SXSW - Day Four - A review in pictures - Austin Texas

South By South West is an industry based music conference / festival located in Austin Texas.
An average of 1,500 bands play over a period of four 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.
On waking I decided that my Saturday at SXSW 2008 was going to be a fairly lazy day.
I had planned on watching Lightspeed Champion playing an early morning set for Austin Radio but wasn't up on time.
I was unsure what afternoon shows I wanted to attend so went online, checking out the Austin TX Showlist.
The site is a real help during SXSW as it does it's best to list all the free shows in the area on a daily basis.
I noticed that She And Him were playing alongside Lightspeed Champion and Laura Marling so that was a show too good to miss.
It was taking place at Austin's French Legation Museum.I wasn't convinced that I had actually applied for a place on the events guest list but thought I could blag it anyway.
I got there fairly early so there was no one on the door which was a result!
UK act Noah And The Whale were just finishing up their set with Laura Marling helping on backing vocals.
A few minutes later Laura took to the stage to run through tracks from her "Alas I cannot swim" album.
I like the collection and was wowed by renditions of "Night terror" and "Ghosts" but Laura must be one of the dullest and self concious performers ever to take to the stage making her set slightly akward viewing.

I had planned to see three previous Lightspeed Champion sets at SXSW, missing them all so I was happy to finally see Dev and his gang play.
The set took in tracks from debut album "Falling of the lavender bridge" alongside other songs including a Weezer cover.
There was a lot of banter between Dev and backing singer Emmy the Great, especially when things went a bit wrong soundwise, with everything grinding to a halt.
It was an entertaining set anyway with the ten minute "Midnight suprise" a glorious climax.

Glasgow four piece Sons And Daughters were next up, treating the audience to a selection from current album "This gift", with a handful of oldies thrown in.
I'm not a huge fan of the band and only stayed around for a couple of songs, heading off to take advantage of the beer for $1 offer!

I was waiting patiently for She And Him's set but I had to first sit through performances by ex Dinosaur Junior frontman J Mascis and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, neither of whom I had any interest in with my only comment being J looked ancient and Thurston looked young for his age!
By the time She And Him were due to perform the tent where bands played was chock a block with photographers and audience members sitting on the floor so I had to try and find a place to squat, luckily grabbing someones spot after Thurston's set.
As I mentioned in my Friday review She And Him are actress Zooey Deschanel and M Ward.Their album "She And Him - Volume One" is a gorgeous country tinged collection.It's reminiscent of The Carpenters and Linda Ronstadt but would also be revered by anyone who loved Jenny Lewis's "Rabbit Fur Coat".
The band played a lengthier set compared to their radio performance the previous day with Zooey taking a place behind the keyboards on several songs.
It was a stunning show with each track sounding as good as the recorded version.
The album is my favourite of the year so far and I imagine it will worm it's way into the hearts of several more people over the next few months.

After She And Him's set finished I sat around for a while sorting out pictures and enjoying the sun.
I eventually slowly made my way to the Convention Centre to watch my third Nicole Atkins SXSW show.
Nicole was being filmed for a website with the performance also shown throughout the convention centre with the results archived over at
Nicole's performance was as great as the previous two shows I witnessed but I strangely didn't manage to get any suitable photographs so there's none to view!
By this time I had had a brilliant SXSW,catching up with new bands I wanted to see, being introduced to great acts not on my radar and enjoying old favourites so I decided that I'd have an early night as there was no one else I was desperate to see.
The previous two years I had stayed in a hotel in downtown Austin, however I was late applying this year so ended up in a hotel about three miles out.
It was fine picking up a cab on the Wednesday and Thursday but it had been a nightmare the previous evening.
After leaving Nicole's set I arranged for a pick up not far from the Convention Centre.Unfortunatly I was still waiting an hour later.
I had called a couple of times during the hour checking on the status of my ride and was always promised a pick up soon but ended up hanging around for 90 minutes freezing as the weather had changed for the worse.
I needed warmth so decided to give up and watch another band, heading over to Bourbon Rocks to watch The Slits.
The Slits currently feature original members Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt in their rank alongside newer recruits.Their blend of Punk and Reggae was what I needed to warm me up, with songs like "Typical girls" and "Shoplifting" going down a treat.
Numerous friends of the band took to the stage to bump and grind with Ari throughout the night turning the set into a very amusing experience.

I ended up staying at Bourbon Rocks for my final band of SXSW.
San Francisco's Minipop had been recommended to me a couple of days earlier and I was glad of the tip as their shoegazing sounds, reminiscent of early Lush was a decent end to the event.

Austin during SXSW is an amazing place for a music fan to take a holiday.
It's not cheap with a "all in" trip from the UK including entrance and spending money costing between £1000 and £1500.
I'm sure you could do it a bit cheaper but it's worth it as you'll have a memorable experience.
2009's music event goes on sale in August.It's advisable to book early as you'll get the best and nearest hotels to the action.
You'll find more info over at the SXSW official site.

SXSW 2008 - Day One

SXSW 2008 - Day Two

SXSW 2008 - Day Three

Last updated: 19/04/2018 00:01:18

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