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SXSW 2015: Lost in Austin Boat Ride – 19th March 2015

 
By on Friday, 3rd April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

On the Tuesday morning of SXSW 2015, Mary and I attended a lovely St. Patrick’s Day brunch on a boat, hosted by Generator NI and Invest Northern Ireland. The following Thursday morning, I made my way once again to the Hyatt Regency Austin boat dock to attend another riverboat brunch showcase, this one curated by none other than Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland, also known as TGTF favourites The Lost Brothers. The lineup for the Thursday morning show, hosted by Honeycomb Creative Works and Generator NI, included several of the artists we’d seen on Tuesday morning but also had a few surprise twists to match the curves and turns along our meandering path down the Colorado River.

After a brief introduction by Honeycomb Creative Works’ Fiona McElroy, The Lost Brothers played the morning’s opening set, including their own folk duets and some particularly well-considered covers, chosen to feature the guest musicians appearing on the brunch showcase. The first addition to the program was Irish violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire, who added his lovely and expressive instrumental timbre to The Lost Brothers’ warm acoustic sound.

Lost Brothers and Colm Mac Con Iomaire 19 March 2015

Leech then introduced another special guest, whose presence was designed to energise the easygoing brunch crowd gathered on the riverboat. Austin-based songwriter and producer Will Sexton, with whom Leech and McCausland had become acquainted on a previous trip to SXSW, joined the group for a delightfully improvisatory set of songs with a very definite blues vibe, including a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Ain’t Leavin’ Your Love’.

Lost Brothers and Will Sexton 19 March 2015

Will Sexton at Lost in Austin 19 March 2015

The mood on the boat then changed once again with a solo performance from Colm Mac Con Iomaire, who treated us to some of the exquisite violin melodies from his new album ‘And Now the Weather’, due out on the 17th of April. Mac Con Iomaire displayed his range and versatility in two contrasting pieces, the broad and soaring ‘Eimar’s Dream’ from his first album ‘The Hare’s Corner’ and the poignantly sad ‘Sappho’s Daughter’, inspired by Irish poet Theo Dorgan. I was able to catch Mac Con Iomaire for a quick chat on Friday during the Full Irish Breakfast at BD Riley’s; the audio for that interview will be posted here on TGTF in the coming days.

Colm Mac Con Iomaire at Lost in Austin 19 March 2015

We took a collective intermission after Mac Con Iomaire’s set, and I headed to the boat’s upper deck to take in the scenery. When I came back down, I found the audience already regrouped for Northern Irish pop quartet GO WOLF and alt-rockers-turned-acoustic-crooners More Than Conquerors. I caught their performances from a slightly different angle than I had on Tuesday morning, while the casual Thursday brunch crowd in the main cabin enjoyed hearing the bands in this unusually quaint setting.

GO WOLF at Lost in Austin 19 March 2015

More Than Conquerors at Lost in Austin 19 March 2015

As the riverboat headed back to the Hyatt Regency dock, The Lost Brothers took the stage area once more, this time accompanied by a new acquaintance, Austin’s own Will Webster, better known locally as Ragtime Willie. Webster had the opportunity to regale us with his skills on both banjo and fiddle during this final spontaneous set of tunes with Leech, McCausland and Mac Con Iomaire.

Ragtime Willie at Lost in Austin 19 March 2015

Ever the gracious hosts, The Lost Brothers finished out the morning by accepting a request for an encore performance of their charming version of ‘Moon River’. Those of you reading along in the UK might have a chance to hear this lovely cover yourselves, as The Lost Brothers are set to begin a run of April tour dates supporting fellow TGTF friends Stornoway on select dates.

 

SXSW 2015: St. Patrick’s Day Brunch on a Boat with Generator NI – 17th March 2015

 
By on Friday, 27th March 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

At the close of the Creative Belfast showcase on Monday night, editor Mary and I were invited to attend a special St. Patrick’s Day Brunch on a Boat, sponsored by Generator NI and Invest Northern Ireland. The boat launched from the Hyatt Regency Austin boat dock and floated down the Colorado River for a couple of idyllic hours on Tuesday morning, while we were treated to muffins, mimosas and intimate, scaled back performances by several of the showcasing bands from the previous evening.

The first artist to perform on the brunch lineup was Hannah McPhillimy, who is the keyboard player for Belfast pop band GO WOLF, but who is also a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. She performed a brief set of her own tracks, showing her versatility by switching from the ukulele to the keyboard for her accompaniment. I was enchanted by the sweetness of McPhillimy’s voice and by the very different songwriting style in her solo work compared to that of GO WOLF, so I was well pleased when she agreed to an interview with me at the end of the boat ride. (You can take a listen to her interview here, if you haven’t already.)

