SXSW Review: Minke, March 14, Nuevo Leon Lot

Bud Light Dive Bar Sessions At SXSW 2019, Austin, TX
Photo Credit: Rick Kern

The dive bar is a longstanding American tradition – the somewhat seedy, kind of dingy joints can be found in most cities, acting as the meeting place where locals go for cheap drinks and cheaper atmosphere.

With this in mind, Bud Light, one of the major sponsors of SXSW, set up something known as the Bud Light Dive Bar Sessions, a pop up re-creation of the sort of vibe you might find in a common dive bar. Rather than use one of Austin’s many actual dive bars though, they set up in a parking lot, complete with dive bar style decor and a cigarette machine (that gave out free prizes, not cigarettes – sorry smokers) for a couple of days of performances from the likes of Saint PHNX, Walker Lukens, Sam Fender, Dreezy, Abhi the Nomad, Ivy Sole, Thutmose, and UK alt-rock/R&B singer Minke.

Before we get into Minke’s performance, let’s take a look at how accurately the Dive Bar Sessions space replicated a dive bar. First off, we’ll focus on the positive – the decor and the signage they had were a reasonable facsimile of the real thing and the price of the beer (free) actually surpassed the cheap drink specials one often finds in these types of places, although a shot of the cheapest whiskey you can find to accompany that beer certainly would have added to the effect. On the other hand, here’s what they got wrong – the bright and shiny outdoor setting on a sunny afternoon just can’t match the darkly lit atmosphere of a true dive bar, although to its credit, the parking lot this was set up in was likely cleaner than the average dive.

Setting all that aside, let’s focus on what everyone was here for (besides the free beer) – the music.

Minke originally got her start back when she was just 18 playing something a little more bluesy before settling on her current direction. It’s essentially pop music, but with a chill, moody vibe and a bit of an edge that’s likely a holdover from her blues/rock days. That mellow vibe came across in her live show as she and her band ran through numbers off of the recently released The Tearoom EP like “Bite The Bullet” and “Maybe 25.” It’s not necessarily the type of thing you’d hear at your local dive bar (I feel like a worn down jukebox playing Lynyrd Sykynrd might fit that profile a bit better) but it made for a pleasant discovery on a Thursday afternoon.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest