SXSW: The Best Of British (Part 1)
British music was at the forefront again at SXSW 2022. In the first of a two part feature, Thomas Jackson picks out the highlights of an incredibly strong showing.
Wet Leg perform at SXSW. Photo: Thomas Jackson
It was impossible to go anywhere in Austin and not hear the name Wet Leg. By far the most hyped act on the lineup (maybe with the exception of a certain Ms. Parton), the pressure was on. To their credit, Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale seemed completely unfazed. Hitting every stage they played with the sense of fun and playfulness for which they are known, they didn’t put a foot wrong all week. Full shows, delighted crowds and a lot of albums pre-ordered later, it’s safe to say Wet Leg won SXSW.
Yard Act might forever be known as ‘the other’ British breakout band of 2022. With a number two album, a growing legion of fans, and a healthy disregard for the machinations of the music industry, their star continues to rise. A confrontational set in the British Music Embassy early on set the scene for the rest of their week, and it was no surprise to see them leave Austin with the prestigious Grulke Prize, amid stiff competition.
WH Lung perform at SXSW. Photo: Thomas Jackson
WH Lung we’re the revelation of SXSW for me. Both of their British Music Embassy shows were a visceral experience. Their daytime show early in the festival achieved the rare feat of getting the crowd moving before 8pm, and their closing 1am show on the last night descended into barely controlled chaos as frontman Joe Evans traded places with what felt like half the crowd, who ended up filling the small BME stage whilst Evans held court atop a table in the middle of the room.
Ruth Lyon performs at SXSW. Photo: Thomas Jackson
Ruth Lyon is a busy lady! In between being frontwoman for Holy Moly and the Crackers, and a disability rights activist of some esteem, she’d be forgiven for enjoying a little downtime when her schedule allowed. Thats not Ruth’s style though. In those rare gaps, she’s carving a solo career which is getting her noticed. Both shows were a rousing, magical experience filled with depth, wit and of course tunes.
Moonchild Sanelly performs at SXSW 2022. Photo: Thomas Jackson
Trying to pigeonhole Moonchild Sanelly is a bit like trying to squeeze a grapefruit through a letterbox. You know it should be possible, but there’s no way you’re not destroying something in the process. Moon delivered a powerful, energising set to a packed Cedar Street Courtyard, and gained a whole new legion of fans. See this show live if you can.