The Best Acts Clash Saw At SXSW – Part Two
Despite the stormy disruption of the second day of SXSW 2023, which saw the temporary closure of many venues and lightning cascade across the sky, the clouds cleared for a bright and breezy third day at the festival. Music once again began to emanate from seemingly every bar, coffee shop and backyard in the area, and crowds flocked to see what the packed line up had to offer for the day. Below are just some of the highlights of the hundreds of shows from days two and three of the festival.
Floating between moments of tender melancholy and emotional, wall of sound style crescendos, BNNY brought an intense stage presence that was captivating to see. The vocalist Jessica Viscius delivered the poignant lyrics in a style reminiscent of Hope Sandoval, while the music provided mellow and passionate moments to match each track’s arc. There is a genuine tenderness to the songwriting of BNNY, but the live show also provides a sense of cathartic release with its waves of intensity.
The London based collective brought an energetic and driven set to Austin, mixing healthy amounts of wood block and cowbell with more traditionally angular guitars and rapid drum rhythms. The live set felt truly as fun for the act as the audience, as the band would joke and laugh with each other while the frontman wandered through the bouncing crowd.
Thee Sacred Souls
Bringing together the classic elements of soul, that signature Daptone guitar tone and powerful vocals, Thee Sacred Souls entranced their audience. The band drew on each other’s energy to create beautiful harmonies and genuinely tender moments, adapting a vintage sound to the modern day to create a mellow set filled with genuine soul.
The Leeds based group weren’t daunted by the transition to Texas as they took the stage of the fantastic Thirteenth Floor, by far one of the best venues in Austin. Balancing tender, slow moments with surges of guitar, the resultant set was a cinematic and emotional showcase of the brilliant talent coming out of the north of the UK right now.
Bringing an energetic, explosive set to the International Stage, Obongjayar was an absolutely captivating frontman. The usually reserved audience of attendees were dancing to his driven rhythms, encouraged by Obongjayar who rewarded undisclosed prizes to the best dancers in the audience.
Indigo de Souza
In a festival often driven by egos and publicity, Indigo de Souza’s set felt refreshingly genuine and charming. The music combined energetic, often upbeat melodies with lyrical descriptions of anxiety, insecurity and self-realisation. The set peaked with intense guitar and purgative cries of self-truths, leaving audiences feeling like they had witnessed a genuine insight into the world of Indigo de Souza.
Reverend Horton Heat
Friday night at the iconic Continental Club saw the psychobilly legend Reverend Horton Heat take the stage as special guest for Jason D Williams and Dale Watson. The sets were buzzing, with a packed audience, playful banter among the acts and an astounding level of talent on display. As the crowd danced and jived, songs stopped and started, and piano keys were pounded, it felt like a display of the Continental Club in its true form.
Words: Eve Boothroyd