SXSW has ended. The most wonderful time of year has passed. Thousands of artists and tens of thousands of SXSW attendees have returned home. Some have fallen in love with Austin and plan to move here as soon as possible and a few have extended their vacation for a little longer in our beautiful city. They will soon realize that the 24/7 partying that is SXSW ends quickly after the artists leave. Yes, we are still the live music capital of the world –but no one can keep up that pace year round.
This year, the corporate presence seemed to be less noticeable. There were the Samsung parties with artists too big to believe (The Strokes, Collegrove and Sia). Capital One set up house in the new Antone’s and provided a solid line-up during SXSW interactive. The giant Doritos vending machine was replaced with a Ferris Wheel and arcade from the TV show Mr. Robot. During SXSW music, the usual big parties represented. The Fader Fort was at the Pine Street station for the last time (the area is being redeveloped this year) with Hype Hotel directly across the street. Spotify moved further east to an empty lot across from Hotel Vegas. All these parties booked great artists.
Choosing which acts to watch proved difficult. Most of the time there were at least five artists that we would like to be hearing at the same time and that number increased as the day turned to night. Some of our favorites are included in the gallery below.
The only poor performances we saw during the week were the ones where the band didn’t play for technical reasons. Sets were cut short due to storms that hit the Austin area Friday night, and the shows that were cancelled outright. Even with shortened sets due to weather delays, fans that remained at the Luck Reunion at Willie Nelson’s ranch were treated to once in a lifetime intimate sets. Willie Nelson played in a small tent; Jenny Lewis and Lucius played in a tiny church in Willie’s old west town. SXSW is filled with delightful moments like these.
There is no way to pick a favorite artist at SXSW any year and this year was no exception. That said, we highlighted some great moments during SXSW below…
And the Kids destroyed the patio stage at Swan Dive. Their wonderful vocals and eclectic songs made for one of the best shows of the week.
Cosmo Sheldrake preformed at the British Music Embassy, looping together unique sounds and his one of kind vocals into something very special.
The Overcoats preformed on a very full rooftop at Wholefoods. The prefect weather suited their perfect harmonies.
Declan McKenna provided emotional songs that suited the growing pains heard in his vocals.
Barns Courtney rocked Lambert’s BBQ to packed room of roots music fans.
BANNERS‘ hauntingly beautiful vocals filled the room at YouTube’s party at Coppertank.
Phases kicked the party up a notch in the Hotel Van Zandt lobby.
Possessed by Paul James followed by turning the hotel lobby into a hoedown with his one-man bluegrass show.
Sweet Spirit enthralled fans with their pop songs and infectious energy.
The Fantastic Negrito proved once again that he deserved to win the 2015 NPR Tiny Desk contest.
Open Mike Eagle killed his set in the tiny Mohawk Jr. His new album is dropping next week and it is sure to make waves!
Avec Sans brought a British dance party to the Lucky Lounge with beautiful synth and vox work.
There were tons more awesome artists preforming all over Austin from the phenomenal ACL Live at the Moody Theater to the dankest dive bars and dirtiest parking lots. It doesn’t seem that SXSW has lost any of its soul this year. The number of invited bands remained about the same and the overall feel of the festival was fantastic!