SXSW Review: Julie Byrne, March 16, Clive Bar


SXSW can sometimes be pretty unforgiving to the artists performing there. Whether it’s playing to a crowd that’s just there for free food and drink or one who’s just waiting for another act to come on stage later, it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll have the most energetic or attentive audience. Julie Byrne must have already had such an experience before her Thursday night show at Clive Bar as she seemed so genuinely appreciative of the audience. “Thanks so much for your attention. i can’t tell you what it means to us. We feel like big misfits sometimes. This next song utilises silence as an instrument. We’ll see how that goes.” As it turned out, it went quite well indeed.

This show was part of the Showtime network’s promotion for their upcoming revival of Twin Peaks and as such, the stage was decked out with the red curtain and zigzag black and white carpeting that was seen in that series’ bizarre, otherworldly Black Lodge. The otherworldly vibe seemed somewhat fitting as Byrne’s music had me feeling almost like I had entered another plane. At one point, I glanced at my watch and was surprised that only 14 minutes had passed since the beginning of her set. That’s not to say that her set was dragging in any way or that I was hoping for it to be over soon – it was more that I was so totally enveloped in the beautiful, haunting, mesmerising sounds that time itself seemed to slow down. It’s rare to find such a moment at the whirlwind that is SXSW.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest