SXSW 2018 - Friday - Austin, Texas
South By Southwest
is an industry-focused music conference/festival located in Austin, Texas. An average of 2,200 acts play over a period of five days so it's a great opportunity to watch the latest up and coming music performers from around the world alongside more established bands playing slightly more intimate venues than they are used to.
An afternoon in the sun was the plan for my fifth day in Austin, with a quick visit beforehand to the Convention Center, to photograph an interview with Keith Urban, with the added bonus of taking in a couple of songs from Sunflower Bean, performing in a room around the corner from the Country star.
It was real scorcher in Austin, so an outdoor venue may not have been the best choice, even covered in factor 50, but I managed to survive a blistering afternoon of music at Hotel San Jose, with two real standouts - Caroline Rose and Natalie Prass.
Caroline had been on my list of "must sees" for the week, after discovering her track 'Money' via Spotify, and I was treated to an amusing and exhilarating electro pop filled set, focusing on current album Loner, a collection I've listened to on numerous occasions since returning home.
I'm a big fan of Natalie Prass's self-titled debut, catching her live on a few occasions, so was really looking forward to experiencing her slightly new funkier direction, as showcased on current track 'Short Court Style'. There was certainly more of a groove to Natalie's performance, with even the odd synchronised move thrown in from the singer and her band, but I was surprised how much they rocked out at times too, producing some fantastic moments.
I had decided on a fairly leisurely evening, just visiting a couple of venues, with Coopers BBQ my first port of call, taking in a showcase from living legend Rita Coolidge, bookended by sets from Chelsea Williams and Janiva Magness.
It was a real privilege to view Rita in such an intimate venue, pretty much the back of a bar, with only a small step up stage. It was certainly a highlight of my week, previewing tracks from forthcoming album Safe In The Arms Of Time, and a couple of old songs to boot.
I ended my evening at Trinity Warehouse taking in a Sony event, where I had to suffer an uninspiring surround sound demonstration before being allowed to enter the venue properly!
I was there to view my third and final set of the week from Noah Cyrus, with Caitlyn Smith and Cam also adding to the fun.
Noah's Sony set was the best of the three I'd caught that week, possibly due to recognising the songs that I didn't know before SX more, but she's certainly a great pop act, with album NC-17 one to look out for, when it sees the light of day.