Portland’s Animal Farm played an afternoon show — one of several performances they had over the week — at the Texas Rockfest, a free event set up in a parking lot just off the main drag. It was a well run — two stages meant there was very little downtime between bands — if slightly odd space, home also to a handful of seemingly miscellaneous booths (one of which boasted a giant banner reading I [HEART] VAGINA).
One in the afternoon can be a rough time to go on under any circumstances, but perhaps even more so here, where shows run until 2 am and then start back up again with day parties (often with free beer) at 11 am. But despite a lackluster audience, Animal Farm put on a determined and energetic show. I’ve got a lot of respect for performers who play to a small crowd with the same level of commitment you’d expect them to bring to a larger, fuller venue, and these guys — with their smart beats, clever wordplay and abundance of enthusiasm — definitely pulled that off.
(Note: I’m labeling the unofficial, non-booked-by-SXSW day shows SXSW just like the official evening shows; they may not be part of the festival, but to the music fan in Austin for the weekend, it’s pretty much all just part of the South By experience.)