SXSW 2016: Day Four In Review

Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Nap Eyes’ set at an out of town yard a party on Saturday afternoon was the stuff SX dreams are made of. With not a corporate banner or drinks promo in sight, this is the kind of fare the festival built its reputation on years ago, and it suits the Halifax band perfectly.

Mainman Nigel Chapman looks like Andy Warhol and sounds like Lou Reed, a holy concoction that’s offset well by his music. Laid back but not too grown up, his songs are sprawling affairs, with the band proving themselves to be masters of subtlety the further the set goes on. You could easily imagine them chucking in some electric piano, Billy Preston on ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ style, to add to the sunkissed vibe.

A video posted by Matt Wilkinson (@w1lko) on Mar 19, 2016 at 2:23pm PDT

Aussies Gold Class proved themselves to be in a class of their own at Beerland. Still new enough that their name doesn’t even come up first in Google rankings when you search them, they made me think of, variously: early Interpol, Richey-era Manics, Royal Headache, At The Drive-In and Depeche Mode. Frontman Adam Curley is born to be onstage, and there’s something compelling about the band as he wraps his mic cord around his neck and interrogates the audience with a hint of Johnny Rotten about him. ‘Life As A Gun’ is a taught, powerful set closer, drummer Mark Hewitt driving them on with Topper Headon-esque flair.


Jon Garrett, Writer

SXSW 2016 ended much as it began. If anything, there were more bands playing today than at any point prior, and because it was the final day, it made the selection process even more agonisingly difficult. Overall, I can’t complain too much. The final day had numerous memorable moments—from seeing Diet Cig perform their spritely college-rock anthems to the assembled throng at Barracuda to watching Athens band Muuy Biien pull a welcome repeat of Friday’s high-octane performance.

But ultimately, the day belonged to Public Access TV. The NYC band brought a sizzling swagger to their evening set at the Mohawk, and provided a sneak peak at the tracks that will comprise their debut album. As one might expect from a band whose frontman began his career as a drummer, songs like ‘Patti Peru’ and ‘In Love And Alone boasted strong, pogoing rhythms to go along with their shout-along choruses. More unexpected, however, was John Eatherly’s apparent comfort with his role out front. He seemed to genuinely relish the spotlight, and judging from the approving roar at the close of Public Access TV’s all-too-brief set, the crowd was in no hurry to have Eatherly cede it.

Rhian Daly, Writer
It might be the last proper day of SXSW, but three of the last few bands I see are some of the best I’ve seen all week. In the yard of East Austin Hostel – essentially a place that looks like a slightly dilapidated old house – New York punks Honduras play their final show of the festival. They’re clearly starting to run out of energy, but they manage to find some reserves from somewhere to make it up to their usual standards of thrashy brilliance. The likes of ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Paralyzed’ are razor sharp punk pick-me-ups for when you’re down and out, all raw guitar lines and Pat Phillips’ half-singing, half-speaking delivery. Their short set is like being given a shot of adrenaline – more than enough to beat any last day lethargy.


Over at Fader Fort, ahead of Drake‘s surprise OVO sound showcase, Anderson.Paak and The Free Nationals are causing a stir. The Californian rapper’s album ‘Malibu’ is one of the most acclaimed of the first few months of 2016 and he recreates some of its tracks deftly. While he’s doing it, he shows his quality as a showman too, getting to know his audience a little better along the way. At one point he jumps off stage and heads to the barrier, where he grabs one girl’s phone and asks if he can read her DMs, before reading out one conversation that takes his interest. Later, he’ll get over the barrier and walk right through the middle of the crowd, until his mic stops working and the set is shut down, his band on stage asking “please return Anderson to the front of the stage”.

“I know some of you weren’t paying attention before, but we’re called Formation. We’re your new favourite band,” Will Ritson tells the crowd at Latitude 30 midway through the UK electronic group’s set. He’s a right to be that confident – their performance is sublime, from the cowbell jam of ‘Hangin” to the funk grooves of ‘Love’ it’s a show that’s designed to make you move your feet and the promise of a debut album that sounds set to be the soundtrack to all the best parties this summer and beyond.