Hannah McPhillimy at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

McPhillimy was assisted by her GO WOLF colleague Scott Jamison during part of her solo set, and at the end of her performance, the full band came up to take their turn on the stage. The vivid synth pop we had heard from GO WOLF at the British Music Embassy the night before mellowed easily in this quieter setting, matching the cordially relaxed mood on the small open air boat.

GO WOLF at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

Perhaps the most breathtaking performance of the morning was by alt-rock quartet More Than Conquerors, who in a rather unexpected stylistic transformation, appeared here as an acoustic trio. Kris Platt’s strident vocals, which cut so well through the band’s full electric sound at Latitude 30 the previous night, were softened and delicately harmonised by drummer Jamie Neish and guitarist Danny Ball, while bassist Danny Morton looked on from the small back deck of the boat. I was surprised, to say the least, to hear this band sound so lovely in an acoustic setting, but the sensitive performance of ‘The Great Deceiver’ we heard here is evidently a mainstay in the band’s live repertoire, though it hasn’t appeared on any of their recorded releases to date.

More Than Conquerors at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

The final act on the brunch’s music lineup was a somewhat more predictable choice, folk duo The Lost Brothers. Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech were clearly in their element playing to a small room of quiet listeners, performing from a seated position and tapping their toes in unison with one another as they sang. They took the opportunity to show off their seamless vocal harmonies with a lovely performance of ‘Under the Turquoise Sky’ and closed the curtain on the morning’s festivities with a charming cover of ‘Moon River’ as the boat headed back into the dock.

The Lost Brothers at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

Special thanks to Mark from Generator NI for inviting us along on the Tuesday morning river cruise. Stay tuned to TGTF in the coming days for coverage of another river-related event from later in the SXSW 2015 week.

 

SXSW 2015: Creative Belfast Showcase at Latitude 30 – 16th March 2015

 
By on Thursday, 26th March 2015 at 10:00 am
 

I arrived in Austin for SXSW 2015 on Monday the 16th of March, a day that fell at the crossroads between the end of Interactive festival and the official beginning of Music festival. As in the past, this intersectional Monday night was the scheduled date for the Creative Belfast showcase hosted by the British Music Embassy and Generator NI. More than a simple networking opportunity for the Northern Irish contingent at SXSW, the showcase was also set to feature three of the best up-and-coming music acts from Belfast and its environs as well as one of the area’s seminal punk bands, recently reborn to the modern era.

Opening the musical activities for the evening were folk duo The Lost Brothers, comprised of Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland. Their flawless vocal harmonies and poetic lyricism draw more than a passing comparison to the famed American pair Simon and Garfunkel, winning the attention of NPR here in the States and the BBC back across the pond. The Lost Brothers’ most recent LP release ‘New Songs of Dawn and Dust’ (reviewed here by editor Mary) expands slightly on the sparse instrumentation of their traditional Americana style, but on this night the pair depended solely on the blend of their voices and acoustic guitars. Luckily for those of us in the audience, that enchanting combination is all The Lost Brothers really need in order to demonstrate their expressive artistry and finely tuned craftsmanship.

The Lost Brothers at Creative Belfast 16 Mar SXSW 2015

Following The Lost Brothers’ set, the night’s emcee, Mark Gordon of Generator NI, announced a special guest addition to the music lineup. With a plea for silent attention, Gordon introduced the youthful and delicate Derry singer/songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson, known professionally as SOAK. Reserved almost to the point of shyness, SOAK nevertheless possesses a quiet confidence on stage that belies her youthful age. She chooses to let her songs speak (or perhaps sing) for themselves, and from the moment she began, her audience listened raptly. I didn’t immediately engage with SOAK’s singing voice when I listened to her debut single ‘Blud’ early last year, but the fragile grace of her vocal sound in live performance, combined with her deeply introspective lyrical style, left a much stronger impression in my mind on this occasion. Watch for her upcoming debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ on Rough Trade later this year.

SOAK at Creative Belfast 16 Mar SXSW 2015

Following SOAK’s quietly triumphant SXSW debut, the British Music Embassy stage played host to Belfast indie pop quartet Go Wolf. Having just released a new EP titled ‘Running’, they played an enthusiastic and irresistibly danceable set including the eponymous track featured in our SXSW preview of artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Before the evening kicked off at Creative Belfast, I had a chance to chat with Go Wolf’s frontman Scott Jamison about the EP; head this way to hear what he had to say. Go Wolf’s trippy beats and bright synth sounds were a welcome burst of energy at this point in the evening, raising the level of excitement in the room for the acts still to come on the lineup.

