SXSW 2017: Day 3

17 Mar 2017

More music from day 3 of SXSW 2017

Thursday. Good morning, Texas. We must admit we are a little hazy starting Day Three as the Texan sun beats down on us, but we shake it off with some pop promise - Billie Eilish is a future star in the mould of a Mø, with a radio smash in the making with 'Ocean Eyes'. We follow up with the most bonkers act we see so far - Sofi Tukker - a New York duo that mixes Europop with Sleigh Bells-style guitars and pumping beats. They win the award also for most odd stage set - a palm tree covered with different coloured drum pads, which they proceed to whack and dance around. The venue is packed and everyone is going crazy at about 1pm.

We counter this back-to-back lunchtime delight with a double dose of properly exhilarating punk. Downtown Boys are pure fire and power - a whirlwind of DIY guitar-party chaos. Priests, though, are a bonafide band for our times. Hailing from Washington DC they are a political beast of rock and roll energy, but one that smiles whilst they blast riffs, taut funk and hardcore power. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer is a true star, wearing her Rihanna (with a middle-finger-up) T-shirt, you can't keep your eyes off her... these are the types of US rock bands we need right now.

Over at the Pitchfork party, Vagabon has tough technical issues to contend with, but even that can't disguise the impact of her understated but deeply sensitive and alluring songwriting. Kweku Collins is a raw but sunshine-filled hip hop talent, and Jamilia Woods' soul revue show is pleasant but not quite powerful enough. Conversely, we later catch Durand Jones - a real deal soul powerhouse. From Bloomington, Indiana, he feels a Charles Bradley-type soul star in waiting, boasting pure vocal talent.

Hometown heroes White Denim thrill at the Fader Fort, and we catch snippets of Cherry Glazerr and Italian art-pop trio Birthh who intrigue, before we head on to the official showcase from our sister label Transgressive, as we do our best to make Texas ours for the night. Alt-blues and samples raconteur Odetta Hartman is an act that SXSW is made for; we can safely expect to see her go from big to bigger in the next couple of years. Blaenavon play their fourth set of the day, following a 36-hour nightmare journey that boasted New York blizzard re-routing and a layover in Atlanta. They are wild, loose and thrilling, throwing themselves and their guitars around, rock gods ready to rule. Marika Hackman backed by the Big Moon is again a grungey delight, Partybaby and Hippo Campus bring the fun to a packed room, and Let's Eat Grandma close out night 3 in style.

Back on the bicycle home, before we do it all again.

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