Firstly, I simply MUST point out how amazing Monday was. To enter Austin at SXSW time is like entertaining a magical land full of surprises where people are happy (albeit tired), food is free, and music is around every corner. Also, SXSW Interactive knows what’s up! I played skee ball, rode a Ferris wheel, took a nap in a pod, collected several cell phone card holders (my #1 swag goal), and had not one but two excellent and very free meals. Frank’s hot dogs for the win!
The day ended at my favorite SXSW venue, The British Embassy. It was like coming home. I melted a bit listening to Ciaran Lavery and grooved with The Crookes before passing out happy with dreams of the coming week.
Today we eased into what is officially SXSW music week. Here are my 3 biggest take-aways
1 – It now seems acceptable to don sleep wear to perform onstage. Lukas Graham and Declan McKenna both rocked the white tees and comfy shorts while all girl rock band, Hinds looked ready for bed in over-size t-shirts and what I would term sleep shorts. Bonus points go to the young McKenna for also sporting mismatched socks AND shoes…
2 – Sweet potato tots are a thing and they are delicious
3 – Lukas Graham is in very strong contention for best band of SXSW 2016. I started off the day with Lukas Graham at The Spotify House and the Danes exceeded my already high expectations setting the bar very high for the week to come. Lukas’ vocal, endearing personality and surprising range of songs (think James Bay meets twenty one pilots w/ a dash of charming irreverence) all meld for a memorable performance that will be hard to beat.
Coming very close to the “Graham Bar” were The People The Poet who wowed with an acoustic set in the Convention Center and simply must be seen again in full band mode and Ben Hazlewood, a young and engaging pop artist from Australia.
I also quite enjoyed French rockers, Talisco, the aforementioned Declan McKenna (that “Brazil” song!), the always entertaining Soft White Sixties, and The McDonald’s Loft who scored a big win with their sundae bar and primo entertainment (I was able to catch Jared & The Mill and Bel Heir).
4 – Jack Garratt is a musical genius and must be seen as often as possible. He is even worth staying out until 1am.
Stay tuned for more tomorrow…