SXSW 2017: rap plus old friends, new friends and a pop princess at the British Music Embassy (Wednesday night, part 2) – 15th March 2017

By on Thursday, 30th March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

I saw Marika Hackman enjoying the music at the British Music Embassy that afternoon. She recognised me from when I interviewed her 2 years ago at the 9:30 Club, when she was out here touring with her mates Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn. She held both of my hands excitedly. “You must come see us tonight. I have a brand new band!” How could I refuse? Again, I had thought that I’d arrive with the latest set at the BME in full swing, but that was before I saw how much gear she and her band were trying to set up on Latitude 30’s stage.


Marika Hackman, BBC Radio 2, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Wednesday 15 March 2017

After an emotionally graceful album like her debut ‘We Slept at Last’, ‘Boyfriend’ comes as across as a jarring, yet liberating moment. Its lo-fi drawl is further enhanced by on record and live – wait for it – London girl group The Big Moon as her backing band! Either Marika thought I knew, or she wanted it to be a surprise. If you read my interview with her 2 years ago, she explained to me her massive respect for Laura Marling and what walls she broke down for the women who came after her. Given that she had once told me how tentative she felt sharing her music, it looks like from the acres of fun she and her band have onstage, her upcoming sophomore album for Sub Pop, ‘I’m Not Your Man’ out the 2nd of June, will be showing the real Marika Hackman, warts and all. A woman who’s comfortable in her own skin is a wonderful thing indeed.

It’s funny that Hackman is now with Sub Pop, as the next artist I chanced across at the Swan Dive Patio is on the same label. Porter Ray (surname Sullivan) is an American up-and-coming rapper who I learned from my research is part of the underrated Seattle hip-hop scene. He came to Austin to promote his long-awaited debut album ‘Watercolor’, released the Friday before SXSW.


Porter Ray, Swan Dive Patio, Wednesday 15 March 2017

Of course with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Northwest city famed for its dreary, rainy days is most famous for its responsibility in kickstarting the ‘90s grunge scene. Is he the first of an upcoming rap division in Sub Pop’s otherwise indie arsenal? I couldn’t tell if his less than energetic stage presence had to do solely with his subject matter (his brother was killed by gunshot) or if he was just really, really nervous. While I’m no expert on rap, I could appreciate the higher pitch of his voice, unusual for a genre where darker, deeper, menacing voices are preferred and tend to prevail.

The next act at the Swan Dive Patio should have been Mullally, who triumphantly announced on Twitter just days before SXSW that he had signed to Atlantic Records. I waited around for the Norfolk neo-soul singer, chuckling to myself and rubbing my hands like Mr. Burns in the near empty venue that I would be one of the first to hear the next big thing out of East Anglia. I waited for what seemed like forever. A DJ set up his turntables on the stage. I finally went up to chat with the stage manager who told me sorry, Mullally would not be performing because “he decided he wanted to save his voice for his performance on Saturday.” Ahem. Okay. Back to Latitude 30, then…


Kate Nash, BBC Radio 2, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Wednesday 15 March 2017

After negotiating the badge queue, I finally got in to find myself in the midst of Kate Nash’s coronation, practically. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised how mental people in the venue were going, given her debut album ‘Made of Bricks’ is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and she’s inspired countless young girls to greater things. I stepped way back from the stage to let the uberfans get closer to their idol, churning through hits like ‘Mouthwash’ and ‘Foundations’. Even from afar, I could see sparkly stripts of things, fishnets and fuzzy pink balls all over Nash’s body. At least for that hour at the British Music Embassy, it was Kate Nash’s world.

My final act for Wednesday night would be Ten Tonnes, aka Ethan Barnett, who wowed me at the Culture Collide / Twix showcase at Bar 96 that afternoon. He would be the second to last act on the BBC Radio 2, PPL, and PRS for Music showcase. Compared to that fireball Kate Nash before him, his set was conservative, bringing things back to the music. Dressed in a plaid shirt – it was an evening show after all, right? – there was something so sweet about his set. I realised he reminded me of a dear friend, before he and his band became famous.

Here we were, presented with the two extremes in performance in music today, an industry veteran with all the bells and whistles followed by an up-and-comer with nothing but his voice and guitar. The fact that both of these can live in harmony in our industry, neither getting muscled out by the other, should give us all hope that the business can sustain not only established artists but nurture those coming up.


Ten Tonnes, BBC Radio 2, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Wednesday 15 March 2017

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. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

Learn more about us through here.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Our Privacy Policy