SXSW 2024: The Live Music Capital of the World Lives Up to Its Name

See You at SXSW, 2024!
See You at SXSW, 2024!
Austin-based Atwood writer Marissa DeLeon recaps her most memorable SXSW 2024 sets of the week – almost entirely unofficial showcases – including Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys, Redbud, Akira Galaxy, & Tokyo Syoki Syodo!

South by Southwest has officially come and gone in Austin, Texas.

The annual conference plus film, TV, and music festival was all rolled into nine days of absolute chaos… sorry, I mean absolute fun. Every bar, coffee shop, bookstore, street corner and a few square inches of free space converted into a venue for the week-long music portion of SXSW.

Artists began dropping their official showcases and opting for unofficial shows in response to SXSW’s sponsorship from the U.S. Army as well as the presence of an Israel weapons supplier amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. SXSW did not respond to Atwood Magazine’s request for comment. Instead, a series of statements was issued via X on the situation.

Austin-based Atwood writer Marissa DeLeon recaps her most memorable sets of the week – almost entirely unofficial showcases.

Tokyo Syoki Syodo performing in Austin © Marissa DeLeon
Tokyo Syoki Syodo performing in Austin © Marissa DeLeon

Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys Navigate an Avant-Garde Soundscape

With an ever so intriguing and growing intensity Lucy Kruger stares right through you… no… right into you. Experimental rock meets avant-garde singer-songwriter as Kruger vocalizes her thoughts with eye-contact so focused you wonder if she’s performing for you and you alone. A step into the audience amplifies the intimacy as she vigorously repeats with a still locked-on gaze, “I’m on the fence / And I wanna screaaam / you’re beautiful / I wanna be useful.”

Screeching yet enticing riffs heave the sonically charged addiction even further. Guitarist Liú Mottes quickly moves up towards the neck of her Telecaster and back down the fretboard as she strums and plucks strings with an exhilarating, reinvigorating technique. With only the two women on stage delivering a captivating performance, one can imagine that the company of the full Berlin-based Lost Boy crew carries an even more magnetizing experience – one that I desperately long to see.

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Redbud Brings Upside-Down Sounds to Marshall Funhouse

Funky, upside-down sounds float down from stage to crowd as Austin-based band Redbud delightfully entrances the crowd at the Marshall Funhouse. Straying from their typical four-piece lineup the trio proves just as intoxicating as ever (even in comparison to their fully-formed six-piece lineup just the day prior). They smoothly sway along as perfectly fitting, colorful, trippy visuals project overhead. Frontperson Katie Claghorn moves and grooves all while playing warped, wavy riffs and mesmerizing the audience with her hypnotic vocals that seemingly transcend language itself.

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Akira Galaxy: Budding Rock Star or Undiscovered Pop Star?

In the cool and breezy air, the stars aligned for Seattle native Akira Galaxy on the final night of music festivities. The 24-year-old sings with a low, smoky voice that sounds beyond her years and performs with an entrancing musical style and stage presence that feels even more so before her time. With a shining, shimmering, silver guitar in hand it’s as if she’s allowed her body to act as a conduit for the soul of a female rocker circa the 1980s. Wind blows through her hair as she slowly bends backwards over herself, continuing to feel the music as it runs deeply through her veins. She seamlessly teleports you to a new age – a sonic paradox with the sense of reverting to the past and still being catapulted to the future.

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Tokyo Syoki Syodo Deliver Punk Rock Passion

Bruises, sweat, spit and maybe even a kiss – just a few souvenirs that fans left with after the four women of Tokyo Syoki Syodo conquered the stage at Elysium on the very first night of official music festivities. The midnight set was quick to wake anybody nodding off as their frontwoman immediately dove into the crowd just seconds into the very first track. The vivacious energy lasted throughout the night as she began to crowd surf after what seemed like every few minutes – admittedly, I lost count after the eighth time. Moshing ensued as the crowd fed off the vigorous punk rock energy from the stage as the women continued to run, jump and sing in Japanese.

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A Love Letter to the Locals

You can’t go to a music festival held at the Live Music Capital of the World and not support the local talent – who do you think you are? Greg Abbott? – and aside from the already-listed locals Redbud, standouts from the Austin music scene were far from limited.

BRUCE, aka the musical stylings and inner workings of Carrie Fussell’s mindscape, knocked typical indie-rock askew with her quirky, unique approach tiptoeing into performance art. With only a keyboardist accompanying her, Tameca Jones didn’t need anything but her voice as she showed off her skills of R&B infused soul-pop – all hail Austin’s own Queen of Soul. Dressed in all white, Andrew Cashen and the Disciples of Creation appeared before the growing audience with tunes evoking a classic rock feel, successfully converting the crowd into loyal followers of their new cult leader before them.

Stay tuned for more to come over the following weeks as we roll out more highlights, reviews, and interviews from SXSW 2024!

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