SXSW Music Festival 2015: Day Three
The rain hit Austin hard on Friday, but it barely slowed the music down. The Next2Shine crew got a little spiritual at two different showcases hosted at local churches, making a beautiful atmosphere for music by the likes of James Bay, Tobias Jesso Jr, and Laura Marling. Read below for our picks for Day 3’s highlights.
Best Act: By the time British electronic multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt got on stage, half of the audience at the Communion Records showcase at St. David’s Episcopal Church had gone home. (Rightfully so – it was 1 a.m.) Garratt took the stage alone with a push-pad, an electric guitar and a keyboard on deck, and, yes, he was going to play all of them together while singing. He also told the crowd that, as of 10 hours ago, he lost his voice. But if that’s what he sounds like with strained vocal chords, then dude must have pipes of gold. What resulted was a mini-meltdown by Garratt, and one of the most fabulously chaotic and glorious performances of the week. By the end of his set, Garratt, who’s a big fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, indulged himself (and the audience) with a simple blues jam amid the blue flickering church-light. “There are no words to this,” said Garratt. “It’s just me playing with myself… in church.”
Best Hair-Do: It’s a tie between James Bay and SZA. While the British crooner totally has the long rockstar hair working for him, alt-R&B songstress SZA’s orange locks were some kind of wonderful. We’ll let you be the judge.
The best hair in all of SXSW: SZA pic.twitter.com/XZhpkkUDnF
— Next2Shine.com (@TheNext2Shine) March 21, 2015
Most Authentic Musical Moment: Tobias Jesso Jr. was obviously affected by the severe schedule that comes with playing SXSW. During his set at Central Presbyterian Church, he failed at singing his song “True Love” four times. The singer-songwriter frantically stumbled as he forgot the lyrics to his song on numerous attempts. He kept his cool however, joking that it must be a “devil song.” He eventually nailed the song with the assistance of a helpful audience member, who looked up the lyrics on his phone. The performance helped the down-to-earth piano man solidify a standing ovation at the end of his 40-minute set.
Best Collaboration: After delivering a raucous set with music from her debut LP Love Stuff and her infamous Khia cover, Elle King was joined by Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers at Stubb’s for a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Go Your Own Way.” While the collab isn’t exactly spur of the moment – Antonoff has covered the track before, and him and King share the same label – the pairing of these two artists with the classic sing-along anthem was a recipe for success. The crowd danced wildly, perhaps in spite of the pouring rain.
— Next2Shine.com (@TheNext2Shine) March 20, 2015
Best of the Unheard: The ever-quirky Ryn Weaver pulled back the theatrics to deliver a moving ode to her late grandfather with “Traveling Song” at the UMG Experience showcase. The track, which will be featured on Weaver’s upcoming debut LP The Fool, spirals into a glorious mess of feelings, with Weaver singing lyrics like, “He was black sheep and mischief and love for his craft.” Painting a vivid picture of the man she clearly loved and respected, it was easy to get lost in the moment as Weaver herself got choked up.