SXSW Review: Ryder The Eagle, March 15, Chess Club


“Keep Austin Weird” has been an unofficial motto for the city for some time now. and at its best (and sometimes its worst), the music programming at SXSW can help to shine a spotlight on the weird and wonderful performers out there, not just from Austin but from around the globe. A perfect example of this is Ryder The Eagle.

Originally from Toulouse and currently based in Mexico City, Ryder The Eagle took the audience at Chess Club on a journey through the weird during his set at Chess Club, a journey that included tales of divorce, motorcycles, rebound romances, and much more.

Performing solo, Ryder took to the stage and began his set with a monologue explaining everything he’s gone through with the divorce and setting the thematic groundwork for the evening. Though it isn’t exactly accurate to say he took to the stage – he made the entire venue his stage and more or less made everyone in the small confines of Chess Club a part of his show.

And what a show it was. Roaming about the entire space, singing directly to and occasionally dancing with various women in attendance (presumably using them as a surrogate for his ex), writhing about on the floor, and culminating in him singing while standing on the bar, Ryder the Eagle gave us a show that was weird, yes, but wildly entertaining. And the finale, with him singing atop the bar, was made even more surreal by the Led Zeppelin concert footage airing on the screen behind him.

Falling somewhere between karaoke and performance art, it wasn’t fully clear how much of Ryder’s story was just a persona created for his show and how much was true to life, but that hardly matters when it’s this much fun. I know that watching some dude in an all white cowboy suit singing songs about his divorce behind a prerecorded backing track doesn’t necessarily sound all that fun, but trust me, it was.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest