Sleep deprivation hit me hard on Friday, March 15, 2019. Trying to maximize a weeklong South By Southwest is always tiring, and for some reason, it feels like it’s only me suffering in Austin, Texas. Everyone else just seems to handle the booze and live music for hours on end with aplomb.
I admit it. I’m old. But as SXSW winded down, I knew I had to step up. Fortunately, there were many competing energy drink company representatives floating around downtown giving away free drinks, which helped alleviate balance out the possible hangover I had with the frustration of wasted time spent waiting to get into the Barracuda for The Current’s showcase featuring Andrew Bird.
Fortunately, I made a good executive decision to leave the line and head over to Buffalo Billiards because Southern California rockers Liily were amazing during their early noontime show. “I Can Fool Anybody in This Town” had great beats, and “Toro” had great energy. With only a single EP to its credit, Liily seemed to a top candidate for best breakout artist. Los Angeles garage rock trio Cherry Glazerr followed with a great set that mostly featured songs from its recently released album Stuffed & Ready.
Detroit alt-pop duo Flint Eastwood practically set fire to the outdoor stage at Cheer Up Charlies with its high-energy set that included “Chapter 4 Sober” and “Glitches.”
Indie rock legends Broken Social Scene was the one band I needed to see at SXSW before I died. Earlier that week, the Canadian band made headlines as it performed the entirety of its classic album You Forgot it In People at the Arts & Crafts Official Showcase. I hoped for a repeat for its Radio Day Stage performance, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. As a plus though, Broken Social Scene performed many songs from its two-volume Let’s Try the After EPs.
The rest of the day and night got mellower as my schedule seemed to fall perfectly into place. Irish singer-songwriter Jealous of the Birds also performed a coveted Radio Day Stage set and wowed the crowd with a mix of melancholy (“Tonight I Feel Like Kafka”) and throwback ’90s alternative jams (“Plastic Skeletons”). The Linnea Siggelkow-led Ellis treated the cozy Clive Bar outdoor stage with an enchanting set of bedroom pop tunes and memories of being forever young (“What a Mess”). To repeat: I’m feel old again.
Over at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, London-born singer-songwriter Minke helped switch gears a bit with more uplifting vibes such as the searing ballad “Something Better” and low-tempo anthem “Too Late.” Also, Belgian-Egyptian singer-songwriter Tamino (born Tamino Moharam Fouad) filled the same cathedral with less uplifting tunes, but that didn’t stop the crowd from falling under his charming spell (“Tummy”) and enchanting voice.
I ended my night with a bit more bite with Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon and rock legend Steve Earle. I have a soft spot for female rockers so seeing McMahon was a no-brainer, especially with having to wait so long for her debut full-length album to finally drop. Her alternative rock style was such a breath of fresh air (“Missing Me”). Similarly, Earle rocked out with a no-nonsense flair as he and his band busted out “Desperados Waiting For A Train” and “Copperhead Road.” He told an amusing anecdote about folk legend Guy Clark and barbeque before performing a cover of Clark’s “The Last Gunfighter Ballad.”
- Angie McMahon – “Pasta”
- Broken Social Scene – “Stars and Sons”
- Cherry Glazerr – “Daddi”
- Ellis – “Frostbite”
- Flint Eastwood – “Queen”
- Liily – “Sepulveda Basin”
- Minke – “Bite the Bullet”
- Tamino – “Verses”