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 day two.
Tuesday began at Cheer Up Charlies, watching a host of acts on indoor and outdoor stages, as part of Stereogum Range Life 2019.
Highlights included Washington D.C Post Punk band Priests and singer/songwriter Bedouine.
I’d planned to take in an evening of music at the Central Presbyterian Church, watching NPR’s Tiny Desk Family Hour showcase, nipping into The Main beforehand, to shoot a handful of songs from Japanese noisemakers Otoboke Beaver.
The queue for the NPR event stretched around the block, so I wasn’t sure I was going to get in. It was a big draw, as it featured 10 acts, all unannounced, with a high potential for a decent night, as the online concerts have featured some great acts over the years.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment, as you could see the majority of singers that played numerous times in Austin during SX. Bigger names like Wyclef Jean and headliner Leikieli47 were more of a draw, but still had showcases on offer later in the week.
Watching the acts in a relaxed stripped down setting was entertaining, and it was an easy night to cover, But I still felt NPR could have pulled one or two surprises out of the bag, making it a more memorable night.
There was still time for me to view another couple of sets, as I was out before midnight, but I’ve come to the conclusion in recent years, that you don’t have to stay out till two am to get your money’s worth, and my downtown hotel, five minutes from the venue, was just too enticing, to hang around any longer!
John Paul White