SXSW 2014: Harvest Records showcase at the Haven – 11th March 2014

By on Thursday, 20th March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Photos of Syd Arthur and Glass Animals courtesy of sourced.fm

After a brief stop at the British Music Embassy with Mary early on Tuesday evening, I made my first solo foray into SXSW 2014, heading off to the Harvest Records showcase at the Haven to see a set list that included several bands featured here at TGTF: Syd Arthur, Glass Animals and Arthur Beatrice. The venue was already packed when I arrived just ahead of the first act on the list, US-based music producer Young & Sick. Already a successful graphic artist and album artwork designer, his self-titled first album is due out on Harvest on the 8th of April. Judging from the enthusiasm of the crowd at the Haven, his reputation has preceded the release.

Young & Sick at Harvest Showcase

It was only after Young & Sick finished playing that I was able to take a good look around me and truly realize the atmosphere of the event. I edged a bit closer to the stage between sets only to see that the stage and wings were roped off from the general audience area, and that the seating in the wings was occupied by members of the bands on the docket and (presumably) their label and PR people. My hopes for grabbing any interviews with the bands were dashed, but I have to admit to watching the behind-the-scenes action with interest while I waited for Syd Arthur to begin.

Syd Arthur at Harvest Showcase

Syd Arthur’s brand of old school psychedelic rock was kind of a strange contrast to the slick, ultra modern feel of the Haven. Their violinist had a hairstyle mildly reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, and his technical prowess on the violin only served to strengthen that mental analogy in my mind. Despite the sound problems that were beginning to surface on the stage during their set, Syd Arthur melted the faces off of those of us standing near the front.

Glass Animals at Harvest Showcase

Next due on the bill was Oxford-quartet Glass Animals. My only previous experience with them was our own Martin’s Bands to Watch feature written back in October 2013. Little did I know that I was about to be blown away in my second amazing new band discovery of the day. Glass Animals’ languid bass grooves and smooth vocal melodies quickly heated up the otherwise chilly room. Before I even realized it, my body was grooving right along with the dizzying ‘Psylla’, and when they played their hot new single ‘Black Mambo’, I was irretrievably hooked. (Luckily, I had the opportunity to see Glass Animals again on the Saturday; keep an eye out for our coverage of that day’s events.)

Arthur Beatrice at Harvest Showcase

Of all the bands on the Harvest showcase, I was most anxious to hear Arthur Beatrice. I wasn’t madly in love with their album ‘Working Out’ when I reviewed it, but I was interested to see if the songs would have more personality in the context of a live performance. To that end, I wasn’t disappointed. The group’s slick, groovy sound, and particularly their vocal harmonies, took on a more lively energy than what was captured on their recording. Lead singer Ella Girardot was in good voice on the night, hitting high notes that left us literally gasping (even the unfortunate one when her vocal mic cut out). Sound issues plagued the performance in a few spots, but the overall impression was that Arthur Beatrice had made their mark on the American audience, particularly with their catchy single ‘Midland’. Keep your eyes open for this band in the near future.

I left the Haven after Arthur Beatrice to catch a couple of local Austin bands at another nearby venue. The conclusion of the Harvest Records showcase was slated to include Australian band The Preatures, solo artist BANKS and Los Angeles-based togetherPANGEA.

Thanks goes out to my gig partner for the evening, Jordy Fujiwara.

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5 Responses

1:58 am
25th March 2014

Cheers Carrie! It was a great show, and you captured it artfully. I would be curious to see how the article turned out had you stayed right through to togetherPANGEA, which was sloppy-as-hell in a very fun way (except when the bass player threw beer on everyone).

[…] buzz band Arthur Beatrice – who appeared at the Harvest Records showcase at SXSW 2014 as reviewed here by Carrie, among other places – have a new promo video out for ‘Late’, track #2 of the […]

[…] had seen Glass Animals on Tuesday at the Haven for the Harvest Records showcase Tuesday night, but I hadn’t up to that point. On paper, Glass Animals’ formula of pop and r&b […]

[…] Frankly, after Friday’s whirlwind of music and interviews, I was ready to let loose and dance. Happily, the lineup at Latitude 30 seemed tailor-made to accommodate me. The afternoon started off slowly with Welsh singer/songwriter Sweet Baboo, but the energy level was quickly ratcheted up by Scottish rockers Meursault, Oxford groove factory Glass Animals, Sheffield’s latest and greatest, The Crookes, Brighton-based Kins, and London jazz/funk/pop band Melt Yourself Down. Mary has already covered the acts we saw in detail here, so I will just add that I did indeed fall in love with the edgy rock of Meursault and that my second time seeing Glass Animals was every bit as steamy as the first. […]

[…] but never really listened to, until their oozing electro sensuality captured my attention first at Harvest Records showcase and again at the the British Music Embassy. It seems appropriate that their latest EP centers […]

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