Go Wolf at Creative Belfast 16 March SXSW 2015

Raising the decibel level in the room was left to More Than Conquerors, who turned out to be more than up to the task. Their hard-hitting alt-punk set naturally included recent single ‘Red’ as well as tracks from their debut LP ‘Everything I’ve Learnt’. Frontman Kris Pratt’s vocals rose above the raucous volume level of their sound, hinting at a strong melodic foundation that Mary and I would see on display in an acoustic setting later in the week; be sure to watch TGTF for more on More Than Conquerors at SXSW 2015.

More Than Conquerors at Creative Belfast 16 Mar SXSW 2015

Segueing from modern alt-punk to a classic 70’s punk sound, veteran Belfast band Protex are seeing a resurgence of interest after some of their original Polydor recordings were discovered and re-released by New York’s Sing Sing Records in 2010. Originally formed in 1978 after The Clash’s historic visit to Belfast, Protex were quickly signed to Polydor after releasing singles on Rough Trade and Terri Hooley’s Good Vibrations label. The band officially split up in 1981, but have reformed with a new lineup including original member Aidan Murtagh along with Norman Boyd, John Rossi, and Gordie Walker. Aside from providing their audience with an opportunity to look back on the history of rock music in Belfast, Protex showed above all that they still have the rock ‘n’ roll chops to share a stage with younger up-and-coming talent as they brought the Creative Belfast showcase to a blistering close with hit track ‘Don’t Ring Me Up.’

Protex at Creative Belfast 16 Mar SXSW 2015

At the end of the evening, Mary and I had a quick chat with Mark and were fortunate enough to be invited to a St. Patrick’s Day brunch with their team the following morning. Several of the bands featured above played at that event in a setting quite different to the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. Keep it here at TGTF for coverage of the St. Patrick’s Day brunch to be posted soon.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 at 11:15 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2015 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Today’s installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015 previews showcasing bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland. This year’s acts are predominantly rock-oriented, with a few notable exceptions, including a pair of exceptional singer/songwriters and representation in the festival’s dance and avant garde/experimental categories as well.

All Tvvins (rock) – Dublin-based Conor Adams and Lar Kaye premiered their debut single ‘Thank You’ on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show back on the 10th of February. If you missed it, you can hear the relentless energy of the guitar and bass riffs under paired lyrical couplets building slowly to the climactic final lines “I may hate you, I thank you” in this live video recorded for Press Record Asylum Sessions.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/noesFmUw0Wc[/youtube]

BP Fallon (rock) – BP Fallon released his first album ‘Still Legal’ in 2013 with backing band The Bandits. The album came after a lifelong career in the music business, including jobs as a disc jockey, photographer, writer, publicist and manager. Fallon has recently released a new LP ‘Live In Texas’, which includes the single ‘I’m Still Legal’, streaming below.

Buffalo Sunn (rock) – this quintet comprises Daniel Paxton, (songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist), his brother Conor (bass and pedal steel), Patrick McHugh (guitar and backing vocals), Jimmy Cullen (keyboards and backing vocals) and Donagh O’Brien (drums). The group describe themselves on their Facebook page as “a cosmic reverb rock band”. Their album ‘By The Ocean By The Sea’ was released in Ireland last October, with subsequent release in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In the surreal video for ‘By Your Side’, frontman Paxton confronts past, present and future versions of himself.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/LnhKniNclg4[/youtube]

Dott (rock) – the Galway garage pop quartet have recently premiered the video for last year’s featured single ‘Small Pony’ (watch it below). According to their Facebook page, they are currently working on their next studio recording, which will include a track called ‘Beautiful Face’. Perhaps a preview of that song will be on their set list in Austin next month. TGTF coverage from Dott’s appearance at SXSW 2014 can be found here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1nM6Wb6yUE[/youtube]

Fight Like Apes (pop) – this Dublin-based five-piece are best known for their quirky humour and verbose titles, for example, their last studio album ‘The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner’. SXSW organisers have filed them under “pop”, but I lean toward the heavier alt-rock label for their sound. Their Facebook page indicates they are planning to release details of an upcoming third album in the near future. In the meantime, have a listen to ‘Jenny Kelly’ below.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/8IQUxXvnZ88[/youtube]

Girl Band (punk) – as far as I can tell, there isn’t a single girl in this band, but so much for truth in advertising. Comprised of Dara Kiely, Daniel Fox, Alan Duggan and Adam Faulkner, this Dublin-based four-piece signed to Rough Trade Records back in December. Melding a hint of blues with their progressive post-punk, Girl Band looks like an upgrade from last year’s heavily-hyped quartet The Strypes.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/nqxe3NZKYL0[/youtube]

Go Wolf (pop) – Go Wolf will launch a new EP titled ‘Running’ just before their trip to Austin. The release launch will see the Belfast synth-pop quartet play a hometown show on the 6th of March, also featuring TGTF and SXSW alumnus Travis Is A Tourist. You can stream the uptempo title track from Go Wolf’s EP just below.

