Eating ribs sat opposite Dave Grohl, inhaling vaporised cannabis with Action Bronson and watching Snoop Lion casually covering Bob Marley's hits are all in a days work at SXSW. With the music industry descending on Austin in Texas, its scorching heat and music-drenched streets behold a utopian playground for music lovers from across the globe. Rising artists, iconic legends and breaking talent congregate every year to flood the city's live venues with unadulterated talent. With Prince, Justin Timberlake and Iggy Pop performing alongside Kendrick Lamar and Usher this year, it creates a music lovers paradise.
With secret gigs, pop up performances and free drinks given away on every corner, at South By South West there are zero limits. With the UK music scene ever abundant, our artists well and truly represented. Recently signed Scottish electro pop act Chvrches were one of the hottest bands in town. With quaint venues only inviting in small crowds the queue to see their set filled the streets nearby. Unlike the Brits small town culture of too many beers, pointless scraps and 'hands off my girlfriend' chats, in Texas it's all love. With Perez Hilton hosting his annual 'One Night In Austin' party the city offers just that. Chance meetings, late night tattoos and early mornings with people you met just hours before become normality.
In Austin everyone is on a level, they are there for the music and to have the time of their lives, a ubiquitous hedonism. Daytime gigs rolling in to late night after parties and early morning missions across the city. A night with the Palma Violets was just that. Rumours of them playing a secret gig at University of Texas Campus heralded the music industry jumping in cabs and getting fully involved. Clunking taxi doors with UK dance duo Disclosure and sharing drinks at the make shift bar with Brit band Peace, the halls of residence turned in to an American teen dream fantasy. One-dollar beer and red cups filled with cheap whisky was where it was at whilst dispensing Dr Pepper from the vending machines to share as a mixer. With the band creating a stage in the middle of a shared living space they caused bedlam. Stadium worthy mosh pits started amongst the one hundred strong rabble as a lonely crowd surfer made his way over the heads of the inebriated. Whilst outside, the pool proved to much temptation for the UK's A&R teams who decided to semi strip off and jump in the deep end.
With Snoop in town for the launch of his film 'Reincarnated' the big man headlined Viceland. Debates over his 'Lion' or 'Dogg' surname became irrelevant as he effortlessly strolled on stage. Performing his new track with Major Lazer 'Here Comes The King' who raised the roof just moments before, Snoop was a man on top of his game. With his film debating the fact that he believes that he is the longhaired dreaded Rasta reincarnated he launched in to Bob Marley's 'Could You Be Loved' and the crowd went wild.
Representing the UK's homegrown talent Rudimental, Monsta and Bastille all put on shows worthy of worldwide recognition. Forget sleeping in soggy tents and trudging around the UK festivals knee deep in mud, Texas is the place to be. Clear blue skies, open road and enough backward Texans to make you feel totally sane in the head. SXSW is a festival like no other. People from every walk of life, music from every genre and a city filled with people that are all up for a party that nowhere in the world can match.
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