SXSW 2023 Recap – Monday

It was a "Blue Monday" to start South-by-Southwest 2023....
New Order

After having to cancel in both 2020 (one of the first things to do so) and 2021, South-by-Southwest thankfully returned to Austin last year (QRO recap), but it was a decidedly smaller affair. And if it didn’t reach the ‘Drake & Lady Gaga’ ridiculous heights of the last decade, SXSW ’23 was bigger & better than the year before, with more acts, more sponsors, more places, and more drink tickets, Monday-Saturday, March 13th-18th.

Monday at SXSW is always a bit strange, Interactive winding down & Music winding up, people flying in & flying out. The event are usually a grab-bag – you might get one more well-sponsored Interactive shindig, or there might be very little music. Plus, the music fans there probably arrived that day [like your correspondent], so jet lag is always an issue (and the clocks had sprung forward only the day before).

Music Tech Mashup party @ Empire

Kosha Dillz

Kosha Dillz

One reliable event for SXSW Monday has been the Music Tech Mashup at Empire Garage & Control Room, and the open RSVP event had two stages of music and even some free food (if you were willing to wait). So, whether you just arrived or were just about to leave, it was neat to see the likes of Kosha Dillz throw down rhymes (and note his girlfriend’s comparison between the Homer Simpson on his t-shirt and him wearing a yarmulke).

Beyond the Music showcase @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater

New Order

New Order

But the obvious big event on SXSW Monday (and the festival as a whole) was New Order playing the famed & classy ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Of course, there was a big line to enter at 310 Willie Nelson Blvd., snaking in front of the statue of the red-headed stranger, with the Interactive folks stuck in their own line on the other side of the street – likely never got in, as the in-attendance fire marshal declared the place at capacity [your correspondent only got in as they were playing their first song, and only found a spare seat in a folding chair at the top of the second balcony…]

And of course, New Order went big, particularly with their long-acclaimed light show that fit well in the high-tech space. The set from the band spanned their career, but the biggest cheers were naturally for iconic eighties songs such as “Bizarre Love Triangle” and yes, “Blue Monday” – plus an encore that included two from Order’s Stephen Morris & Bernard Sumner’s first band, the tragic & iconic Joy Division, “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (the latter ending the evening with a slow zoom in on a picture of Joy Division’s late, lamented singer Ian Curtis).

New Order

Unfortunately missed:

~ Some Interactive event @ Banger’s because Terry Crews was there.

~ Paramount Plus ‘Speakeasy’ event @ Clive Bar because there were bars themed like Star Trek Picard and even Beavis & Butthead.

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