SXSW 2015: initial thoughts and The Lonely Wild and The Delta Riggs at StubHub / Culture Collide showcase at Clive Bar – 17th March 2015

By on Thursday, 26th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Part of mentally preparing for SXSW is looking over the weather forecast for the week in Austin so you can pack appropriately. And this year, the forecast was not good, with rain predicted for most of the time while we were in town. It turned out not to be as grim as weathermen had predicted – Wednesday morning rain soon gave way to a blistering bright sun beating down that even the Spaniards complained about being too hot, as you will read about soon – but the front end of the week definitely boasted the better weather, which was a good thing because everyone started off with optimism and plenty of patience, both which sadly waned with some people as we marched towards Saturday.

Tuesday is just the beginning, when you can still breathe, your eyes are fully open and not red and you’re on the sidelines, just stretching your legs and gearing up for everything. As the popular saying goes, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and that is indubitably true with any SXSW. As we awoke Tuesday morning to an overcast sky and light drizzle on our way to the St. Patrick’s Day brunch boat ride being sponsored by our friends at Generator NI and Invest Northern Ireland (Carrie’s write-up on that forthcoming), my day got exceedingly better after a nice, relaxing lunch – a short rib burrito bowl at the Chi’lantro food truck at SX Bites south of the Austin Convention Center – that was then followed by an equally relaxing stroll in the half-sun to Clive Bar.

Here, in this humble bar with reasonably large patio was the hub (no pun intended) where the StubHub and Culture Collide Web sites had joined forces for 3 days of afternoon and evening showcases. I knew full well I had no chance in hell in getting into their Thursday night showcase headlined by The War on Drugs, which, based on talking to a lot of music fans, bands and industry folks alike all over town leading up to it, was one of the biggest tickets in town that week. But I was perfectly okay with that. As you regular TGTF readers know, it’s a rarity, not the norm, that we head for the more popular, mainstream and, dare I say, hipster-buzzed about bands at a music festival.

No, I had arrived Tuesday afternoon to catch two great bands I discovered through my best attempt to listen to and rate each and every single band on the first three big band announcement lists for SXSW 2015 Music. To my great delight, both were entirely up for it! First on my roll call was The Lonely Wild, of the Silverlake area of Los Angeles. As I was surprised and wowed many times this week in Austin, I think I wasn’t prepared for the bombast of The Lonely Wild’s live performance. Neither or even both genres of indie folk or indie rock are sufficient to describe their sound.

The Lonely Wild at SXSW 2015

‘Buried in the Murder’, whose video I featured in the SXSW 2015-flavoured Bands to Watch I wrote on them in January, ended the set on a sweeping note, as the melody just begs you to sing along with the band as they emote the notes of the chorus. On it, the lead vocals of Andrew Carroll are raspy, as if he’s desperately trying to cling on to life, while the guitar line sounds like something Slash would admire. As mentioned in my interview with the whole band just outside Clive Bar after their set (don’t forget to have a listen to it here), they also premiered new song ‘Free From Harm’, which will appear on their forthcoming album ‘Chasing White Light’, due out later this year.

The Lonely Wild at SXSW 2015

Next up was Melbourne, Australia’s The Delta Riggs, who were about to rip Austin a new one. Having just arrived in Austin, three of their band members admitted to me in an interview post-gig they were suffering from jetlag but had hoped one night’s good sleep would sort them right. There was, however, no indication whatsoever of exhaustion or vertigo when they took to the stage at Clive Bar. Frontman Elliott Hammond, resplendent in a New York Yankees shirt he said his girlfriend got off eBay (sorry New Yorkers, he’s not actually a Yankees fan, or a baseball fan for that matter), oozes with charisma and owns his microphone and its stand, not unlike a young Mick Jagger or a more recent, non-beardy Chris Robinson, so much it felt like we were experiencing the second coming of the Black Crowes.

The Delta Riggs at SXSW 2015

This is rock that is uncompromising and balls to the wall, probably best represented by the incredibly catchy ‘The Record’s Flawed’ and the sleaze of ‘Bobby’s Flowers’. I unfortunately couldn’t make their other showcases that week in Austin, but I certainly hope they make it back for a headline tour of America one day, as I’d love to see them play again and maybe this time I can just go mental and not have to take photos!

The Delta Riggs at SXSW 2015

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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.

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