SXSW: To Convergence Day and Beyond

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from SXSW (well, belated now)!


BØRNS | Photo: Chelsea Schwartz

As SXSW Film and Interactive are coming to a close and Music is just beginning, SXSW took it upon themselves to create Convergence Day, a day where Film, Interactive, and Music Badges can co-mingle at panels, screenings, shows and mixers. Taking advantage of the concept, High Voltage started the day at a Podcaster Meet Up, spreading the word about High Voltage Radio Hour and meeting an array of Interactive participants closing out their SXSW adventures.

Shortly thereafter, the Spotify House was calling my name. The Spotify House may just be the best place to hang in Austin this week. There are free drinks, healthy snacks, fun interactive trivia games and impressive musical lineups. Today, featured rising indie artists like VÉRITÉ and the ever entertaining BØRNS who walked onto stage with a colorful piñata and immediately got the crowd going with candy-coated electro beats.

After soaking in some exciting new bands, it was time to catch a few High Voltage favorites. Dear Boy played their first SXSW showcase in front of a wall of white rocks at Cheer Up Charlie’s. The crowd grew increasingly enthusiastic and included a young gentlemen who was somehow able to take the alt-indie rocker’s tunes and do some ska dancing. Irontom opened up The Culture Collide/StubHub day party, playing to a packed house who seemed mesmerized with the band’s insane energy. They even played a couple new songs including a sexy rocker called “My Body.”

Next up, a panel with the scintillating title, Music as Personalized Medicine. The panel featured a CEO, PhD, and the chief science officer of a company recently acquired by Spotify. The experts were encouraging about the prospect of using music as a healing tool for those suffering with disorders such as Autism and Parkinson’s.  They discussed how healthcare, research science, and tech companies could be working together to overcome current barriers and shed some light on how and why music has such amazing healing properties. The panel was enlightening and the audience questions at the end were largely from musicians asking about how they can get more involved. Attending this panel exemplified how experts in different areas such as music, science, and technology can come together to push forward all their respective fields.  The perfect message for Convergence Day!

Buffalo Sunn

Buffalo Sunn | Photo: Kristen Coveleskie

The Trade Show Block Party seemed like the perfect place to grab some food while continuing to network, but by the time I arrived most of the appetizers had already disappeared. Wandering around aimlessly, there seemed to be fewer music-related tables this year. The Capital One booth had the best swag (mobile wallets to stick on your cellphone) and a coffee bar exemplifying their new banks that are supposed to have more of a coffee house vibe. Searching for more food, it was time to venture to Brass House for the Geeks from Gangnam Reception where there was mingling, appetizers and the presentation of a few new Apps including You Are The Designer where you can design and sell your own shoe creations.

The Yahoo Party was top-notch, taking place at a venue that felt like a warehouse, but full of cool lights and water than comes in an aluminum can. It was nice to find a party where you felt like you could relax and simply enjoy music. We caught a bit of James Hersey (must hear more) and a rousing set from Ireland’s Buffalo Sunn before heading down the street to a jam-packed British Embassy party to end the night with the energetic and incredibly endearing Catfish and The Bottlemen who claimed the stage when singer, Van McCann, hung his guitar from the rafters before leaving the stage.

Off to a great start here at SXSW! Much more to come…