Man oh man, I am loving SXSW 2015! My feet are killing me and my memory is foggy, but I’ll do my best to relay the glories of my Thursday in Austin.
The rain held off for another day, but the morning heat was a bit much to deal with. After a breakfast of fruit and bagels at the Planet Quebec Mixer, I found myself standing in the sun, dripping with sweat, waiting for James Bay to take the stage. Thankfully, by the time he got there, I had squeezed my way into the shade of the speakers so I could fully enjoy his set. I keep seeming to miss James but his song “Move Together” is in regular rotation in my head radio. I was thrilled when he played it. Thrilled! If the audience at The Spotify House is any indication, this guy is going places.
Most of the afternoon, Amanda and I spent running from set to set sampling as many bands as we could. We danced with Misterwives and Whiskey Shivers, ate McDonald’s French Fries with Yukon Blonde, and chilled with The Ballroom Thieves and some Boston-ites at the Berklee Music Party. Today also had some slower grooves. Paper Aeroplanes at The British Embassy sounded like a breath of fresh air after walking down the noise of 6th street. I also really enjoyed Thrice frontman, Dustin Kensrue showing his softer side with just his voice and acoustic guitar.
At some point, we found our way into the convention center meandering around the Gear Expo and Flatstock, an exposition of poster art design. The later was like an art museum. It was fascinating to see the different styles and techniques. We also had run-ins with a couple bands we saw and enjoyed yesterday, Buffalo Sunn and Mallory Knox.
The evening began with the Nylon Party at The W Hotel where we were entertained both by the bell-bottomed rocking Zella Day and a photo booth where people could pose with pink Nylon guitars. Then it was on to dinner and dancing. Dinner provided by the King’s Hawaiian food truck at Rachael Ray’s Feedback Party (desert courtesy of Jeni’s ice cream) and dancing with Rubblebucket at the IFC Fairgrounds and Jared & The Mill at The Feedback Party. The highlight for me was Jared & The Mill’s harmonious “Breathe Me In”.
We capped off the night with a one two punch from Frank Turner and Butch Walker. After seeing the pair at The Hotel Cafe a couple months ago, having them play back to back seems the most obvious thing in the world. Frank incited the room at The Red 7 Patio, playing hit after hit, joking about his struggles to keep the drinking to a minimum, and swapping shirts with a fan onstage. Butch took it down a notch next door at Red 7, singing songs off his new album, Afraid of Ghosts, and telling tales of his SXSW experiences. The man knows how to hold an audience. The cries for an encore did not move the venue to adjust their schedule, but on the bright side, it meant home and in bed just that much sooner.
We had one on the street random run-in with Taylor Hanson and thus ended Thursday SXSW 2015.
If you’re in Austin, here are a few acts we recommend for tomorrow (Friday 3/20):
1:55 – Walking on Cars at BD Riley’s (Great Irish Breakfast)
2:30 – Charlotte OC at Palm Door Indoors (UMG Experience)
3:15 – Clockwise at Brush Square Park
4:30 – Young Rising Sons at Palm Door (UMG Experience)
6-9pm – Dotan, The Mowglis, and Charles Hamilton at Republic SX Compound
8:45 – Laura Marling, Foreign Fields, Leon Bridges, James Bay, and Jack Garratt at St. David’s Church (go for the whole night and stay out of the rain!)