South By Southwest is an industry-based 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.
I had a rowdy beginning to my final day of 2018’s SXSW, with an in your face performance from LA Art Punks Sloppy Jane at Cheer Up Charlie’s, on their outside stage, starting proceedings with a fabulous bang, with a boisterous set from Andrew WK, and a groove filled gig from Natalie Prass also hitting the right notes.
I popped indoors for the second half of my afternoon at CUC’s, as I wanted to view my third and final set of the week from UK Singer-Songwriter Jade Bird, and second helpings from Country songstress Courtney Marie Andrews.
Jade had performed a considerable amount of shows over the week, but still retained her endearing upbeat onstage persona, smiling and laughing throughout her set, predominantly pulled from mini album Something American, with stand alone single ‘Lottery’ a set highlight.
Jade ended up winning the the SXSW 2018 Grulke Prize for Developing Non-US Act, so looks like I wasn’t the only one bowled over by her performances throughout the week.
I was in two minds what to do that evening. I had a handful of bands I could cover over a few venues, or take the lazy option and hang around The British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, viewing a few acts I hadn’t shot yet.
In the end laziness got the better of me, but I was happy enough socialising, and photographing a few showcases, including a captivating set from UK rapper Wretch 32 and a great discovery, in the shape of Suzi Wu.
Although in two minds about the majority of my evening, my 2018 SX experience was always going to culminate with a showcase from Swedish Pop band The Magnettes at the venue Friends.
I don’t think I’d visited the venue since about 2007, and quickly realised why, as their lighting was abysmal for photography, the worst I’d encountered all week, so wont be back for another few years, if ever!
That being said, the band delivered a fantastic performance, with a lot of it taken into the crowd, dancing with audience members, and just having fun. I’d been listening to their album Ugly Youth in the run up to SX, and it was great to hear the tracks live, especially anthem ‘Sad Girls Club’. It was certainly a phenomenal way to end my 13th year attending SXSW anyway.
Courtney Marie Andrews