SXSW 2016 - Friday - Austin, Texas
South By South West
is an industry-based music conference/festival located in Austin, Texas. An average of 2,500 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.
I started SX Friday making the wrong call for the beginning of my escapades. I had contemplated checking out a couple of acts before American Idol's Haley Reinheart at a party, securing a spot down the front, but decided to view sets from Jack Garrett and Chvrches instead at Austin Convention Center.
Both acts were sounding great, but the Scottish trio were performing a stripped down set, sat at a table, so didn't offer much variety in the way of pictures. I left after only one song, making my way to Haley's venue straight after, realising it was way further out than I'd originally thought.
There was a large queue when I turned up so I didn't end up with a decent shooting spot for the Idol alumini. It was a bit frustrating as if I'd gone with my original plan I'd have had a front row position. I called it a day not long into her set, taking a long walk back to where the action was, eventually ending up at the Convention Center again, for my second Lucius show of the week.
The band's album Good Grief is one of the best to appear this year, so it was a privilege to take in the new tracks live again, alongside a couple of old favourites.
I had planned to watch a couple of showcases at outdoor venue Stubbs as part of my evening's entertainment, but the weather wasn't looking good, with warnings of thunder and lightning on the way.
My first two shows of the evening were meant to be indoors, but an Instagram post had me changing my plans at the very last minute, as I discovered Kansas City band Yes You Are were playing at the other side of town.
YYA are fronted by former Tilly And The Wall vocalist Kianna Alarid, a band I viewed countless times between 2006 and their final UK performance in 2008. I had been checking the SX updates in the run up to the event, to see if YYA had been added to the bill, but with no joy, so their appearance at an unofficial party at Shangri-La was a show I didn't want to miss.
By the time I set off for the venue the heavens had opened, and it was a bit hit and miss whether the band would actually play, as they'd originally been scheduled on an outdoor stage. Luckily the venue decided to have a couple of bands, including the Kansas combo, play indoors, with their equipment set up in a stageless corner of the room. It was certainly a cosy affair and a fun set to view.
The band have a great selection of energetic Electro Pop tracks under their belts, so their debut album's bound to be a cracker. They were on great form live too, with Kianna as captivating as always.
Yes You Are
I was a bit worried about getting to Stubbs in time for my next showcase, but Twitter informed me that things were running over an hour late due to the rain, which had luckily stopped. This meant I got there in time for Crystal Castles set, a band I hadn't originally planned to see.
The band have never been photographer friendly, and had banned shooters from the venue's photo pit. I could have crowd shot, but decide to wait in line to shoot Chari XCX's set, as I wasn't sure how many photographers would turn up, as it was first come, as far as the pit went.
It wasn't CC's night anyway, as the sound wasn't to their liking, so decided to leave the stage after three songs. It was a shame for the fans who had braved torrential rain to see them, but it did mean Charli would be onstage a bit quicker.
Charli XCX was performing with DJ Sophie again, delivering pretty much the same show as their Hype Hotel stint the night before, complete with "challenging" lights!
I came away with a few "keepers", hanging around for the rest of their Dance heavy set, popping back into the pit for three songs from Santigold, calling it a day straight after.