Looking for previews and reviews of SXSW 2019? Right this way.

SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyVBFCmTuUM[/youtube]

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.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg0y8hRXyfg[/youtube]

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

 

SXSW 2017: a taste of Norway and the KCRW showcase at Elysium (Wednesday night, part 1) – 15th March 2017

 
By on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Inevitably, there’s going to be at least one evening at SXSW where things don’t really go to plan for you and you want to rip your hair out. You can have the best, most beautiful, seemingly airtight schedule ever created. And then bands miss shows, sets run horribly late due to technical difficulties and other things happen that you can do absolutely nothing about. I would guess Carrie would say Friday night was her moment of disaster at SXSW 2017, but it came 2 nights earlier for me. After watching The Heart Collectors at the Westin on E. 5th Street, I went on to my next stop, realising I wouldn’t have time to stop and eat a proper meal. Cue an editor’s surreptitious nibbles of a granola bar under the cover of darkness in clubs…

Something you forget after a year of being away from Austin: that monster of a hill up towards the Omni Hotel and St. David’s Historic Sanctuary. However, no hill was going to thwart me! I fixed my gaze on cocktail bar CU29, an oasis of tranquility on Brazos Street, amazingly not far at all from the nightly crazy going on 6th Street. Due to a delay in forcing non-SXSW patrons to vacate the club, first band of the night Tuvaband would begin late. The Oslo act is named after singer Norwegian songwriter Tuva Hellum Marschauser, and only half of Tuvaband was actually showcasing.


Tuvaband, CU29, Wednesday 15 March 2017

Suffering a similar setback to fellow Scandinavians Rainbrother, Tuva’s musical partner British musician Simon Would had visa problems and was denied entry into the U.S. Thankfully, their manager Ruben Nesse stepped in for Would and with minimal time to practice. Further, from what I understand from this Facebook post, their usual accompanist on piano Signe Eide wasn’t able to make it easier, leading Tuva to invite a random piano player from New York to join her performance. He was smiling and nodding his head during the set, so I think he was pleased to be asked to assist. It was just like Tuvaband’s newest single ‘Everything We Do is Wrong’ had come to life. I felt so bad for them, as CU29 seemed to have been the perfect backdrop for their dreamy pop. As their live performance was compromised by actions beyond their control, I encourage you to watch the video for their new single below to get an idea of what they’re supposed to sound like.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqxMJMyIaCo[/youtube]

You need to take care on your way to the stage at Elysium. The venue has a weird series of steps that I’ve tripped over while completely sober and carrying equipment. There are also sofas placed oddly near the front door, exactly where you would not expect them to be. God help anyone who is in any stage of inebriation in this place. When I arrived, I was expecting the showcase being put on by Los Angeles radio station KCRW to be on their first changeover between the first and second acts. So I was surprised to see Gabriel Garzón-Montano on stage with his keyboards and accompanied by a drummer.


Gabriel Garzon Montano, KCRW showcase, Elysium, Wednesday 15 March 2017

I had to research the Brooklyn soul singer’s background after I saw him play: he was plucked out of musical obscurity by Canadian rapper Drake, who sampled a soulful hook of a song from an EP of his in 2012. His primary onstage gimmick is red makeup applied squarely over his right eyelid. I’m not sure if this is supposed to mean something, but it’s a memorable look. Like I said, I didn’t know anything about him when I saw him perform, but it was clear he had quite a few devoted – and loudly vocal – fans cheering him on.

Following Garzón-Montano were London via Lancashire electro soul pop duo Aquilo, my primary reason for risking the health of my limbs at Elysium. Equipment issues plagued the duo and their backing band, further delaying the KCRW showcase schedule. Aquilo, playing their second of four shows at SXSW 2017, were entirely worth the wait, sounding peerless as they ran through a blindingly beautiful series of songs from their debut album ‘Silhouettes’, which was released in January. If you’re sceptical, read my review of the LP here.


Aquilo, KCRW showcase, Elysium, Wednesday 15 March 2017, 2

Up against the stage, grooving to the music, blissfully unaware (well, almost) that I was the only person in the room singing along to the boppy ‘You Won’t Know Where You Stand’ and the achingly gorgeous ‘Silhouette’, among others. I was in heaven. As much as I detest the layout of Elysium – did I mention if you’re down the front, you’re basically looking up the musicians’ noses? – I was in heaven. The lighting highlighted the duo’s photogenic qualities, making it feel less of a club show and more like as if we were at a fancy tv studio taping. Nice one.


