(literally) dancing with architecture at SxSW 2017

Art, music, and architecture go hand-in-hand (or at least they do in my lame attempt to link them together for this post...). This is why we relish the frantic music-filled days of SxSW. We'll let you in on a little secret: you can do Southby with little money and without staying up all night. That's right: geezer-friendly SxSW!!! We don't register for the conference or the festival; we just partake in the free (or nearly free) day events which start (cough-cough) at 6:30 to 7:00 am at a couple of downtown hotels. After that, we wander over to the convention center to gawk at posters and catch a few acts at the Flatstock stage. Post-Flatstock, downtown sports free shows galore as does South Congress, in and along the Drag, East Austin, and South Austin. Shows have even crept as far north as our neighborhood. It's a stunning and inspiring demonstration of memorable small-scale creativity.

A key part of enjoying day shows or SxSW, in general, is to not get wrapped up in seeing big name acts. That doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't try, but be prepared for challenges. It's better to randomly check things out and get surprised. There are so many good things happening around this town, this country, and this world that you don't know about.

Sadly, it seems fashionable for Austinites to complain incessantly about SxSW (beautifully satirized here by The Hard Times). Boo to you, my friends: Boo. To. You. You are sad people whose lives have left you behind (or perhaps you never had lives to begin with?). If you are not excited by front-line creatives from all over the world coming to your town to sing and play their hearts out, your souls are dead. Please: Dig a hole in your well-manicured back yard and crawl in it. Let the wind of your words bury you.

Our jobs kept us from our full suite of SxSW days, but we spent about 30 hours over Friday and Saturday partaking of random tunes. Exhausting, yes, but exhilarating as well. Here. We. Go!


The alarm buzzed at 5 am Friday: Time to get up to catch the KUTX show at Four Seasons starting at 7 am! This show costs $10 a head, which gets donated to the children's hospital and also gets you a breakfast taco to compliment free coffee and ice cream. If you need the hair of the dog, there's a full bar as well.

River Whyless:

Americana from Asheville, North Carolina.


Americana from New York City.

Ray Wylie Hubbard:

A local fixture originally from a carny family in Oklahoma.

The Black Angels:

Local goth-rockers.

Parked south of the river and stopped in to gawk at the new Yeti brick-n-mortar. Nice. Even had a stage (with cool [get it?] music later in the day).

Yeti seats.

grilled mac-n-cheese (with habanero sauce)


Swift-tongued feminist rapper from Venezuela.

Madriz Kinkis:

Diet Cig:

All girl alt-rock from New Paltz, New York.

DJ Taye:

Taye is from Chicago (a Mies van der Rohe makes a cameo in Taye's video below).


Alt-rock Vagabon from New York features a lead singer originally from Cameroon who sings about being short and being a weird girl.


Lizzo was one of the buzz-bands during Southby, and the buzz was well deserved. The rap acts we saw know how to work a crowd, and Lizzo was no different.

S U R V I V E:

Local all-analog synth act partly responsible for the theme for Stranger Things (two members made it).

Blue Gardinas:

Local almost all-female blues act.

Elle Exxe:

Gotta give pop-princess Elle Exxe (pronounced as letters: L X) from England props for putting on a full-effort show in front of a small, hotel day-crowd. Very entertaining!

Laura Carbone:

Moody tunes from a German songstress.


Rollicking rock from Sweden. They processed the banjo so it sounded like an arpeggiated synth!

Turbo Goth:

We stumbled on this mesmerizing Phillipino act in front of the Driskell while walking back to the car.

Molly Burch:

Ms. Molly is a gorgeous fusion of Roy Orbison and David Lynch's Julee Cruise. She hails from Austin via Los Angeles and Asheville NC.

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears:

A local act that rocks it.

Little Simz:

UK rap with a wonderfully thick British accent!

Warning: F-bombs!


Local alt-rock heroes.

The Bolos:

San Antonio hardcore!

Thelma and the Sleaze:

These gals were a find: a heavy all-girl lesbian band from Nashville; basically Lez Zeppelin. Fantastic live. Fantastic recorded. No joke. Some of the best fringe-music performances we've seen the past two years has been from Nashville.

Slow Hollows:

Impossibly young-looking locals. With a trumpet.

The Molochs:

Los Angeles act teleported directly from the mid-60s!

Lola Pistola:

A New York act (via Costa Rica?). PJ Harvey for the Western Hemisphere...

Kid Wave:

"I hear a band! Let's go!" It was London's Kid Wave.

Sammy Brue:

Wandering down the street and heard this youngster's yearnful voice. Another delightful (and delightfully random) find.

Christopher Paul Stelling:

Bluegrass from NYC.

Our own wee bit of Brutalistic water features.


And we ended our SxSW with this refreshingly goofy duo from Liverpool. Well done, lads!

And when we got home, there was papa owl waiting for us!

Until next year! And for you grouches: refind yourselves!


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