From outside, you might think that nothing special was going on at the Red Eyed Fly. With no lines at the door and just a small gathering of people inside, the event felt like SXSW’s best kept secret. Walking in the door, you were immediately greeted by the sounds of Avid Dancer as he entertained a small and relatively calm Red Eyed Fly audience. But the venue boasts two stages and outside, the atmosphere was quite different. Wolf Alice were hyping up a slightly larger and more energetic crowd. With plenty of hair flips from lead singer Ellie Roswell, Wolf Alice left the everyone wanting for more by the time they closed their too short set.
The Londoners then followed everyone inside for sivu’s set. He, and bandmate Lucy, calmed the scene down with their soothing sounds with tracks like “Sleep,” which was the first song he ever played in the US. Within no time, the crowd grew. He faced some minor difficulties on his third track as he pulled up his iPad, but sivu quickly saved face and pleased his audience by shifting gears and performing “Buddies” instead. He told the crowd, “You’re very kind. Even after the whole iPad thing,” as he launched into track “Family Tree.”
The performances only got better from there. Arthur Beatrice were next up on the outside stage. Lead singer Orlando Leopard’s voice quickly captivated the audience. There wasn’t a person who wasn’t swaying along with them.
Tove Lo and Jungle hit their respective stages at about the same time. The Swedish Tove Lo told everyone, “I’m drunk. I hope you are too,” as someone handed her a PBR. After she performed “Not on Drugs” she pleased the awaiting crowd with her hit “Habits.” As she sang the lines, “It doesn’t make me nervous,” she smiled, sensing the irony.
Following a very crowded Jungle set, Tokyo Police Club finally took the stage. The band closed out the outdoor portion to a packed crowd of eager fans. For the first time that day, people were up against the edge of the stage. And lead singer David Monks was so genuinely excited to play for the packed house. Before heading into “Argentina,” he exclaimed, “We’re gonna play a rock show for you!” Due to some technical difficulties that prevented them from starting on time, the Tokyo Police Club set felt a little rushed. They capped off an amazing day of music with “Wait Up (Boots of Danger).”