference/festival located in Austin, Texas. An average of 2000 bands play over a period of five days so it's a great opportunity to watch the latest "up and coming" acts from around the world alongside more established bands playing slightly more intimate venues than they are used to.
My previous Saturday afternoons at SXSX have been lazy affairs, content to hang around the Convention Centre sorting out my pictures and possibly catching one live set before the evening's festivities began. This year I decided to make just a little bit more of an effort so found myself waiting in line for the Brooklyn Vegan party around midday.
I watched a few bands on the venue's two stages but I can't say I really took their sets in, preferring just to grab a drink and a seat.
I had originally planned to stay for a bit longer but had noticed on my way to the venue that Danish electro pop princess Fallulah was playing just across the road in an outside venue. I had already viewed three sets from the singer at SX and I didn't think she'd top the previous evening's show. One part of me was saying "Stay and discover new music" but the other screamed "BUT YOU LOVE HER NEW ALBUM!' Needless to say, the shouty voice won me over and I showed up just before the set began, enabling me to take in a few faves from Escapism one last time in the Austin sun.
My next stop was a trip to the bar Peckerheads, arriving just in time to watch the end of Willy Moon's frantic retro soul set. I skipped the next band (some country act) but returned front of stage to see what UK sisters The Staves were up to. I'd heard a couple of tracks on BBC6 Music but I'd never seen them live. Their soothing folkie sounds were pretty relaxing for a Saturday afternoon and I ended up obtaining their album when I arrived home. I did take a few pictures of the girls but sadly the memory card containing them has been misplaced while unpacking, so I've none to hand right now!
My main reason for the heading to the venue was to view my second set of the week from Paloma Faith. I'd witnessed a stripped down performance from the singer in a church on Wednesday evening but this was to be a noisier affair, with Paloma delivering tracks from her second album Fall To Grace to a very appreciative audience, even though she had to work a tiny bit to get them to shut up during a jaw-dropping 'Just Be'. It felt a bit of a privilege to be front row for such a tiny gig as Paloma's next UK jaunt sees her performing in arenas.
For the last three years I've ended my week at SX covering Perez Hilton's "One Night In Austin" event and this year I returned to Austin Music Hall to view several of Perez's new band crushes, including UK girls Stooshe's first US show, the lovely Lissie and my second set of the day from Paloma Faith. The show is always for charity and this year Perez managed to donate $53,000 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.
I ended up not shooting some of the performers as we only got two songs anyway, preferring to cover just the acts I needed and watching the bands out front the rest of the time. Fall Out Boy were headlining the evening and I would have liked the opportunity to shoot them but things were running a little bit late and I had a prior engagement!
I had checked out of my hotel earlier that morning but they were holding on to my case as I'd booked a cab to the airport from their premises as I had an early flight, so had to make sure I was there on time. It was a little bit disappointing missing my final band of SXSW 2013 but I'd viewed my fair share of acts over the week and done a heap of socialising, making it another excellent year, so I'll be back again (hopefully) in 2014!