A good start to the day remains a decent breakfast; which is a talent that Americans have all figured out and I decided to stray from the sugary delights towards fruit and cereal (and a few too many cups of coffee). The early bird catches the worm so another trip to the Convention Centre was in order to fill in another form for another pass. A new feature for this year’s festival is the SXXpress Pass. Simple really, choose a venue for the day, queue up and receive a pass that garners favour over badge holders for the gigs at that particular venue. Whilst it may prove not enough to sneak you into Muse at Stubbs’ tomorrow evening, it may gift you a healthy chance.

Despite a distance of 5000 miles, there was a sizeable representation at the Yorkshire SXSW party at Latitude 30. Representing Leeds were Middleman who provided the beats and the poetry with a bouncy set. Later on, Grammatics proved far more brutal with an orchestrally fierce performance. Ironically, the Sheffield duo Slow Club only had ten minutes in which to impress with their rollocking repertoire. The Crookes take their name from a student village in the same city but theirs was a more refined sound, of kitchen sink tales romantically delivered. Though quite how salmon and broccoli pasties with lentil salad can be considered Yorkshire cuisine is anyone’s guess.

Of course, events such as those offer only a brief taster of each band’s potential and it remains best to catch them in relatively insecure surroundings, such as Friends bar where The Crookes delivered another impressive set. Despite the band suffering from heat stroke, admittedly the curse of Englishmen abroad, this was a far more productive performance. Calamity does seem to follow them and despite broken guitar strings, a sizeable crowd had formed outside. Enticed, no doubt, by George Waite’s delectable vocals which at times hint at Antony and The Johnsons whilst at others evoke Morrissey at his most twee.

Time to explore and head off the main streets and into the outskirts, The Phoenix bar specifically. With its high chandelier adorned ceilings and rug floors the upstairs room is itself a treat. Yet warning signs should have been in place for the seating areas adjacent to the stage, warning of the aural carnage that was about to erupt as The Chapman Family plugged in. A shredded guitar sound, reminiscent of freezer trays being yanked out of place, became alarming to those entranced by the noise. Then they decided to quit the preliminaries with rumbled basslines to which the only reaction was fingers plugged in ears and a quick exit.

Onto Lamberts where my SXXpress pass finally came into some good use and with a few flashes of the orange piece of card I was upstairs for Marina and The Diamonds. Word travels fast and even across the pond, this is clearly a popular show. Thankfully fire regulations mean the room was full but not bursting with sofas to the back and sides for a comfortable spot. It soon became clear that the pass was not actually needed. Fifteen minutes after their scheduled stage time and still sound checks were being carried out. Twenty minutes passed until finally a besuited Marina walks on in a bizarre yellow bear costume to begin with the effervescent Girls. Clearly, the time taken to sort out the acoustics was not sufficient as, apart from the keyboards, little else could be heard from the backing band gifting the performance a quirky, almost ridiculous sound. The only saving grace remained Marina’s voice; operatic and tinged with sentiment, the sort of voice that should provide James Bond theme tracks. Her audience was transfixed, so much so that the anti-American sentiment of Hollywood was easily overlooked.

Thanks to the overrunning, only a few tracks from You Say Party, We Say Die could be had. Even then their joyfully danceable set was received well as it edged into the early hours. Alas, most of the bars begin kicking out at 2am, which was probably for the best