SXSW 2017 - Saturday - Austin, Texas

  • In Live Review
  • 16:30 on 28th Mar 2017
  • By Lorne ThomsonLorne Thomson
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South By South West 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.

My final day at 2017's SXSW started with an early afternoon set from UK act Dream Wife.

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I'd stumbled over the band a few days earlier, while waiting for Let's Eat Grandma to take the stage at Latitude 30, and they'd ended up my favourite band of the day, and joint favourite find of the week, alongside LA Folk Rockers - The Wild Reeds.

The three piece group are formed of of Rakel Mjöll on vocals, Alice Go on guitar and vocals, and Bella Podpadec on bass and vocals, with a drummer helping them out live.

Their Saturday show at the Barracuda was just as fun as their showcase earlier in the week, with their high energy Punk tinged performance setting me up nicely for the rest of the day, especially set closer 'FUU'.

The rest of my afternoon was fairly quiet, starting with a visit to the Convention Center, to photograph Snoop Dogg.

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The rapper was in town to take part in the "Artist to Advocate: Fighting For Criminal Justice" panel, focusing on the plight of Weldon Angelos, who also attended, who had been sentenced to 55 years in jail for drugs and firearm charges due to mandatory sentencing laws, but was released after 12 years after a legal battle.

After shooting Snoop I took a long walk up to Whole Foods Market, grabbing a spot at the side to take in sets from actress and singer Bridgit Mendler and those 'MMMBop' boys - Hanson.

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The three brothers had pulled a large very excitable, mostly female, crowd and delivered a set that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I might, as they're just a good old Rock band!

The band's set consisted of old favourites from their back catalogue, but also looked to the future, giving a song it's first live airing, going down a storm with the audience on first play.

Naturally the biggest cheers were reserved for Number One single 'MMMBop', taken from their Middle Of Nowhere album, but my stand out was 'Where's The Love' from the same release, as it sounded fantastic.

The group are taking to the road this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Middle Of Nowhere, including a couple of dates at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire. Who knows?, I may be back for second helpings!

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A lot of my SX Saturday evenings have been spent predominantly in the one venue, as you're just plain knackered as your week draws to a close. As I'd had a fairly quiet Friday I decided to make a bit more of an effort, flitting between four different venues, catching five performances, with the two in the same venue not back to back either!

Highlights included a quirky set from British composer Anna Meredith at Latitude 30, and the enigmatic Fifi Rong and the energetic Elle Exxe, both at The Townsend which was a new venue to me.

Elle had been on my radar for quite a while, but I'd never got round to seeing her live. I was frustrated I hadn't seen her perform sooner, as she was a real highlight of my week, producing a highly charged, lively showcase, including her extremely catchy single - 'Lost In LA'.

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My final 2017 showcase came from Kristeen Young at Trinity Hall, a fairly grotty venue!!

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I'd seen Kristeen play a very animated solo set earlier in the week, enjoying what I'd caught, so it was great to see her perform with a full band, and while not as exciting to shoot, due to the singer being stuck behind her keyboard this time round, still captured my full attention, and was a fun way to end my SX experience.

Although the big names didn't come to town this year, compared to previous SX's, it was still worthwhile attending, discovering new acts, viewing old favourites and taking part in a lot of socialising in between! If all goes to plan, I'm sure I'll be back in 2018.

Dream Wife

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Snoop Dogg and Weldon Angelos

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Bridgit Mendler

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Hanson

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Anna Meredith

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Elle Exxe

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Phoebe Bridgers

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Fifi Rong

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Kristeen Young

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