The SXSW Music festival doesn't really get going until Tueday night, out if you get to Austin early - or stick around as Interactive and Film start to wind down - you can get a head start on checking bands off your list.
On Monday afternoon, as I rode my bike down the busy stretch of Red River street where a drunk driver struch a crowd waiting in line to see Tyler the Creator last year and killed four people, I noted a couple of round the block lines forming for nighttime showcases. 
One was for Austin band Spoon playing a F--- Yeah Tumblr showcase at the Mohawk, and the other was for an Onion A.V.Club party at Red 7 that featured punkish Toronto three piece band Metz and - the one I was really after - ace Australian rock songwriter Courtney Barnett. 
Getting in turned out to be a bit of an ordeal, in part becasue with not that many shows happening and plenty of music fans around, supply did not meet demand. But it also turned out the Elijah Wood - Frodo of the Lord of the Rings movies - was DJing inside Red 7, which brought out the crowds in numbers. Not many could tell you what an Elijah Wood DJ set would sound like, but lots of people were curious to know. Which is one of the annoying things about SXSW these days. Celebrity trumps all.
Still, after an hour or so in line meeting some interesting people - college students from San Antonio upset that the Eagles got Demarco Murray, a cable TV content providers from Brooklyn, a guy named Dave who heads to SX from Miami every year to keep the party going - the line started moving, and our patience paid off.  
Metz were worth the wait. The band consisting of singer Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach and  drummer Hayden Menzies whose second album, the approprately titled Metz II, is due in May, delivered a furiously focused barrage of muscular heavy rock with impressive dynamics. The band has six more shows coming this week at SXSW, and they'll be at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on May 29.

I'm not going to say too much here about Barnett and her mighty fine new album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, which comes out next Tuesday, because i have plans to do that more  expansively later. But suffice it to sa say that she fronted her shaggym rugged power trio to excellelnt and charming effect well enough to confirm what the growing buzz about why there's such growing buzz about the 27 year old songwriter and guitarist. She also has a host of gigs in Austin this week, including a Fiday afternoon show from the Austin Convention Center that is co-sponsored by WXPN-FM and will be broadcast live - and will play Union Transfer on June 15.

Previously: SXSW Film: Sneakerhadz and Bikes vs. Cars Follow In The Mix on Twitter

 

Previously: SXSW Film Follow In The Mix on Twitter here