The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday January 26th

Diversions

South By Spring Break: Day 1 Recap

For my first full day at SXSW, I had no idea what to do. Mixing up some day party dates meant that my first event of the day was Lemuria, which ended up being a happy accident.

Next stop was the Paste and Sennheiser Interactive lounge. The basic concept was to host artists for brief Q&As, but there was no PA system — instead, all attendees wore wireless Sennheiser headphones and had the audio pumped to them that way. Amanda Palmer, known for her “punk cabaret” style and recently notorious Kickstarter campaign, had just spoken by the time I arrived, and the crowd waited for Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen. He arrived late but his quick Q&A with Paste Magazine editor-in-chief Josh Jackson was as funny as it was interesting.

The afternoon offered me a good bit of down time, and after returning to downtown, I went back to the Mohawk to catch Night Beds and Torres. Night Beds’ gentle, dreamy air set sort of a calm-before-the-storm move, and the band’s cover of Mac DeMarco’s “My Kind of Woman” was an unexpected (and absolutely fantastic) treat. Immediately after came Torres. Her songs came off like Sharon Van Etten with a super-’tude, which could never be a bad thing.

From there, I went over to Central Presbyterian Church and caught a few minutes of Sean Rowe. Though the air-conditioned and seated break was welcome, the set itself was fairly lackluster and uninteresting. Thus, I set off again for something more exciting.

My next goal was to see some of Japandroids and Divine Fits at the Vice showcase next, but that plan was well-blocked by the massive lines outside. Even with a wristband, I waited for nearly an hour before leaving. Ultimately, a rookie mistake, but my heart went out to the kids who had RSVP’ed online with the hopes of getting in when it was clear that that wasn’t going to happen. Once that fell through, I met up with the fine folks of Churchkey Records. We talked local music and hung out for a while before parting.

After the mini-Durham meetup came Bastille at Latitude 30, who played the final set of Tuesday’s British Music Embassy showcase. The set was a fun high note to end the night on. In comparison to the upcoming days’ schedules, Tuesday was pretty lax. Here’s to hoping the next few nights will be at least somewhat manageable.

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The Daily Tar Heel for December 1, 2021

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