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Jack Garratt
SXSW DISPATCH: DEMOCRACY
IN ACTION

Depending on when you’re coming and going, Thursday marks the 50-yard line for SXSW. For a year that saw both FLOTUS (in an event that seemed all too short for its quality) and POTUS visit the conference, and where the scale and sprawl of the events continues to flow in all directions, this has oddly been a year virtually free of flashpoints—thankfully no tragedies, but also not much consensus on any small handful of acts. In a sense, then, SXSW has once again been democratized—so far, at least—and the beneficiary is the fan, who has any number of amazing offerings to choose from.

That said, there have certainly been performances to note. One particularly special moment, as predicted, was Iggy Pop’s performance with members of Queens of the Stone Age at the ACL/Moody last night. Aside from buoyant, intense versions of “Lust for Life” and “The Passenger,” they delivered his new material with utter conviction, and fit in a tear-welling-perfect version of the song he wrote with David Bowie, “China Girl.”

Other spots of elegance included Jack Garratt, who has created sonic shade on hot days that sound as good in open air as they do in the club. Pumarosa, Empress Of and Transviolet have also delivered atmospheric, affecting sets, and of course Chvrches are still Chvrches.

Monday’s opening Spotify House performance from Miguel was a powerful start to the week, as he fronted a full-throttle band, while Kacey Musgraves graced the same stage days later to cap off their country day. Lucky Chops have been another party-in-motion, galvanizing crowds with a deft mix of instrumental covers and originals. Diet Cig are lightning in a small punky bottle, and Beach Slang deserve the hearts of not only every Replacements fan but every rock fan, period.

Other highlights have included a great, jammy Ryan Adams set, a raw and affecting brace of shows from Dilly Dally, a tightly packed Vegas show from Bleached and the pleasant surprise that is the new Antone’s, closed last night by the legendary Leon Russell and opened earlier in the week by Austin’s Harvest Thieves and the great Rayland Baxter.

As the week hits critical mass, check out HITS’ official list for suggestions, fall back on my missive for options, have at it and let us know what’s good. 

 

#WCW continues at #sxsw with the fantastic @spaceykacey at the @spotify house

A video posted by Yahoo Music (@yahoomusic) on

 

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