Urban Nigths

The Best Of SXSW 24

The Best Of SXSW 24

With each passing year, the existence of a space like SXSW becomes more necessary. A place where all nationalities, races and genders come together to create a poem of progress, respect and cooperation.

The festival is a song to the union of people in pursuit of peace, freedom and the creation of a better world. The messages we have heard for nine days present us with a much more optimistic picture than is usual in these times. In them, we have seen the light in the world that hate usually obscures and we have contemplated the tomorrow of creativity, music, cinema and humanity itself. A representation as gigantic as the human being himself that we have summarized in key moments and sounds of a fabled SXSW to remember.

Two Nights With The Black Keys

SXSW creates unique moments that wouldn’t happen at any other festival. Spending two nights in a row with the Black Keys is already an unmatched luxury, but doing it the way they did is simply indescribable. The first of our dates with the guys from Ohio was the most special without a doubt. The environment helped tremendously. Mohawk is a magical place, small, very southern and picturesque.


It seems impossible to think that some brilliant music stars were going to walk in its tiny patio, but that is the magic of SXSW. At Mohawk, we found the bluesiest Black Keys and that deep-rooted album, the Delta Kream of 2021. Their songs by RL Burnside, John Lee Hooker and Junior Kimbrough closed a blues night experienced in a Irresistible intimacy. The next night we met the talent scattered across their Easy Eye Sound label and the most recognizable Black Keys in their greatest hits and in an exclusive preview of the new songs that will make up their next This Is Nowhere. Their parade of hits that have redefined rock in the last two decades resounded in the beautiful Stubb’s and left us wanting more. Privileges that can only be experienced at SXSW.

Besides the two concerts offered, Dan and Patrick gave us a fascinating keynote in which they reviewed their life, which has been the subject of a documentary presented at the festival.

Chatting With The Stars

Like every year, the festival’s Keynotes bring us closer to relevant people from any field who enlighten us with their knowledge and experiences. During these days we have experienced sessions as edifying as the one carried out by Selena Gómez in the company of Solomon Thomas, Dr. Corey Yeager, Mandy Teefey and the psychologist Jessica Stern. The talk ended up leading to a therapeutic session that delved into our well-being and the need to accept ourselves on and off social media.


Another much-needed conversation occurred between women who have also faced the hate directed at them in different media and platforms, such as Brooke Shields and Meghan Markle. We spent International Women’s Day with them. Another leading woman is Jane Fonda, who claimed the need for activism in the modern era.

The stars of the film festival also offer us the opportunity to get to know them in depth with conversations where we discover hidden facets behind the spotlights of the productions and the stereotypes of the press. A clear example was the keynote of Sydney Sweeney, who spoke of the need to wisely manage each actor’s personal brand and analyzed her intricate role as a young producer of Immaculate, a film premiered at the festival and in which she stars and produces. The Civil War team with Alex Garland, Kisten Dunst and Wagner Moura also helped us learn the ins and outs of a production that premiered at SXSW.

Dev Patel, Daniel Kwan, the brilliant Bootsy Collins, Justice, Dwyne Wade, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Trevor Noah and actress Hunter Shafer were other celebrities who sat down with the festival’s enthusiastic audience to share their vision of the world and their work.

Blessed SXSW Madness

Throughout the days of the festival you talk to many people and hear endless things. When a band’s name is the only thing you hear, it usually becomes the absolute revolution of the music festival. That’s what the case with Fat Dog. This unclassifiable band from London has taken SXSW by storm in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. Their explosive concerts mix rock, pop, sax and a lot of charisma to generate absolute chaos. At certain moments they seem more like a cult playing with the minds of the audience than a regular band. In Austin, they were really active but they didn’t lower the bar of energy at any live show, much less at Vegas Hotel where we watched a pop prophet emerge as the craziest and coolest band at SXSW.

Punk Is The Genre On The Rise


SXSW has the virtue of anticipating the future. This year anticiped the rise of punk. People look for a refuge in the contained rage of punk in dark and unstable times like the present. It is not surprising that punk was the musical language used by bands as powerful as Die Spitz, from Austin with a lot of love and rage. The Oxys are also a good example of an Austin scene that is falling in love with more European punk. But throughout the world we have encountered the brilliant Tokyo Syoki Syodo and the Taiwanese Fire Ex.

Although nothing is more paradigmatic than the live anthology offered by Ho99o9, who from their local Newark brought the most aggressive and pure punk to create one of the most brutal symbiosis between artist and public seen during this SXSW. Punk is a trend more than ever.

