SXSW 2022 Recap: Day 3

Day 3 of SXSW brought even more excitement and another fantastic round of artist showcases!

Tamil-Swiss singer-songwriter Priya Ragu brought a unique blend of pop, hip hop, R&B with influences from South Asia. She and her band played an incredibly groovy and fun set for the crowd at Cheer Up Charlie’s as part of the Winspear/Pond showcase.

Following Priya Ragu, Brooklyn’s Water From Your Eyes played an amazing set on the strength of last year’s critically acclaimed album, Structure. Showcasing their trademark electro-pop meets dance punk sound, the band’s noisy production accented shuffling dance grooves, occasionally interspersed with more acoustic sounding numbers, with vocalist Rachel Brown’s tying everything together.

Right next door, Mohawk hosted a showcase featuring all four artists currently signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ new label, Saddest Factory Records. Charlie Hickey performed first, presenting a style of honest, human songwriting not unlike that of Bridgers herself. At the end of Hickey’s set, Phoebe made an appearance on stage to perform a duet, a gesture she repeated with every other artist on the bill. 

Opening with a small orchestral ensemble and touching upon notes of rock, punk, and folk, Sloppy Jane’s set was perhaps the most dynamic performance of the night. Frontwoman Haley Dahl underwent multiple costume changes throughout the set, and her physical appearance often accented the particular song the band was performing. Phoebe Bridgers, who was the band’s original bassist, once again made an appearance on stage during the punk rock number “Where’s My Wife.”

Bedroom pop artist Claud, who signed to Saddest Factory last year after having self-released their first three EPs, flexed their songwriting capabilities as the penultimate performance of the showcase, presenting tracks from last year’s debut studio album Super Monster

The final set of the night came from MUNA, an electronic/country/pop band that have been generating quite a bit of buzz since their signing to Saddest Factory. With a third album due out on the label in June of this year, the band played an energetic and engaging set which featured the best cuts from their first two albums as well as several unreleased tracks from the new record. Phoebe appeared on stage one final time at the end of the set, this time to perform her verse on their collaborative track “Silk Chiffon.”

After MUNA had left the stage, the karaoke that was originally promised at the end of the night was tragically cut short by the venue’s 2 AM closing time. With time for only one song, the crowd was invited to join Phoebe and several of the remaining artists in a rousing rendition of My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade.” It was an incredible night for the audience and the entire Saddest Factory crew, and one of the strongest showcases of the festival so far.