SXSW 2016: early bits of FLOODfest and the British Music Embassy Wednesday afternoon (part 1) – 16th March 2016

By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming of Wednesday afternoon’s coverage. With First Lady Michelle Obama throwing Music conference panel schedules off at the convention center and not knowing when the panels I had penciled in for the afternoon would actually start, I cut my losses and met Carrie for the start of the afternoon at FLOODfest at Cedar Street Courtyard. I hung around to interview Alex Robertshaw of Everything Everything after they played there and also managed to catch a bit of the next act, but Carrie had already left to see The People The Poet at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 for the first time, as she’d missed them last year. Interview done and dusted, I turned up to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. ::heavy breaths, cough, wheeze:: Our individual contributions to this piece are marked below.

Everything Everything FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayCarrie: Mary and I missed opening act Deap Vally but we arrived at FLOODfest in plenty of time to see a band we were both interested in, Manchester’s Everything Everything. Having never seen the band play live myself, I wasn’t sure what to expect from their performance. They turned out to be a great choice for our first band of the day, upbeat and energetic despite the pesky technical issues that would plague them for the rest of the week. The Austin heat didn’t deter the Mancunian art-rockers from wearing their flambuoyant matching jackets, but the bright Texas sun did force them to perform in what might be called “accidentally stylish” sunglasses through most of the set. They leaned hard on their current album ‘Get to Heaven’, sandwiching old favourites ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Don’t Try’ in between the newer numbers.

Mary: If seeing Everything Everything in the blinding sun and blistering heat felt incongruous, can you imagine how out of place Hælos‘ performance must have looked? The act signed to Matador Records have a little bit of everything in their sound: a little pop, a little soul, a little trip-hop, a little experimental. This kind of music demands a darkened club atmosphere. Comparisons to the xx because they utilise harmonising male and female vocals well further bolster this argument for a shadowy, mysterious stage setup.

Haelos FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayLucky for them, they didn’t suffer from the same technical issues as Everything Everything did, which probably explains why they looked completely poised and on their game when their set began. On paper, this is the kind of band I should like, so I guess you should blame the oppressive heat beating down from above that I really had trouble getting into the mood for their music. Expect a better review of them very soon, as I had an opportunity to see them again at the nighttime (the right time!) Friday Clash Magazine / PPL showcase at the British Music Embassy, where they were truly in their element.

The People the Poet at the British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Carrie: After Everything Everything’s set, I hurried to the British Music Embassy to catch The People The Poet on Mary’s recommendation. As usual, her suggestion that I’d like the Welsh rockers was right on target. Their full-bodied rock sound and Leon Stanford’s rough-around-the-edges lead vocals were just to my taste, and I couldn’t resist introducing myself to full-bearded guitarist Tyla Campbell after their set to tell him so. The People The Poet’s latest single ‘Club 27’ was due for its first play on BBC Radio 1 only hours after this performance, but technically, we heard it first!

Jane Weaver at British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Following The People The Poet on the BME stage was electro-pop artist Jane Weaver, who we initially previewed in a Bands to Watch feature right back here. I knew I might not get to stay for Weaver’s entire set, as I was due to switch places with Mary at that point in the day, but after learning the history of Weaver’s career in the course of writing the aforementioned preview, I was intrigued, especially by her recent album release ‘The Silver Globe’. I was gratified to hear the hypnotic psych-pop of current single ‘I Need a Connection’ before I had to dash off across the river to the Hyatt Regency Austin, and Mary was lucky enough to get this interview with the magical Ms. Weaver later in the afternoon.

Keep an eye on TGTF for part 2 of our tag-team coverage of Wednesday afternoon’s activities, coming soon to a computer screen or mobile device near you!

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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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