SXSW Day 3: The Struggle Is Real…

The third day of SXSW meant pushing through the pain of sore feet and aching body parts to discover new music and capitalize on the proximity effect. Although this might mean sacrificing on seeing someone you’re more familiar with or intrigued by, this also means it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

The day started with a minor hike to the Spotify House to catch the always lovely James Bay. After seeing him play on the smaller stage at the Spotify House just two years ago, it was wonderful to see him on the big stage enchanting the massive audience with his soulful voice and honest lyrics. After taking the time to enjoy a familiar voice, it was time to start shooting fish and head back to the heart of SXSW in downtown proper for some sampling.

Yukon Blonde / Photo: Amanda Bard

Yukon Blonde / Photo: Amanda Bard

Stopping in at the Des Moines Embassy for Misterwives was just a natural path to take for maximum sampling because it was in proximity to the McDonald’s Showcase, which was in proximity to Latitude 30, which….. well, you get the idea. Although the McDonald’s Showcase was running a little behind, it was a great place to get off the feet, catch some Yukon Blonde, and enjoy some free food, even though it was only for a short amount of time. Then a brief walk to Latitude 3o where early arrival to a venue means potentially finding a good wall to lean on while waiting for the show to start.

Sometimes random sampling doesn’t always work out in your favor but, thankfully in this case, it did. Paper Aeroplanes was a lovely duo especially with singer Sarah Howells and her captivating voice that felt like a breath of fresh air. It was a struggle to leave them behind, but more music must be seen despite my protesting feet. Just a block or two down the road was the Boston and Beyond Showcase with a band playing by the name of The Ballroom Thieves. They were an acoustic trio with a very different kind of set up that included a standing bass, a stripped down drum kit, and an acoustic guitar. It made for a backwoods, folky vibe and if it weren’t for all the surrounding noise, you might have thought you were in the mountains at an inn enjoying the local talent.

Frank Turner

Frank Turner / Photo: Amanda Bard

Down the road was The Blind Pig and after stopping in to try and sample The Night Riots and realizing there was no band on stage 15 minutes into their scheduled set time (blame the lack of band parking for this one), it was a sign that it was time to branch out and take a trek. During the hustle to IFC Fairgrounds for Dry The River, I came upon a band called City of the Sun playing on the street to a fairly large crowd and with a sound was so pleasant, that it made me stop and listen. Although there were no lyrics, it was something that couldn’t help but be noticed. Having to break away from this band on the street was a struggle in itself, but the pain was relieved by the highly enjoyable Dry the River. The short walk was worth it even if it meant only being able to stay for two songs before running off elsewhere.

The rest of the day was less of a hustle due to the increasing, not-so-silent screaming from the body and events with multiple “must see” bands on the bill taking priority. This meant attending the Nylon Party at the W Hotel (conveniently located down the street from our hotel) for HOLYCHILD and Zella Day. Then it was one last hike for free food and Jared & The Mill at the Rachel Ray Feedback House (which was a must) before finishing off the night with Frank Turner and Butch Walker at Red 7.

We’ve reached the hump of SXSW where the days feel like weeks which means the party is only getting better from here.