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SXSW 2017

100,000 steps later

SXSW 2017 at Night

Austin’s Sixth Street is where the main action happens at SXSW by night, along with Rainey St. I walked between the two and the Austin Convention Center in total of 25 miles over the four days. I was wrecked by the end, especially my feet, but I had plenty of stories to reflect on.

Covering big festivals can be stressful at the start. Making sure everything is booked and packed. The red-eye flight there. Figuring out the plan during the festival. But most of all the pressure to find a good story, and get it on paper.

It’s good stress that’s both invigorating and inspiring. Whether you’re there for work or fun, the key is to keep an open mind & heart. There’s always a story to tell, so don’t stress the good stuff.

First Night, Ladies’ Night

More than any other festival, SXSW is set up to discover music. There are so many of the most talented musicians from around the world there performing at multiple times (in case of conflicts). You can basically step into any bar and find a performance you’d never expect to love. And that’s exactly what happened to me, specifically on the first night, multiple times.

My friends wanted to go to Sylvan Esso at Stubb’s, but I had to catch up with a blogger friend first. His blog is a much more novel concept than mine. I fell into a country act trying to find his showcase. I would’ve never listened to them in my spare time, I even tried after seeing her, but Carson McHone’s voice live was fait to fall into.

After seeing Sylvan Esso, we went to the Swan Dive across the street. Only because we had never been there before and I had my eye on it last year. We spent the rest of the night there and saw some of the best soft jams turn to hard rock over four performances. All fronted by women.

DUCKWRTH

I love when you’re in a moment you know you’ll remember forever and sit back for a quick break to appreciate it. I had to switch out the battery in my camera at DUCKWRTH’s show, which gave me that time. I had tried to see him the night before, but his schedule was off and I had to go back to Easy Tiger to see THEY. I actually didn’t get to see him the next night either for the same reason (more on that later).

Like Tickle Torture the year before, DUCKWRTH had stage presence that stood far forward from my other favorites. I love all his music now, but it took his live show to see what’s really special about him – the vitality he brings to his performance. I might even say it’s better than my favorite artist of the last few years, Anderson .Paak.

Apparently Anderson .Paak had DUCKWRTH as the opener for his tour last year, except for every of the six times I saw .Paak last year (including SXSW). Someone didn’t want me to discover DUCKWRTH til now, but our first encounter was magic.

A Note to SXSW

Last year I talked to SXSW about their official app. I used it more this year and found the same problem with one clear example.

I wanted to see DUCKWRTH at least once at SXSW. The app showed him playing three times. I got to see him once. Other than his set at Banger’s, his times were off for the two other shows, not to mention a fourth and fifth show missing from the app.

It’s important that the app’s schedule is up-to-date. I don’t know how many people use the app, but I know a lot of my friends didn’t because of its reliability. I’d love to help for next year.

What a remarkable voice.