An Award To Motherhood

The jury did not hesitate to reward Maria Rodríguez Soto’s incredible performance in MamÍfera. The Spanish film directed by Liliana Torres is a spectacular exploration of motherhood and the women who exercise it. María’s well-deserved award is an allegation of the difficulties that a 40-year-old mother and any mother goes through in the face of social expectations and pressures from her partners. This intimate gaze projects us against the mirror and is a necessary hymn to motherhood and the freedom of women to exercise it or not.

SXSW Highlight The Latin Power

It is not surprising since some of the most important artists at the festival are Latino. It is an unstoppable cultural phenomenon in the United States and around the world. This year the Latin presence has been varied and has made big headlines throughout the world. Peso Pluma, Young Miko and Cristian Nodal have generated an unusual expectation. The Peso Pluma showcase brought together thousands of fans inside the Moody Theater and caused thousands of fans to wait without luck and tickets outside the venue since 12am. The three have been the visible face but Bodine, La Gallo 3:20, Hinds, Vallejo, The Cumbia Movement and La Reyna Tropical have put Latin flavor and accent to a vibrant edition of SXSW.

A Piece Of Malasaña In Austin


Hinds are one of the bands that have best understood SXSW and Austin throughout their career. Their audacity, the fun they bring to each concert and their garage vibe are always welcome in this city, but the fact that they have repeated more than a dozen SXSWs and in each of them they perform at no less than 15 gigs, it has helped them to have an important fan base at the festival and to become one of its sensations year after year. This year they appeared with a new drummer and bass accompanying Carlota and Ana after overcoming endless vicissitudes: Pandemic, manager abandonment, breakup of the band… But there they were one more year bringing the rebellious and festive spirit of Malasaña to Austin. Without a doubt, the traditional queens of SXSW.

The Bachata That SXSW Fell In Love With

We were talking about the Latin accent at the music festival but a lot of Spanish has been spoken at the Film Festival as well. Apart from the jury prize justly awarded to María for Mamifera, Biónico’s Bachata well deserved an Audience Award. It is not surprising that it was one of the best rated by the public. This Dominican wonder is a kind of crazy Trainspotting that follows in the footsteps of Bionico as a mockumentary.

Bionic is a junkie who exudes charm and charisma whose heart has become trapped in heroin and a woman who is in a rehabilitation center. Her path leads him to be a better person but also to live crazy adventures related to the heroin. A delicious film full of hilarity that portrays the darkest recesses of the street, not only in the Dominican Republic but in any part of the planet. The work of Yoel Morales starring Manuel Raposo, Ana Minier and El Napo is brilliant.

Classics Never Die At SXSW


It has become a recurring section in our recaps of each SXSW. Every year, the festival reunites us with music legends such as Bootsy Collins or Slim Jim Phantom. The Ohio artist is essential to understand funk and subsequent rap thanks to his involvement in Parliament and his own extensive career. His foundation Funk, Not Fight seeks to solve social conflicts through dance, as he defended in his interesting keynote and on the community stage by the lake, where he offered a brutally fun concert in the company of a band sponsored by him, the brilliant Zapp. He also performed another concert during the week where he delved into his extensive musical legacy. Funk will never die as long as Bootsy keeps putting on the boots.

Another of the great myths that we have encountered in Austin is the legendary Stray Cats drummer, Slim Jim Phantom. At the Continental he gave a rock recital that took us into the golden era of Rockabilly with a unique charisma. The best possible ending to a legendary festival.

The Premiere That Everyone Is Talking About

Civil War is without a doubt the movie of the moment. Both its director and the star cast of the A24 production walked through Austin in an entertaining keynote and a fascinating world premiere in which Alex Garland, Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura revealed the ins and outs of a hypnotic work. The narrative focuses on horror of a civil conflict rather than politics and is an ode to journalism, a profession that Wagner Moura himself practiced, according to what he revealed in a packed and passionate Paramount Theater in Austin.

The film offers a dystopian adventure that goes through a society that is fading with spectacular sound effects, innovative cameras that give a unique stamp to the action scenes and an exquisite soundtrack in addition to excellent chemistry between the protagonists. Do not miss it.

Shower Of Stars And Premieres

A plethora of star-studded premieres in Austin and a luxurious edition of the SXSW Film Festival. To begin with the actor of the moment, Ryan Gosling, appearing in the company of Emily Blunt on a pickup truck to stroll down Congress Avenue before presenting his new film The Fall Guy, a thriller that combines action, humor and romance. Shortly before, Nicolas Cage himself had walked the festival’s red carpet, whose Arcadian we were able to enjoy as good lovers of the most irreverent B movies.

Other characters that made a huge noise were the endearing stoners Cheech & Chong who appeared in a car carrying a giant joint. It has been a year of great music documentaries led by How Music got free, about the rise of music piracy, and the biographies of Bon Jovi and the Black Keys but also a year where documentaries like An Army of Women, the brilliant My Sextortion Diary by the Catalan Patricia Franquesa or 7 beats per minute have analyzed such transcendent topics as discrimination, sexual violence and near-death experiences.

