SXSW 2019 - Monday - Austin, Texas
South By Southwest is an industry-focused music conference/festival located in Austin, Texas. More than 2000 acts play over a period of six 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. Our man Lorne Thomson spent the week there dashing from venue to venue to snap as much of the action as possible. Here's his account (and gallery) of the first day's action.
Monday's extravaganza began with a trip to the Convention Center, to take in a talk from Gwyneth Paltrow.
This was my 14th time at the Festival. Over the last few years I've spent my afternoons at Hotel Vegas, sampling their Strange Brew event, as there's usually someone that impresses, with this year's standouts UK band Squid, with their shouty post-punk gems going down a treat!
The evening started with one of my favourite acts of the week, The Brummies, from Birmingham, Alabama, performing at Lustre Pearl.
I was really just heading to see them as an early evening time killer, as there wasn't much on, so was pleasantly surprised, to find out the trio included John Davidson and Jacob Bryant, whom I'd caught at an earlier SX, as John and Jacob.
On first impression, the band seemed heavily influenced by The Beatles, with stand out tracks including 'What Do You Think', 'Haunted' and 'Drive Away', with the recorded version featuring Kacey Musgraves. It was a great set, and I've listened to album Eternal Reach numerous times since returning from Austin.
The remainder of my evening was spent predominantly at Augustine, taking in showcases from Australian songstress Angie McMahon, and the always interesting Amanda Palmer.
It was my first introduction to Angie, and I was really impressed, and can't have been the only one feeling that way, as the singer won the 2019 Grulke Prize, for 'Developing Non-US Act' later in the week. I'd hoped to see her again at SX, but our paths never crossed.
I've caught Amanda Palmer live on several occasions in the last few years, so always look forward to seeing what she's got up her sleeve.
The singer has just released an album entitled There Will Be No Intermission. It's a bit of a downbeat proposition, so not that suitable for a general. more curious audience. With that in mind, the singer peppered her set with older material, including a fantastic 'The Killing Type', though she spent a large chunk of her showcase chatting to the audience, which was just as entertaining as the songs on display.
I was contemplating staying at the venue to take in Zola Jesus from my front row spot, but having spent three hours standing in the one place I decided to give it a miss, heading to Palm Door on Sixth, for my final showcase of the night, from Irish singer Soak.
I'd really warmed to her recent single 'Knock Me Off My Feet', with its introduction reminiscent of 80s The Cure, so was happy to hear it early in the set, especially as I couldn't stay for the whole thing, as I was way too tired, calling it a night and heading back to my hotel.