South by Southwest's music component doesn't begin in earnest until Monday, but some of the bigger names have been appearing in recent years during SXSW Interactive. That's due in part to activations like the Capital One House, which has taken over Antone's for four nights during SXSW's first weekend since the club reopened downtown in 2016.
With a mix of big-name touring acts and local hot commodities, Capital One House regularly draws big lines down Fifth Street for three-act bills from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday. Officially, the shows a free and open to the public, but SXSW badge holders get first dibs, and the club often fills up early with those attendees.
British singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs kicked things off at Antone's on Friday, but Saturday's bill was probably the biggest of the four nights, featuring two past winners of SXSW's prestigious Grulke Prize for Developing Non-U.S. Act: Scotland's Chvrches (2013) and England's Jade Bird (2018). Fort Worth R&B upstart Abraham Alexander got the opening slot.
A special bonus for a couple hundred lucky early-arrivers on Saturday was a short but splendid acoustic set from Chvrches in the intimate upstairs banquet room at Antone's. Chrvches singer Lauren Mayberry, who'll be one of this year's SXSW keynote speakers in conversation with Garbage's Shirley Manson on Thursday, charmed the crowd with offbeat stories between four mesmerizing pop tunes, including "Miracle" from last year's "Love Is Dead" album and "The Mother You Share" from the band's 2013 debut "The Bones of What You Believe."
Mayberry also led the band through a cheeky verse and chorus of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds," adding a little levity to a set of lovely but mostly sad material. "It's all we have!" she apologized, but nobody fortunate enough to be there seemed to mind at all.
Capital One House continues on Sunday with a show featuring St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Jacob Banks and Austin singer Tameca Jones before concluding on Monday with Jungle, hometown act Black Pumas and a "512 Coalition" set featuring several local luminaries.