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SXSW 2012: Day 5 – Huw Stephens / UK Trade and Investment showcase at Latitude 30 – 17th March 2012

 
By on Friday, 6th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

In an unusual bit of SXSW programming, Dutch Uncles was due to open the next British Music Embassy showcase at Latitude 30 after closing out the Northern Day showcase just 2 hours earlier. This evening showcase was being sponsored by UK Trade and Investment and was curated by Radio1 presenter Huw Stephens, who appeared playing some plinky plonky chords to introduce Dutch Uncles. Despite having just played 2 hours ago, the band were still in fine form, starting first with ‘X-O’ (see video below). Wallis quipped, “for the asbestos crowd, this is a toe-tapper” to preface ‘Orval’. Humour and a lot of energy wrapped around great songs? Just about perfect.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP03l2YAA6U[/youtube]

The next band was London’s Clock Opera. Before they performed, I couldn’t put my finger on what they sounded like. To be honest, I’d first heard of them through all the remixes they’ve done for other people (such as the Clock Opera remix of Metronomy’s ‘The Bay’). So this was the first time I’d really see them perform in their own right. Maximized beard owner and lead singer Guy Connelly – who I was introduced to later that evening over drinks and who I coincidentally discovered we’d eaten at the same restaurant, Roaring Fork, the night before – led his band through a set that included – very surprisingly – a moment where it looks liked they’d raided their mums’ kitchens and started banging on pots, pans and trays. Friends had told me they were similar to Friendly Fires, but even Friendly Fires can’t match the whimsy of this band from London. They were excellent.

I missed Django Django to get pizza and sweet tea iced lollies while visiting my new friends Fiction, people I’d not met before but I had seen perform in Manchester in December. They had discovered a shy Jimi Hendrix-themed busker playing in an alley. Bless. When we returned to Latitude 30, I was surprised to see D/R/U/G/S onstage; Maverick Sabre was unable to perform, I’m not sure what happened, but D/R/U/G/S stepped in to fill the gap. (Read my description of his PRS brunch performance here.)

Slow Club followed, with Rebecca Taylor wearing royal blue Sheffield kit and drawing the ire of the non-Sheffield fans in the house when she yelled, “Sheffield, whoooo!” Guessing that outburst might have worked better at Northern Day? I thought back to Valentine’s Day about a month before in DC, when I’d seen them live in Washington. She was poorly then; her voice now sounded better than ever, with the now rammed Latitude 30 buzzing, mostly filled with their fans.

I later spotted Django Django huddled around a table, for sure having celebratory drinks all around after their last performance at SXSW, the same kind of farewell drinks many of my bands friends, new and old, and I were having. “Hold on / to where you’re from / it’s where the heart goes / when you’re done” shouted Taylor in a bluesy and brassy voice for ‘Two Cousins’ to finish out their set. I could feel myself growing sadder by the moment. The longer the night wore on, the closer we were getting to the end of SXSW.

Though we stayed for part of Toddla T’s shuffling and snuffling through electronic genres, finally we all had to say our goodbyes and I wished some very good friends safe travels back across the pond. It might sound odd that as a UK blog editor I had embraced the music coming from Britain the most from all my time in Austin. I might be an American born and bred, but I have an English heart. As I look forward to May and to my return to England for the Great Escape (the Southern England answer to SXSW) and Liverpool Sound City (the Northern England answer to SXSW), I feel energised by all the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting on this trip. And I truly believe, on the strengths of the bands that wowed and made proud at SXSW, that good music is everywhere. You just need to be open to it, to let down your guard, leave your prejudices at the door. You don’t need to be at SXSW or another music festival – good music is out there, waiting for you to find it.

There is not enough space in a TGTF blog post to thank all the people I spent quality time with: bands, bands’ management, people working for the festival, blog people, radio people and just plain ol’ fans either local to Austin or who traveled all kinds of crazy distances to experience SXSW just like I did. From the bottom of my heart, cheers everyone.

More high-res photos from the Huw Stephens / UK Trade and Investment showcase can be viewed on my Flickr.

 

Specialist DJ Takeover on Radio1 This Week

 
By on Monday, 3rd January 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Radio1 is making an unusual move for the first week of 2011, in the form of four of their most famous and popular presenters taking over their airwaves from 7 AM to 7 PM every day this week. Turning the Radio1 schedule completely on its head, Zane Lowe will present in the breakfast show from 7 to 10 AM instead of his usual evening timeslot. Electronic music specialist Annie Mac will be in charge 10 AM to 1 PM. Indie band champion Huw Stephens (pictured above) will preside over the afternoon 1 to 4 PM slot. And Nick Grimshaw will be at the mixing desk at 4 to 7 PM, a couple hours earlier than his normal late night specialist show weeknights Monday through Thursday.

This unique “specialist DJ takeover” week will give these four DJs the latitude to look back at the bands they championed in 2010 while bringing attention to the acts they think will be big in 2011. A special feature to Zane Lowe’s breakfast show is the announcement of the top 5 acts of the BBC Sound of 2011, one each day, until the #1 act is crowned on Friday, the 7th of January 2011. For more info on the artists on the BBC Sound of 2011 longlist and a comparison with TGTF’s own 10 for 2011 and the MTV Brand New for 2011 list, go here.

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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