Aquilo, KCRW showcase, Elysium, Wednesday 15 March 2017

 

SXSW 2017: Brits and Australians, plus Bahranians and Mongolians (seriously!) Wednesday afternoon – 15th March 2017

 
By on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

After the Nile Rodgers keynote speech at the convention center that was less than thrilling, I was ready for some live music. Carrie and I went down south to get our bearings ahead of Culture Collide’s taking over of Rainey Street for the rest of the week. If you’ve ever been to Rainey Street, you know that there a bunch of cutesy houses down the road that host day and night parties all week during SXSW. It’s an entirely different vibe than the clubs in the downtown area, but I never seem to get to spend much time down there.

After an aborted attempt in getting free tacos at Feed the Beat’s afternoon showcase at Lustre Pearl, I left Carrie to go next door to Bar 96. Ten Tonnes, aka young Hertford singer/songwriter Ethan Barnett, would be the first to take the stage at the Twix showcase. I was quite curious about him, as he was set to appear midnight that night at the Radio 2, PPL and PRS for Music showcase at the British Music Embassy, emceed by BBC Radio presenter Jo Whiley. We’d never heard of him before our SXSW previewing, so how did such a youngster get such a desired performance slot?

Ten Tonnes, Bar 95, Culture Collide / Twix, Wednesday 15 March 2017

His set at Bar 96 was his first-ever American performance, but he didn’t show any apprehension, launching into a series of bluesy rock and rockabilly numbers, including single ‘Silver Heat’, which just happened to be released the day after this performance. I think I speak for everyone watching this set that it’s a surprise (a pleasant one) to hear a young man sing and play blues rock and so convincingly. This business is full of musicians willing to sell their souls to make it, going towards genres and playing music their hearts aren’t into. However, it became crystal clear in my short interview with Barnett that he’s dedicated to this style of songwriting, and I’m sure he found loads of inspiration while being in America.

It’s unbelievable that I’ve not visited Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden all these years, but I finally made it this year. Somehow I managed to consume one of their fabulous bratwursts with sauerkraut after catching Australian Alex Lahey play Banger’s outdoor garden during the StubHub showcase there. I don’t know how many beer gardens there are in Melbourne, but surely this must have a bucket list ticked off for Lahey and her band.

Alex Lahey, Culture Collide / StubHub, Banger's, Wednesday 15 March 2017

She’s the kind of girl you know you’d have a fun night out boozing with, laughs all around. Like fellow Melbournian Courtney Barnett before her, you can tell Lahey doesn’t take herself or her music too seriously. She’s got a little pop song called ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’, which is an upbeat, funny ode that see Lahey thumbing her nose at pretentious people. Which is exactly what she’s not: I have on good authority from a blogger friend from Oz that he was not surprised she was only wearing t-shirts in Austin, but that she ran the risk of ruining her stage outfits with barbecue sauce. Ha. Somehow I don’t think that would have fazed her anyway. Check out her video for ‘Wes Anderson’ in this previous Video of the Moment feature.

I walked back up to 6th Street to a little hole in the wall called Big Bang Bar to see another Aussie band. It’s a good measure of a band to see their stage demeanour, no matter if they’re playing to 10 or 10 thousand. Despite only playing to a few boozers at the bar and a handful of interested people like me, Sydney electropop group Castlecomer gave it their all at their slot at the South X Big Bang afternoon showcase, filled mostly with American acts.


Castlecomer, South X Big Bang, Big Bang Bar, Wednesday 15 March 2017

While I’m sure this performance was very different than their appearance the next day at the Aussie BBQ at Brush Square Park, I thought Castlecomer sounded incredible in the small club. Frontman Bede, with a shocking amount of incredible hair that Pantene should get on right away for an advertisement opportunity, bounded around the stage and onto the floor like a madman to their catchy tunes. You can’t help but get drawn into dancing to the infectious beats of their music. Their incredible energy reminds me of Two Door Cinema Club in their early days, which is something even Two Door can’t manage to recapture. Delicious escapist fare.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kYAXD8R47U[/youtube]

Finding myself at a loose end, I returned to the British Music Embassy around the corner to see Mt. Wolf, playing a better attended show than the one they helpfully offered to open the previous night at Scratchouse. I’ll let you in on a trade secret unknown to bands and who have never played SXSW before: the people who come to the afternoon shows are different than the ones at your evening showcases. Being genuine and performing your best, no matter what time of day you’re playing, where or in front of how many people, is the key to your success in Austin.

