It’s been more than a month now since South-by came and went, I guess it’s about time I told y’all about it. Yes? In my pre-game post I shared 30 bands I was hoping to see at the annual South by Southwest festivities; it’s always kind of a coin toss as to which bands you actually catch. I only saw 13 bands shared in that post. So in this post, I will cover the 36 bands that soundtracked my 2014 SXSW.
This post has been a challenge to write. I’ve been SXSW’s biggest fan for a number of years now. I’ve shared in previous posts how it’s my happy place, my heaven on earth. 2010, 2011 and 2012 were LEGENDARY years. The bands, the memories made, the friends who shared it all with me — perfection. I’d come to expect the unexpected and respect that every year is different, but magical in its own way.
But this year was lacking the familiar magic and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Has it truly gotten too big, too corporate — was that the problem? Was it the devastatingly tragic nightmare that occurred just two nights in, casting a huge, ugly, black cloud on everything? Was it simply that three of my very best friends, who I consider SXSW staples, weren’t there this year? And as it happens, neither were any of my musician friends. Was it all of these things combined?
I need you to know I did see AMAZING music. I also shared it with some truly incredible friends. Cherished memories were made. But my impression during and my impression now, a month later, remains the same: what a shit-show. It felt like Mardi Gras — a non-stop, massive party with a staggering number of drunk people poised to spill their beer down your back, burn you with their cigarettes while shoving their way through the packed streets, and vomit on your shoes.
Let’s get back to the part about partaking in some truly phenomenal music though, shall we?
Mighty Oaks was, no surprise, the absolute highlight of the entire week. We saw them three times and I can’t wait for their return to the states. More, please.
My other top favorites were:
Run River North
They made a fun SXSW compliation video, so I’m sharing that – but seriously, go check out more of their music.
After much consideration I think I’m going to have to call this year’s “SXSW favorite find” a three way tie.
First up, Lily Kershaw. I’d like to point out …. she’s a girl! If you’re a first time reader, or simply missed this somewhere along the line, my ears are exceedingly partial to musicians of the male persuasion. My iTunes catalog is made up of 90% fellas and 10% ladies. And the statistics in these pages is likely even less than that. I say all this simply to highlight that Lily is the real fucking deal and we loved her enough to see her twice. She’s based out of LA; do your homework, go to a show, and fall in love – just like I did.
Next, Frances Cone. Holy crap, what do you know? Another badass songbird.
Rounding out this year’s SXSW favorite finds I give you, The Saint Johns.
I feel the need to call out the show that was the most unexpected/ most fun. We discovered this band because they followed Mighty Oaks at the German Haus showcase. Their presence was INCREDIBLE. Great sound, great energy, sensational in every way and the best part? I danced and danced and danced. That doesn’t happen often enough. Thank you, HVOB.
Those were my highlights. The best of the best. We saw TONS of great music and I will list the rest below. If I take the time to sift through YouTube and add videos for each artist this post will never go live. A few of these bands were highlighted (with videos) here: South by Southwest | 2014
(^These first three would have definitely made it into my top faves if I had managed to catch a full set, but I didn’t. Boohiss.)
Elizabeth & the Catapult
Clear Plastic Masks