SXSW 2016: a slower-paced Saturday afternoon of singer/songwriters – 19th March 2016

By on Monday, 18th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

After the frenetic Friday of SXSW 2016, (which I spent here and here, in case you haven’t been reading along), Saturday dawned sunny, if a little chilly. I found myself running at a slightly slower pace. I had only two interviews scheduled for the day, both with exciting female singer/songwriters, and though I was glad for a later start to the day, I was eager to get moving by the time Mary and I arrived downtown.

Recent California-to-Iowa transplant Lissie was on the schedule for the SPIN Magazine day party at the Bud Light Factory at Brazos Hall, and I had a standing appointment for an interview with her after her set. The atmosphere at the venue was relaxed but energetic, as you might expect on a sunny Saturday afternoon. And Lissie’s mellow, mostly acoustic set fit perfectly with that vibe. She played a set of songs centered around her new album ‘My Wild West’, but to my delight, she also included her well-known cover of Kid Cudi’s ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. I hadn’t heard Lissie perform live before this, but after having reviewed ‘My Wild West’, I would say that her voice in person was every bit as rich and warm as it comes across on the record, and its raw power is only magnified by being in the same room.

Lissie internal

The sound and lighting were both excellent at the Bud Light Factory, and aside from Lissie, the showcase promised high-energy performances from hip-hop artist Lizzo (who had been first on the afternoon docket), UK indie rockers Bloc Party and genre-bending alt-pop artist Santigold. In the end, though, I only saw Lissie’s set from in front of the stage. After she finished playing, I was escorted upstairs to the VIP area for our scheduled interview. This was Lissie’s final show of SXSW 2016, and she had other press commitments as well as ours, but I was happy to wait my turn. There were plenty of amusements to pass the time, and I took the opportunity to try out a cool virtual music making machine, as well as watching part of Bloc Party’s set on the venue’s closed circuit TV. After that bit of fun, I had this casual chat with Lissie about her new album and where it has led her, both personally and professionally.

After leaving the SPIN party, I took an hour or so of “personal time” to try something new at SXSW. On a bit of a whim, I headed to the ChiveTV pop-up party on the west side of downtown, where I heard country rock band Poor Man’s Change. I can be picky about country music; it isn’t always to my particular liking, but this Southern California quartet fit nicely with my genial Saturday afternoon mood, and I had a chance to chat with several friendly people while I took in the scene.

Chive party photo

Following my short stopover at the ChiveTV party, I headed back east to meet up with Mary at the Hilton Austin hotel. We saw a few familiar faces and had a quick dinner ahead of Brighton singer/songwriter Holly Macve’s set at the hotel’s intimate Liberty Tavern. The audience here was captivated by Macve’s unique singing voice and dramatically stark song arrangements, and particularly in her cover of Patsy Cline classic ‘Crazy’ and her own haunting track ‘Sycamore Tree’. I had a chat with the fresh-faced and undeniably talented Macve after her set, and it was truly a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to speak with her at this exciting juncture of her career. Mary shares thoughts on the early evening showcase just below.

Holly Macve internal

Mary: I wanted to note here that if a club atmosphere is not for you, and/or you’re keen on catching fresh – and free! – entertainment during SXSW, the festival offers up the Second Play Stages at several hotels in downtown Austin, plus the Hyatt Regency south of the Colorado River where I caught Demi Louise last year and Carrie saw Roo Panes on Wednesday during this year’s festival. Liberty Tavern, located at the Hilton on E. 4th Street, had 3 acts scheduled each night of SXSW 2016. We were present for Holly Macve’s set to start the dinner hour at 6, and while Carrie was speaking with her after her set, I also had a look-in on 18-year-old James TW, who will be having his debut London live appearance the 12th of May at Islington Academy 2 (tickets on sale now).

The young James – the “TW” in his act name refers to his double-barrelled surname Taylor-Watts – holds the distinction of being the youngest artist ever to sign to Island Records UK. Prior to coming out to Austin, he released the single ‘When You Love Someone’ in February, which has already charted on the Spotify Viral Top 50. With boy next door charm, his music is easy on the ears, bridging the gap between country/western / singer/songwriter and urban vocal stylings of today, his voice at times twangy and soulful. His debut EP ‘First Impressions’ (how appropriate to reference his first showcasing at SXSW) is scheduled for release this Friday.

James TW at the Liberty Tavern, Second Play Stage, Saturday at SXSW 2016

Carrie: Following James TW’s set and my interview with Holly Macve, Mary and I met up again to plot our course for the final evening of SXSW 2016. You can read Mary’s Saturday night reviews here and here; my own Saturday night review will post soon.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

E-mail us  |  RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us