Mt. Wolf, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Wednesday 15 March 2017

As I had predicted, Mt. Wolf’s brand of atmospheric pop worked well at Latitude 30. If you’re looking for something chill and with anthemic swells, this kind of music is for you. While their future may have initially uncertain after the departure of original lead singer Kate Sproule, Sebastian Fox’s falsetto is proving to hit the spot and indeed, in a different, better way. This was the second in a long string of appearances the band made in Austin.


Flamingods, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Wednesday 15 March 2017

Flamingods are originally from the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain but they call the melting pot capital of London home these days. The self-described “exotic psychedelia” group brought a truly tropical air to Latitude 30 with their colourful outfits and their instruments unusual to Western minds, theirs being a unique rhythmic experience like no other that came to Latitude 30 that week. They’re proof it doesn’t matter where your music comes from or by whom, as long as it comes from the hearts of the people who make it. What is going on back home must pain the members of Flamingods, but by playing on the world’s stage that is SXSW, they make the statement that music shouldn’t have any borders.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyxG2sIxDA0[/youtube]

Around the corner I went to the Second Play Stage at the Westin Downtown to see Magnolian. As the first-ever musical representative from Mongolia to showcase at SXSW, he had a lot riding on his shoulders. However, he needn’t have worried, as he and his backing band played to a crowd of interested listeners, including the Aussies who were slated to perform there next. As an American who outwardly looks Oriental, there’s certain prejudices that come into people’s heads automatically when they see me even before I open my mouth, so I was concerned there might be similar prejudices by the Austin crowds that came across Dulguun Bayasgalan and his band.

Magnolian, Second Play Stage, Westin Downtown, Wednesday 15 March 2017

However, and as supported by my chat with him and his band after this performance, Bayasgalan’s primary musical influences are Matt Berninger and The National, which comes across in his thoughtful baritone and songwriting. Rather than simply being a curiosity, I hope Magnolian’s visit to SXSW has led to Western connections that will further career and who knows, maybe one day he’ll get to open for the band who inspired him from thousands of miles away.


The Heart Collectors, Second Play Stage, Westin Downtown, Wednesday 15 March 2017

Following Magnolian at the Westin were Aussie acoustic folk purveyors The Heart Collectors, who I’d sadly missed at Sounds Australia’s Sound Gallery I on Tuesday morning. Dressed in comfy cotton and wearing hats that made them fit into the Austin scene perfectly, they pleasantly rattled through their set of mostly foot-stomping folk numbers utilising banjo, cello, mandolin and guitar. The band members took turns with lead vocal duties but their tight harmonies whenever their voices came together again were always beautiful. For those unfamiliar with the band’s music, a cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ came across not only as familiar but winsome. I included them on my list of best bets of the many Aussie acts coming out to Austin, and they didn’t disappoint.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jay7f53vmoE[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: the Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro showcase (part 2) and BBC Radio 1 / PRS for Music / PPL showcase – 14th March 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 5:00 pm
 

Upon my return to Scratchouse for the second half of the evening, I was pleased to see that Manningtree’s SuperGlu were proving their reception Monday night at the British Music Embassy wasn’t sheer dumb luck. (And if you missed the first half of my Tuesday evening, you can read it back here.) While the room at the indoor stage was certainly smaller than that of Latitude 30, SuperGlu proved they could draw a big, not to mention animated and engaged crowd without the promotional muscle of the BME.

