SXSW Shorts: Haim, Bear Mountain, Billy Joe Shaver Light Up Tuesday

So many bands. So little time. Billboard is roaming Austin this week, checking out as many acts at SXSW as possible -- and each day we'll highlight a handful of our favorites. On Tuesday night we caught Haim, Action Bronson, Bear Mountain (pictured), Shugo Tokumaru among others.

(Meanwhile, we've teamed up with MusicMetric to give readers a real-time view of which SXSW artists people are talking about on Twitter. Check out the list here.)

Sister Act // Haim @ Rocnation's Raptor House
With a J. Cole-including VIP crowd in attendance and a second gig creeping up on them, Los Angeles’ Haim triumphed over set delays and an apparent keyboard breakdown at Rocnation’s tucked-away Raptor House on Tuesday night. Playing the tracks without keys—which meant no "Don’t Save Me," or the group’s other recent singles—they turned to new material and guitar heroics, with Danielle Haim, hat and all, tearing into bluesy solos like a mini-Slash. The brief but raucous set was enough for J. Cole, who approached the group before they made a dash for their looming VEVO stage performance. (David Greenwald / Twitter)

SXSW 2013: Photo Highlights From Austin


A Lot More Action // Action Bronson @ Warner Sound
When Action Bronson took the Nikon Warner Sound stage last night wearing a bright yellow ski cap, it was to a crowd of fans bubbling over with anticipation for headliner Macklemore. But that didn't stop Bronsolini from completely taking over the stage -- and the crowd -- with his traveling show. And I do mean traveling -- after delivering his verse on A$AP Rocky's zeitgeist-y "1Train," he traveled out into the audience, not stopping at the first few rows but delving deeper and deeper, climbing the Belmont's VIP stairs while running through hits like "The Symbol" from his latest mixtape Rare Chandeliers and, finally, disappearing into the depths of the venue with only his voice left to demand the next song. The crowd, twisting and turning to try and keep up with Bam Bam Baklava (just one of his many hilarious nicknames), certainly didn't expect that. (Dan Rys / Twitter)

Looking Up // Bear Mountain @ Hype Hotel
Imagine a buffer version of the Postal Service and you'll have some idea of what Bear Mountain is about. This Vancouver dance pop trio caused a minor sensation at a Hype Hotel party on Tuesday, kicking off the music portion of the huge multi-media festival. Their plaintive vocals meant that their macho factor wasn't too over-ridden by the heavy beats but the yearning way they projected their sound meant that they were seriously aiming for big venues to be playing at in the near future. The fact that they could catch so much attention while freebies like masseuses, burritos and video booths were offered to the crowd says something about the potential and staying power of their music. (Jason Gross / Twitter)

Texas Forever // Billy Joe Shaver @ BMI's Howdy Texas Party, Stubb's
If this year’s South By Southwest Music + Media Conference is more about mega-branding and multi-platinum superstars than ever, a dose of real Texas music was just the thing to get things started. Billy Joe Shaver, whose ancestry includes one of the state’s founding fathers,  sang all about the "Heart of Texas" at BMI’s Howdy Texas party on Tuesday at Stubb’s, blending shuffles, blues and ballads into a 40-minute welcome that was a perfect fit with the barbeque and beer. The 73-year-old Shaver and his three-piece band worked through favorites such as "Honky Tonk Heroes," "Ride Me Down Easy,"  "Live Forever" and "What She Did Last Night," peppering the 11-song set with reminiscenses and commentary, even nothing that he doesn’t play much anymore because of screws in his shoulder. "I’m getting’ screwed all the time," he cracked – but that certainly wasn’t the way the crowd at Stubb’s felt on Tuesday. (Gary Graff / Twitter)

Japanese Indie Vet Packs the Patio // Shugo Tokumaru @ Red 7
Tuesday afternoon's music attendance may have been off to a light start thanks to travel and festival transitioning, but that wasn't the case for Shugo Tokumaru. The musician's Red 7 set packed up the venue's patio, a feat notable acts Alex Bleeker and the Freaks (a Real Estate side-project) and Fol Chen hadn't quite accomplished in the previous hours. Like a Japanese Sondre Lerche, the musician and his two-piece backing band played melodically magnetic, guitar-driven pop drawn largely from 2010's superb "Port Entropy," his fourth album, throwing in a cover of "Video Killed the Radio Star" -- his set's lone English-language song. None of his enthusiasm, or the crowd's, was lost in translation. (DG)

Fresh and So… // Rockie Fresh @ Warner Sound
Although it's Rockie Fresh's fourth year at South by Southwest, this year it's a little different: The 21-year old rapper arrives at 2013 SXSW as a major-label signee having signed to Rick Ross' Warner Music label imprint, Maybach Music Group in July. The rapper took the stage at the Nikon Warner Sound showcase close to 10:30 pm, following an all-pop line-up (Charlie XCX, Icona Pop, Blondfire). Fist-pumping quickly turned to head-bombing as soon as Rockie Fresh' spit rhymes of his lifestyle transition with songs from his recent mixtape, "Electric Highway." Unfortunately, the Bawse, didn't make an appearance, as many in attendance had crossed their fingers for. (Erika Ramirez / Twitter)