SXSW 2018: Hamburg x Berlin Music and Interactive Night and DIY Presents at the British Music Embassy – 12th March 2018

By on Wednesday, 21st March 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s important to note that now that SXSW Conference badgeholders for the Film and Interactive conferences have secondary access to all Music showcases for a second year, they’re staying longer in Austin to make their time in town more worthwhile by checking out events from the other two festivals. This phenomenon, of course, impacts capacity at the music festival venues, making things more difficult for the wristband holders and anyone wishing to pay a cover to get into a venue. Carrie can speak to her opinion on this in her posts but for me, in general, the secondary access hasn’t affected me that badly, because the acts I tend to see are indie artists who aren’t on Americans’ radars yet. There is nothing better than seeing an act playing an entirely relaxed show to a handful of people, knowing they’re heading for greatness and you saw them first.

I’m noting it in this piece because as in past years, Monday night at SXSW 2018 was another relatively slow night showcase-wise. As a result, long lines seemed to be everywhere. I had great plans to stop into a few different showcases. Instead, I had to pare by my expectations, but I had some unexpected finds that made my evening pretty special. DIY Presents returned for a second year, this time bringing two bands who had appeared at Latitude 30 and four making their first visit to the venue, two of those that I saw.

Breakfast Muff Monday at SXSW 2018 2

The evening there began with Scottish punks Breakfast Muff. Taking a quick look at the set list, I noted they had an awfully long list of songs. Then I considered for a band like theirs, their tunes were likely to be 2 minutes or less. I wasn’t wrong. They made quick work of the first 1/3 of their set, blasting out song after song with impressive ferocity. While virtually unknown prior to their coming out for SXSW, I’d expect the young band’s star to rise significantly upon the release of their next EP ‘Crocodile’ on the 6th of April.

World Brain Monday at SXSW 2018 2

Once I’d had enough of Breakfast Muff, I headed to Barracuda, which has hosted the always reliable Monday night showcase starring German artists. On the indoor stage, World Brain opened the Hamburg X Berlin Music and Interactive Night on a wigged out, humorous note. World Brain is the solo project of long-haired, bespectacled Berlin-based Frenchman Lucas Ufo, who is also a member of Berlin group Fenster. The solo artist performed his brand of off-kilter, oddly catchy, bluesy alt-rock with a photograph of puppies sat in front of his laptop. To get a flavour of his music, watch this performance from Cologne last November. It doesn’t entirely do his music justice, though: he broke out a clarinet for one of the songs this night, an unexpected surprise.

Just steps away, playing at the Barracuda backyard patio was Emma Elisabeth, a Berlin-based Swedish singer/songwriter, and her band. Her style is jangly guitar pop, drawing obvious comparisons to ‘80s band The Bangles and acts similar. While her sound isn’t earth-shattering, she has an enjoyable enough voice that I could see her music being picked up for use in syncs.

Emma Elisabeth Monday at SXSW 2018

Back over to the indoor stage, it was Fenster’s turn. Named after the German word for “window”, they are an experimental pop band who’ve been going for a good decade now and have appeared at SXSW before. With their unusual song structures and instruments beyond the usual suspects in rock bands, they provided the ears with something wonderfully different.

Catholic Action Monday at SXSW 2018

I returned to Latitude 30, encountering my first major queue at SXSW 2018. It’s with some irony that I couldn’t get in for Catholic Action, one of the four acts I wrote about in the Music Bloggers Guide to SXSW 2018. Even in a queue outside, once security decided to crack open the windows facing San Jacinto Boulevard, I could groove to their glam rock tunes. I finally made it in for the Glaswegians’ last few tunes. They ended their set with their clap-happy single ‘L.U.V’, which met with big cheers from the crowd.

Francobollo Monday at SXSW 2018 2

London-based Swedes Francobollo were up next. They sound more like an American band than a European one, their music focusses on big guitar chords and harmonies. The booming nature of their grunge-y sound made them a good act to follow Catholic Action. We had an early morning on Tuesday, so I bid my first adieu to Latitude 30 for 2018. To see more photos from my Monday night at SXSW 2018, come through.

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