Interestingly and somewhat headscratchingly, Killing Moon, ReverbNation and London newspaper Metro chose to put the quieter acts for their Tuesday night showcase on the backyard stage at Scratchouse. I guess they thought people who would coming out to the backyard would want to sit on the benches? Folk rocker Reuben Bidez is originally from Atlanta, but a relocation to Nashville appears to have done him good, according to American Songwriter. TGTF readers know this kind of music isn’t my bailiwick but rather up Carrie’s alley, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Bidez’s progress in his new locale going forward.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9eFQzHG2tg[/youtube]

As part of our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 previewing acts from the South of England, Steven described Guildford’s Annabel Allum as a free spirit, one who “refuses to be pigeonholed or adhering to any kind of fad.” While I was keen on seeing Allum live, as it happens all too often at SXSW, it’s difficult to focus on a single musician when so much stuff is going on around you, in the venues nearby and with the buzz of chatter of punters who aren’t paying attention to who’s on stage. Under the eerie glow of lights on the backyard stage and wearing a flowy blouse, I got the feeling like Mt. Wolf earlier in the evening that a conventional club atmosphere (or even a coffee shop?) would have done Allum more favours.

Annabel Allum, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Turning my attention back to the indoor stage at Scratchouse, it was time for Dine Alone Records act Mantra (stylized Måntra, as I understand it for purely legal reasons) to take the stage. Definitely more my speed. Growing up with the music of Led Zeppelin thanks to an older brother who for a time only listened to music designed pummel your eardrums and annoy parents, there will always be a part of me that wishes I could play guitar like Jimmy Page. Mantra are probably the closest these days I’m going to get to Led Zeppelin and one better, they seem to be taking the best of what England’s grand rock tradition of the last 20 years has had to offer into their sound. Namely Muse, or at least before Matt Bellamy went commercial (I haven’t forgotten you getting into bed with Twilight, Matt), too out there and sometimes just plain annoying.

Mantra, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

We’ve gone through an unusual period of seeing duos like Drenge, Royal Blood and Slaves prove you don’t need more than two people in a hard rock band. However, my memory goes back far enough to remember a time when rock trios like The Joy Formidable were questioned for their ability to pack in the firepower. There’s no such question in the case of Ealing’s Mantra. This is hard driving, pulse thumping rock for the headbanger, and this is the band who will renew your faith that good, hard rock can still be found in England. Check out my interview with the band in Austin through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVGqb9gJnSw[/youtube]

SYKES, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Time for a quick dash back to the backyard for my final band at Scratchouse for the night, SYKES. The band is named for frontwoman Julia Sykes, lead singer and keyboardist for the band. They’ve had an interesting ride so far, having recently appeared at the traditionally hard rocking Warped tour, wowing crowds with their self-described alt-electropop. Sykes, in a Chicago-themed hoodie, was the epitome of composure, and it’s not surprising, given that their band showcased last year in Austin and weren’t suffering from SXSW virgin sensory overload. It’s just too bad that there was a bigger crowd for Sykes’ yearning voice and their buzzy, crunchy synth beats, as this is exactly the kind of band I’d expect SiriusXM’s Alt Nation to pick up on.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVHOAZ6UIAA[/youtube]

We don’t do a lot of writing about hip hop and grime on TGTF because, as I repeated quite a bit in Austin to friends, I just don’t feel comfortable about us writing about it if it’s a genre we don’t know a lot about. Dave, also known as Santan Dave, which explains his otherwise unusual Twitter handle @santandave1, was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2017, so it was nice to see the BBC put him on the Tuesday night British Music Embassy showcase sponsored by Radio 1, PRS for Music and PPL.

Dave, Radio 1, PRS for Music, PPL showcase, British Music Embassy, Tuesday 14 March 2017

I’ve still got a lot to learn about how this genre is morphing and expanding its reach in the UK. But even without knowing much about this Streatham native, standing there in Latitude 30 as punters looked on silent and in rapt attention, you knew you were witnessing greatness. It must have been a terrifying moment for Dave to perform on such a stage and at such a young age. But he must also have felt incredible validation by the reception he received in Austin.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2H0mXC2Wbs[/youtube]

Kent punk duo Slaves are no stranger to Austin and SXSW, or to TGTF for that matter. As rightly noted by drummer and master of ceremonies Isaac Holman from the stage of Latitude 30, they performed previously and on a Radio 1 showcase in 2014. I got on the Slaves bandwagon pretty late, which was probably for the best, as I refused to be swept up by the hype and wanted to decide for myself if they were an act I wanted to follow. Suffice to say, I finally got on, not so much for their musical prowess than for the sheer fun of their music. Let’s face it: Slaves’ specialty is hard, fast, in your face tunes, whilst also being tongue in cheek. Who else would subject one of their crew to crowdsurfing in a manta ray suit for their ‘art’? And really, how smart was it of Holman it to be wearing a coonskin cap, a symbol of American frontiersman Davy Crockett and a symbol of white entitlement, during this period of unprecedented racial prejudice in our country? I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had no idea.

