SXSW 2014 - Saturday - Austin, Texas
South By South West is an industry-based music conference/festival located in Austin, Texas. An average of 2500 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 final day of 2014's SXSW started with a lunchtime set from London yobs Fat White Family at the Brooklyn Vegan party. This was my first encounter with the six piece and I came away impressed, especially due to their frontman Lias Saoudi, whose menacing and skulking presence reminded me of John Lydon, Nick Cave and Mark E Smith.
Fat White Family
A second show from Dum Dum Girls was my next port of call. I didn't really have plans for the rest of my afternoon and was going to stay around to watch the band that followed the DDG's until I caught a Tweet from Scotland's Nina Nesbitt.
Nina had decided to play a short unplugged acoustic set outside the British Music Embassy just off 6th Street, giving her a chance to meet her US "Nesbians". I decided to head along and was slightly surprised to see the amount of young fans that turned up, many bearing gifts. Nina made sure they all got much craved autographs and pictures and performed a few tracks from her debut album Peroxide to her followers and the numerous people who had crowded round to see what the fuss was about.
Dum Dum Girls
For the last few years I've spent the whole of my Saturday evening at Perez Hilton's "One Night In Austin" party. It's usually a decent bill so you don't have to spend the night running around from venue to venue. As I'd been pretty lazy the last couple of days I decided to mix it up this SX, venue hopping right to the end!
There were still showcases I wanted to attend at Austin Music Hall, so showed up late afternoon, just in time to see performances from LA's Kesington Kross and Liz.
My main reason for popping along to Perez's this year was to take in a set from the phenomenal Lindsey Stirling. The 'YouTube Sensation' mixes violin with dance beats. It's an exciting combination musically but Lindsey's performance elevates it to the next level as she moves like a sprite around the stage, never stopping for a moment throughout her set, making it an exhilarating experience to view.
I hung around after the violinist's onstage stint for my second Blondie gig of the week and my third encounter with Debbie, with their set sending the Music Hall crowd wild, especially 'Call Me' and 'Heart Of Glass'.
I left Perez's bash to visit Hype Hotel for the first time this year in its new surroundings to view a double bill featuring Gary Numan and "BBC Sound Of 2014" nominee - Chloe Howl. I'd taken in a scintillating show from Mr Numan a couple of days earlier but hadn't seen Chloe yet as she'd had to cancel a few shows due to visa issues with her band. Gary didn't disappoint second time around and Chloe was on great form, with 'No Strings' and 'Rumour' set standouts.
My final 2014 SXSW showcase came from Fun guitarist Jack Antonoff's new side band Bleachers. It was a great show, with last song of the night 'I Wanna Get Better' a perfect way to end my SX, as it's a fantastic track and very catchy single.