The shower of stars has not stopped with Dev Patel and his fast-paced action film Monkey Man. The romantic comedy based on an authentic romance between an adult woman and a member of One Direction stars Anne Hathaway who, as always, dazzled in Austin and elevated a film that has raised great expectations. Although the one who created the most chaos around the theater was Road House. A crowd of fans gathered to see up close Connor McGregor, Post Malone and Jake Gyllenhaal who star in this action film set in the underworld of Florida and the UFC. Far from these street environments is the religious terror of the film Immaculate, produced and starring Sydney Sweeney. Y2K, a delicious nerd comedy set on New Year’s Eve of ’99 that plays with the effects of the Y2K effect and the clichés of disaster movies. And, of course, Civil War.

Civil War

Among the series, without a doubt the most notable has been the Netflix production, 3 body problem.

One Night In Tokyo


Tokyo theme nights are one of the highlights of the festival every year. The Elysium becomes a ship to a distant time and place. The bands loaded with a lot of talent take us to the exuberance of the Tokyo scene. During these nights you understand everything and understand nothing at the same time. That’s the culture shock you get. It is fascinating. A delight for any music lover and a much-needed cultural transfer. Anything can happen in these radiant nights from the calm pop of Halley to the transgressive and wild punk of Tokyo Syoku Syodo, passing through the avant-garde of the brilliant Chameleon Lime Whoopiepie and the charm of Chiaki Mayumura. Counting down the days for a new tour of SXSW Tokyo.

Some Well-Deserved Awards

Apart from the aforementioned Mamífera and Bionico’s Bachata, the festival has distributed justice by awarding more than interesting films. The public has voted for such dazzling productions as the drama starring John Leguizamo Bob Trevino Likes It, the black humor of My Dead Friend Zoe, with Ed Harris, or Resynator.

Monkey Man, Clemente, Oddity and Songs from the hole stand out among the rest of the audience awards. As for the jury, Bob Trevino Likes it repeats in her category, the good work of Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu is rewarded in her heartbreaking We Were Dangerous and our Maria Rodríguez Soto is awarded for her memorable performance in Mamiera. In the documentary section, the innovative Grand Theft Hamlet took the award and the brave We Can Be Heroes a well-deserved special mention.

Welcome To The Future

The Interactive festival has led us to the non-stop future with large installations and interactive experiences in which we have discovered new approaches.to technology, cinema or music. An immersive experience helped us discover Aimi, an AI that promises to create songs and visuals from prompts with astonishing simplicity. We also immersed ourselves in the world of Fallout in a fascinating installation where we became inhabitants of the Wastelands to better understand both the video game and the series that Amazon will launch next month based on it.

The experiences that Paramount+ designed to present us with its best series and highlights of its programming were also very fun. Audible invited us to a traveling fair and gave us back the magic of surprising us. Barbecues with Techno music, country parties washed down with La Croix water, an evil confessional to make us feel part of The First Omen, the next prequel to The Prophecy, toasting surrounded by sumptuous Porsches or discovering the flavors of Tennessee are some of the top experiences that we enjoyed the days that the Interactive Festival lasted. Although, the sophisticated cuisine and sumptuous cocktails of the elegant lounge that Delta airline installed in an elegant location in the Texas capital became our best memory of those busy days.

The Songs Of Europe At SXSW

Europe is always very present in Austin these days. If in doubt, always go to the British musical embassy, I usually say to anyone who is happy to listen to my advice. There you will always find the latest voices and faces of a scene as radiant as that of the British islands. This year, BBC gave us a beautiful venue with two stages and great artists like Angélica García, Coach Party, Hot Wax, Divorce, Chartreuse, Dream Nails, Fat Dog or Ash. Beyond the United Kingdom, Europe has been very well represented by Desire, Orion, the Germans Minimal Schlager, Hinds, the legendary Slim Jim Phantom, the Italians Danxgerous or the Icelandic Axel Flovent.

A Mysterious DJ


You should always expect the unexpected at SXSW. Any unforeseen surprise can arise at any time. That’s why we always recommend staying connected to the festival app and social media. This way you find out about events as memorable as the party organized by the Pourri bathroom freshener brand. It honored funk in a somewhat mysterious way. Using pseudonyms they announced the session of a great DJ who promised fun and good taste. Behind this mysterious DJ was Janelle Monae herself, who had a great session and had another myth like DJ Questlove as the opening act. SXSW is a constant discovery.

See you next year SXSW! For more stories and urban adventures visit Urban Moon.

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