Slaves, Radio 1, PRS for Music, PPL showcase, British Music Embassy, Tuesday 14 March 2017

But make no mistake, they’re not animals, Slaves realise what they’re doing and while they’re all for their fans having fun during their shows, they’re also not going to be dicks about it either. Guitarist Laurie Vincent, realising that a circle pit was forming down the front at Latitude 30 in response to their aggressive music, acted quickly and helpfully to direct photographers out of the fray and to the side of the stage so their expensive cameras wouldn’t get destroyed in the melee. ‘Spit It Out’, from last year’s ‘Take Control’ out now on Virgin EMI, was a revelation live, and the crowd were completely up for their punishing show. Mission accomplished. It seems strange to think they’re still playing small clubs here in America but on the other hand, it seems fair. Even though they’re signed to a major in the UK and they’re huge in Europe, they’re having to win over new fans in a new territory, just like everyone else who tries to make a go of it over here.

 

Live Gig Video: Tom Chaplin duets with JONES on a reworking of ‘Solid Gold’, from his debut solo album ‘The Wave’

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Ex-Keane frontman Tom Chaplin released his solo album, his first without the band with which he found fame, last October. ‘The Wave’, out now on Island Records in the UK and Arts and Crafts in North America, documents Chaplin’s difficult road back from drug addiction. One of the tracks from the LP, ‘Solid Gold’, Chaplin wrote for his long-suffering wife, his steadfast life partner who has stood by him through thick and thin. Sometime after the release of ‘The Wave’, Chaplin decided the song would benefit from being reworked into a duet, and now we have a live performance from the studio of the song with East London soul singer Cherie JONES.

JONES is no stranger to heavy-hitting collaborations, having joined Honne onstage last year at SXSW 2016 for their track ‘No Place Like Home’. In a great sense, this updated version of ‘Solid Gold’ is the perfect melding of the old guard and new guard of English pop, showcasing JONES’ sweet songbird voice that has otherwise been lost behind the crunchy instrumentation that usually accompanies her on her own tracks. Watch it below. Tom Chaplin is on tour in the UK in May. For more of TGTF’s coverage on Chaplin, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ih8IcTV7tQ[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: bits and bobs plus the Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro showcase (part 1) – 14th March 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

If SXSW Music was a car, the car will have just started on Monday night, followed by a solid, chugging purring as it was running on Tuesday. The worst clashes start Wednesday, when things really are in full swing, all the venues are open and are putting on their showcases. I knew what I wanted to see on Tuesday night, but the problem was I wanted to be all over the place! Los Angeles firm Force Field PR was putting on a showcase at the outdoor stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s, and it was a bonus that they were beginning before the magic hour of 8 when most showcases begin for the evening.

Cheer Up Charlie’s is one of the more unusual venues at SXSW, as you’re watching a band perform up against what looks like a mountain of boulders that could come down raining on them (and you) at any moment. The timing of Copenhagen band Rainbrother’s set was also fortuitous, as it seems many people I knew from the UK had stopped in to see them, including Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music, who included them in his on the ground reporting from Tuesday night at SXSW 2017 (go to 19 minutes 30 seconds on this programme of his; it appears that I may have accidentally bothered the man when he was trying to interview Slaves outside Barracuda on 7th Street, oops). What would have struck you immediately coming into this Tuesday night show was that there was a man projected larger than life behind them. With a guitar and a microphone, I wondered what the deal was. I thought maybe it was one of these cool, new-fangled technological advances because, well, all Scandinavians had mobile phones before we did, right?

