SXSW 2018 - Thursday - 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.
Austin Convention Center was my first port of call for Thursday’s SX adventures, viewing an interview with songwriter Linda Perry, with the UK’s Lion her warm up act.
It’s always best when attending SX to have a plan of action for the day, but mine was thrown to the wind, afternoon and evening, for various reasons.
I had originally contemplated viewing some of the acts I’d discovered in my first few days of band watching, as I knew I’d have a great time, and get a few decent pictures to boot. That being said, I was also shooting the event for an agency, so it would be more useful, in the long run, to photograph someone I hadn’t shot already, hopefully also being entertained whilst doing so!
I decided to spend the whole afternoon at the Music For Listeners party, at the Lazarus Brewing Co, and it was well worth it, as I encountered some decent acts, including The Wedding Present and Annie Hart.
Annie is one-third of US synth sensations Au Revoir Simone, and recently released her solo album Impossible Accomplice. Not content with standing on stage, she took to the fairly sparse crowd to serenade us for a song, delivering a verse to a dog along the way, ending the track standing on a table.
My night time exploits also didn't go to plan, swerving my first intended showcase, so I could have a decent spot for Stella Donnelly's set, finding the venue empty on arrival.
I was surprised, as there was already a buzz around the Aussie singer-songwriter, and she'd certainly been my highlight of the week. In the end, a large crowd amassed for her performance treated to an exquisite set, including 'Mechanical Bull' and her amusing song about her boss - 'You Owe Me'.
I had originally planned to spend the remainder of my evening viewing four showcases at the Palm Door On 6th, grabbing a front row position, but hadn't realised I had already photographed the first performer the day before. I wasn't fussed to shoot them again, and I really couldn't be arsed standing in the one spot for the next four hours, so decided to give it a miss, finding something to view on the hoof.
My first port of call was a washout, as things were running late at Cheer Up Charlie's, so I made my way to The Mohawk to obtain a decent location to shoot a showcase from Scotland's Nina Nesbitt at their indoor venue.
Sadly I had forgotten how grim the venue's lights were, so it wasn't great for photography, however Nina shone, with a set focusing on new material, including single 'Somebody Special'. The singer won over plenty new fans, especially a group of girls waiting for the next performer, who really embraced Nina's music and the sentiment of her songs, dancing throughout her set, taking to the stage to dance to her last song, on Nina's invitation.
My final set of the day came from a midnight showcase from US country songstress Courtney Marie Andrews. I'd been a fan of her album Honest Life since it's release last year, but hadn't caught her live yet, so was extremely impressed by her set pulled from forthcoming collection May Your Kindness Remain at The Barracuda. The album has been released since SX, and it's a great listen, so I'll hopefully catch her again in the UK soon.
The Wedding Present
Courtney Marie Andrews