SXSW 2015: Final Recap and Roundtable

Another year, another SXSW. It all seems like an old hat by now.

Having had some time to reflect on the week that was, we met up virtually and did some reflecting.

How was it this year compared to other years?

Ricky: SXSW seemed to scale back on the mega acts this year, which is just fine by me. I think last year’s excess and carnage made the organization take a step back and reflect on how much the festival got out of control. This year felt a bit smaller and it was great. Personally, I feel like I’m getting old and can’t handle ten days of SXSW anymore. Of course, this is something I am saying now. It’s a tradition now more then anything. An expensive tradition.

Paul: This was my fifth year going to SXSW and I’m starting to feel about it like I did about Police Academy Five – still pretty good, but it’s starting to lose a bit of it’s lustre for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot of fun with a lot of great moments, but I’m starting to get a bit of that “seen it all before” feeling. Maybe I’m just getting too old …

Derek: This was my sixth consecutive year and I feel like the magic has worn off a little. I refuse to wait more than a few minutes to get into a venue so that meant I didn’t get to see some acts (notably HUM).

Gary: Somehow I was a lot more enthused about SXSW this year. Although this would contrast with my photo-output by number of pics. It could be due to a multitude of factors: the sobering effect from last year’s tragic car accident; the conspicuous downturn in advertisement/endorsement; the fact that we have a hotel near downtown again; and my new camera is still not an integrated part of my body…

Best act?

Derek: James Bay at St. David’s Sanctuary. This was a perfect, intimate venue to see the 25-year old class act.

Ricky: Kate Tempest blew my mind the first time I saw her and truly, nothing was better then her searing show at Latitude 30. I will see her at NXNE and drag a bunch of people there. I also saw Emmy the Great, who was quite fantastic.

Gary: Hinds. They don’t necessarily have the best songs, nor the most memorable lines (that would go to overtime between Emmy the Great and Laura Marling), but they have an energy reserve that could rival a Tesla P85. When the next act failed to show up, they took it upon themselves to keep playing an extra 15 min. The Spaniards probably have the besst attitude I’ve seen in a band at SXSW.

Paul: Torres

Most disappointing act?

Gary: I didn’t have a crushingly disappointing experience this year. If I had to, I would nominate Buffalo Billiards as the most disappointing venue. They failed to support Dry the River (who were forced to give an acoustic set in their socks while drinking beer) then Palma Violets (who had to cut their act to 2 songs) on consecutive days. Either their sound system needs an upgrade, or the sound guy needs a new job.

Paul: No big disappointments this year, though i was a little disappointed in myself for missing out on a few acts I should have seen, including Calypso legend The Mighty Sparrow’s set at Karma Lounge. He ended up going on later than scheduled but after hearing rumours that he might not even show up, I hedged my bets and went to see something else instead.

Ricky: Black River had so much trouble setting up that they played a half set. That was disappointing considering they are 2/3 of the Doves. The Church did not play “Under the Milky Way”

Most Pleasant Discovery?

Gary: Most pleasant surprise would be Grace Weber. Her set was well-controlled, energetic, and perhaps most important to the central spirit of SXSW, not overtly crowded or hyped. It’s also nice to hear soul music in Bethell Hall for once.

Paul: Out of disappointment grew a discovery. Though I missed out on Mighty Sparrow, I did end up seeing Codrington Pan Family instead. The steel pan playing family band were also playing the Trinidad and Tobago showcase, though they went on an hour past their scheduled time. Mighty Sparrow was supposed to go on then and as they took to the stage I kept expecting him to come out, like they were his backing band and were warming up the crowd for him. I soon realized that wasn’t the case and kind of resented them for it, but then I realized, who cares – these guys put on a fun show and impressed with steel pan covers of “Happy,” “Get Lucky,” “In The Mood,” and even the damn “Can Can.”

Derek: Years and Years at FLOOD Magazine/Cedar Street Courtyard. Catchy British synthpop. You’re going to hear their infection single “Kings” for the rest of the year so much that you’ll be sick of it..

Ricky: I knew of Kate Tempest but she was fantastic. Shura was an act I never heard of but she was also very good. I also discovered how much I liked Deerhoof and The Oh See’s live act. I saw 58 bands this year at SXSW so it’s a bit of a blur.

See you next year, SXSW (?)

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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