Rainbrother, Cheer Up Charlie's, Force Field PR showcase, Tuesday 14 March 2017

…and then he told us. Lead singer Bjarke Bendtsen’s artist visa had been denied. The band’s solution: before coming out to America, the band videotaped Bendtsen performing alongside the band for their entire set, so they could project his image and sound while they played without him physically being there in Austin. While Bendtsen eventually made it to Austin for the band’s last 2 shows in the Texas capital, the stark reality that strange, nonsensical decisions about artists being able to perform in America sunk in. I give full props to these Danes for soldiering on without their leader and sticking it to the man. What might have simply been a perfectly agreeable performance by a Scandinavia dream folk band became an act of defiance. As one of my best bets of Scandinavian acts coming out to Austin this year, I couldn’t have been prouder of them.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nN1H8cE7Tw[/youtube]

Suburban Living, Barracuda, felte Records and Part Time Punks showcase, Tuesday 14 March 2017

One of the great things about SXSW is the fact that unlike Canadian Music Week or CMJ, venues are actually pretty close to one another. Although I could not spend my evening solely at the felte / Part Time Punks showcase at Barracuda that I enjoyed last year, I did stop in to check out Philadelphia’s Suburban Living on the indoor stage. Bespectacled Wesley Bunch leads the band, which as a unit remind me of the sweet, twee pop tones of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. You can check out Bunch’s full album from last year ‘Almost Paradise’ on most streaming services.

Future Thieves, Scratchouse, Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro showcase, Tuesday 14 March 2017

When I finally made to Scratchouse for the Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro newspaper showcase, I was ready to be surprised by the first acts of the evening on both stages there, neither of which I had had an opportunity to research properly ahead of time. Seems like Nashvillians Future Thieves already had fans in Austin, as they played to a packed house at the indoor stage, their country-tinged pop hitting the spot. Check out their new single ‘Sucker’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raUArIfY8u0[/youtube]

I then went to check out the backyard stage, where a band had already started their set. Dude with a big beard…hmm… he looks familiar… Then from the stage came “We are Mt. Wolf!” Yep, that’s Sebastian Fox, all right! New York’s Henry Hall had unexpectedly pulled out of the evening, and Mt. Wolf helpfully stepped in to help the hosts fill his slot. That’s another thing that you will oddly find: there will be one or two bands that you’ll see several times during the week without even trying, as if it’s serendipity. While I’ve always imagined Mt. Wolf’s synthy goodness with combined harmonies working well in a club, their sound didn’t quite fit with the American backyard party feel.

This Be the Verse, Scratchouse, Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro showcase, Tuesday 14 March 2017

With the staggered start times, it wasn’t long before the next band on the indoor stage went on Tuesday night. This Be the Verse has already received high accolades and plenty of attention from Kerrang!, which should tell you something about their music immediately. Yes, This Be the Verse is loud, industrial rock music from London, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The comparison to Nine Inch Nails is well deserved. Not for everyone, but I could see our former writer John Fernandez headbanging to their music.

The Dig, Swan Dive, Tuesday 14 March 2017

I popped out briefly from Scratchouse to get a taste of something different and more importantly for this nonsmoker, some air. I ran into my friends, New York band The Dig, as they were loading into Swan Dive for their 10 o’clock show. Bass player and sometimes lead singer Emile Mosseri is now sporting the platinum blond look, and I guess he wanted a different appearance to match their new direction on most recent album ‘Bloodshot Tokyo’, released at the start of February on Roll Call Records. While band member Erick Eiser has played keyboards on their past LPs, a synthesised organ sound is prominent on ‘Bloodshot Toyko’ tracks like ‘Simple Love’, which seems to reflect more whimsy in their songwriting process. It’ll take some time for me to listen to the new LP and compare it with their past releases like ‘Electric Toys’ for me to decide if I like the new direction.

Oscar Key Sung, Swan Dive Patio, Tuesday 14 March 2017 2

Swinging around the corner, I checked out the activity at Swan Dive Patio, where Oscar Key Sung from Melbourne, Australia was setting up. R&b and electronic elements often get mixed together these days into predictable pop formulas, but this artist on my list of best bets of the Aussie acts coming out to SXSW 2017 goes weirder, with amazing result that (probably) only an electronic geek could love. Hiding under a baseball cap, Sung’s grooves and vocals leaned soulful, the tunes feeling much more accessible live than they are presented online.

 
 
 

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. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us