The Tiniest Bar in Texas hosted the first day of their free music showcase, Best Lil Big Fest in Texas, on March 16 at their intimate outdoor patio. Festival goers and band members alike cracked open beers and mingled on the picnic tables between sets. Throughout the day up-and-coming artists took the stage at the top of every hour. One band, in particular, has been making their presence known at South By Southwest with multiple performances throughout the week.
This Israeli indie pop band captivated its audience with its dreamy tunes and warm harmonies. The intimate nature of the venue created a relaxed atmosphere for an acoustic version of their set list.
Gil Landau (keyboard, guitar) and Yael Shoshana Cohen (vocals) formed as a duo in 2013 and brought on three additional band members 18 months later. The band’s second single “You’re Mine” was released in May 2015 and quickly rose through the charts with over eight million plays on Spotify and making the service’s top three Most Viral Tracks.
Throughout their set, Lola Marsh talked amongst themselves in Hebrew, sharing bits of their native tongue with the audience. Because of the small nature of the venue, Yael invited concertgoers to stand up and come closer to the stage so everyone could vibe together.
Towards the end of their set, they played the popular brisk, whistled tune “Wishing Girl” from their latest album Remember Roses released in June 2017. To close out the set, Lola Marsh tapped into some Texas culture and performed a cover of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin”. Before leaving the stage, Cohen said her first time at SXSW has been a”crazy, hectic wonderful adventure”.
Later in the evening, M&M’s Sound + Color showcase at the Lustre Pearl had festivals goers lined up all around the venue on Rainey Street. For those lucky enough to gain entrance, booths representing each color of M&M candies greeted eager attendees with personal-sized bags of caramel M&M’s and cozy spaces to lounge. An M&M candy bar was set up in the downstairs lounge where attendees could make their own mix of M&M flavors before heading outside to the concert stage. The evening’s performances were from beloved artists who have each played at SXSW before.
R&B singer-songwriter R.LUM.R was deemed “An Artist You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone magazine. His beautiful falsetto and powerful ballads got concertgoers grooving to his smooth, sexy beats.
His undeniable warmth shone through as the artist posted on Instagram earlier in the day stating, “last year I waited for over an hour in a line to get to see Sylvan Esso at SXSW and have since seen them 4 times. This year, I share the stage with them. Never give up, y’all.”
The goofy, fun-loving performer ended his set with his most popular song “Frustrated“. Fans waved their arms in the air along with the beat as R.LUM.R passionately sang his heart out.
Billie walked onto stage performing her hit song “Belly Ache” and was met by a sea of voices singing along. Her debut single “Ocean Eyes” was released in November 2016 and went viral, reaching over 35 million views on Spotify to-date. Her debut album Don’t Smile At Me was released in August 2017 and rose to popularity organically because of her soft, airy voice brings mellow vibes.
This American singer-songwriter crafts most of her songs with her brother, or as she calls her “partner in crime”, Finneas O’Connell (guitar, keyboard). On stage the brother and sister team up in synchronized dance. The quirky pair dropped the beat hard in their closing song “COPYCAT“, jumping and jamming all across the stage, the perfect lead up to the following performer.
Amelia Meath (singer) and Nick Sanborn (producer), known together as Sylvan Esso, are an indie electro-pop duo from Durham, North Carolina. Many of their songs are lined with sensuality and relate to emotions of suffering and love or darkness and deliverance.
Prancing across the stage, gliding effortlessly across the stage in her four inch platform sneakers she kept the crowd captivated throughout the evening playing a number of her most popular hits. Midway through the set, she made the crowd laugh when she said “I threw up on sixth street… at 11 a.m.!”, crediting the incident to food poisoning and pushing through to continue with the show.
When playing “Hey Mami“, a perfect live loop of the vocals in the introduction was made to play throughout the song. Their latest single “PARAD(w/m)E” was released in January 2018 and the crowd was already able to sing along to the fun, up-beat tune. Closing out the night with the hype song “Radio“, Sylvan Esso slayed to their own beat.