SXSW: Thousands of gigs later, festival is a wrap

March 24 05:53 2015

Over the last week here, more than 2,200 bands and artists performed more than 3,000 gigs in music halls, bars and even hotel lobbies. And that’s just the official number from South By Southwest. Unofficial performances throughout the city numbered in the hundreds more. While most of the acts were up-and-coming and lesser-known, big names such as Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus made surprise appearances. As the week came to an end, lingering rain showers dampened outdoor venues, too.

Nashville band Pujol rocked the late shift Saturday night at Red Eyed Fly taking the indoor stage at midnight. They broke out a rock version of Drunk in Love and new song Circle that suggested to the standing listeners that it may have “been a real bad day, but I can turn it around.”

South Korean punk rock godfathers No Brain were among the last performers inside the Austin Convention Center on Saturday. Lead singer Bulldaegal took seriously his job of inciting a sluggish 1 p.m. crowd telling them their first attempt at cheering didn’t match the band’s previous South By Southwest audiences.

Their furious set paid homage to the Ramones and the Clash with short, straight-ahead rock songs and a dalliance with reggae. Drummer Hyoonga took the microphone to sing a song devoted to soju, a Korean alcoholic beverage. A cover of Social Distortion’s Bad Luck broke down any language barriers.

Australian mood rockers The Church performed a short set Friday night at Buffalo Billiards, but apparently the logistics weren’t to singer Steve Kilbey’s liking. “We’re so pressed for time we have no time for my hilarious stage banter, so we are just going to press on with our songs,” he said. The set ended with a clamorous crescendo that felt as if the band was trying to make the room spontaneously combust.

After earlier appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which sets up residence here for a week during the festival, Brad Paisley played an energetic late-night set Monday in the Samsung Lounge. Kimmel took the stage with a harmonica to duet with Paisley on a cover of Huey Lewis and the News’ I Want A New Drug.