Amyl and the Sniffers (photo: Norm deVeyra)
My last day here was supposed to be relaxing, chill, laid-back. Started the day with some breakfast tacos and was planning on just meandering around Austin grabbing drinks with friends and, just as importantly, sitting down and resting my barking dogs.
But then Amyl and the Sniffers happened. The way a hurricane “happens” or an atom bomb “happens.” They played in what was basically a dusty backyard, and the show felt more like I was a clown in a bull ring and singer Amy Taylor was one pissed-off bull. I’d describe the music but I was too focused on staying alive and not having myself or my camera pummeled in the chaos.
The rest of the day was as planned. There was meandering. There was a delicious old fashioned at CU29. There was sitting. And to cap it off, there was another round of Emilie Kahn to soothe my soul.
Good night, SXSW.
Yesterday turned out to be an Australian showcase of sorts, as my favorite sets all came from musicians from Down Under.
Haiku Hands have instantly shot up to the top of my must-see again list. I had no inkling of the insanity that the Aussie trio would bring to their performance. Imagine three M.I.A.s on one stage spitting rhymes with full choreography while bouncing off the walls to some glitchy hip-hop beats. It was an infectiously fun show.
Speaking of insane performances, Amyl and the Sniffers ripped through a fiery set out in East Austin yesterday afternoon. I had heard some buzz about the band’s live show, and they did not disappoint. Lead singer Amy Taylor quite literally, threw her whole being into that performance so much so that she ended up with a bloody lip at one point. Bleeding and covered in dirt, Taylor crowd surfed and moshed with the eager crowd and delivered one of the most memorable sets this whole week.
Playing to a packed nightclub, singer Angie McMahon closed out your SXSW 2019 with a scorching midnight set that proved why the young Melbourne rocker received this year’s Grulke Prize. She’s definitely a promising talent to keep an eye on, with her debut album expecting release later this year.
Dear Bay Area, I tried to get to some shows by your artists yesterday, I really did. But in true SXSW fashion, I was waylaid by a couple of drinks and the spirit of discovery.
I’ve been trying to stick to a schedule this whole time, but the final night was the first night I actually let myself get swept away by South By. I started the day with a second round of both Yola and Durand Jones and the Indications at Scoot Inn, sipping on a Kolsch and soaking in what little sun was peeking through the clouds. Then after a taco pit stop I ambled over to Lady Bird Lake for William Tyler and Courtney Marie Andrews at a lovely open-air festival-within-a-festival setting. Near the end of Andrews’ set, the group chat started lighting up with plans for celebratory team cocktails. Once at the bar, I got talked into stopping by Korean indie band Say Sue Me for a spell.
The last thing I clearly remember is a hand holding a Lone Star appearing in front of me while I was tapping notes into my phone. That hand belonged to Ian, and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I know I saw Say Sue Me, I know I ate more tacos, and I know I made a feeble attempt to make good on my promise to cover Bay Area bands by trying to get into Danny Ali, only to be told his set wasn’t actually part of the festival programming and they’d be charging a cover. And I know I ended the night at a bar somewhere on the outskirts of town, clutching yet another Lone Star and watching a country band. And I know it felt right.
Same time next year, SXSW?