James Vincent McMorrow (singer/songwriter) – January 2014 saw the release of McMorrow’s album ‘Post Tropical’, which marked a very deliberate change in direction from his previous acoustic folk rock style. The video for the album’s smooth r&b-tinged single ‘Cavalier’ is the first in a three-part series about “the heartbreak of a boy in a small town”.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/78293068[/vimeo]

Le Galaxie (dance) – the self-described “grids vs. guitars” quartet have recently signed to Universal Music Ireland and plan to release their next album ‘Le Club’ in April. Recent single ‘Carmen’, streaming below, features vocals by MayKay of the aforementioned Fight Like Apes.

Meltybrains? (avant/experimental) – according to their Facebook page, “Meltybrains? are a 5-piece, experimental, electronic band, based in Dublin, Ireland. Their sound is quite at odds with much of what is on offer from the music scene, yet takes its inspiration from hip-hop, IDM, rock and contemporary classical music, among other things.” Have a listen to their recent single ‘IV’ and judge for yourself.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/E2Dv9qPEGb8[/youtube]

More Than Conquerors (rock) – TGTF recently featured the video for More Than Conquerors’ upcoming single ‘Red’ as a Video of the Moment. The single itself is due for release on the 2nd of March, just as More Than Conquerors begin a brief UK headline tour ahead of their SXSW appearance.

Orla Gartland (pop) – this Dublin-based pop songstress first gained attention by posting videos of cover songs on YouTube. Gartland is currently unsigned to a record label, but her second EP ‘Lonely People’ is available digitally on iTunes and Amazon. In a nod to her humble YouTube beginnings, Gartland solicited fan-submitted clips for the EP’s title track video, which you can watch just below.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FiKXjTUESPo[/youtube]

Protex (punk) – inspired by The Clash’s historic visit to Belfast in 1977, punk band Protex was originally active in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, splitting up in 1981 after releasing singles on Good Vibrations, Rough Trade, and Polydor. Original members Aidan Murtagh and David McMaster reformed the band in 2010 after a New York record label unearthed and re-released some of their old Polydor recordings. Protex’s current line up comprises Murtagh (guitar/vocals), Norman Boyd (guitar/backing vocals), John Rossi (bass/backing vocals) and Gordie Walker (drums).

SOAK (singer/songwriter) – Derry native and skateboard enthusiast Bridie Monds-Watson has already been featured as part of editor Mary’s preview of the SXSW 2015 BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation showcase. SOAK’s first EP ‘Blud’ was released last year on Goodbye Records, but she has recently signed to Rough Trade for her first LP release, scheduled for later this year.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/EwmeF9aDy20[/youtube]

Walking On Cars (rock) – the Dingle indie pop quintet signed to Virgin EMI Records last year for the release of their EP ‘Hand In Hand’. They have a busy spring schedule ahead of them, including headline dates in Ireland and the UK in March prior to their trip to America for SXSW. Following is the video for their recent single ‘Always Be With You’.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/dzk9GPpfyv8[/youtube]

We here at TGTF will be bringing you even more preview coverage of SXSW 2015 in the coming weeks leading up to the big week in Austin in March. To catch up on any of our past reporting or if you want to keep an eye on our coverage as it continues, head this way.

 

More Than Conquerors / February and March 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 25th February 2015 at 9:00 am
 

SXSW 2015 showcasing artists More Than Conquerors will take a brief spin around the UK before heading to Austin next month. The tour will start in London at the end of this week and wrap up in the band’s hometown of Belfast on the 11th of March. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Check out the promo for ‘Red’, their first single in 2015 to be released on the band’s own label Oil Tape Records on the 2nd of March, in this previous Video of the Moment.

Friday 27th February 2015 – London Garage
Sunday 1st March 2015 – Glasgow Nice and Sleazy’s
Wednesday 4th March 2015 – Leicester Soundhouse
Friday 6th March 2015 – Gosport Clarence Tavern
Saturday 7th March 2015 – Liverpool Blade Factory
Wednesday 11th March 2015 – Belfast Limelight 2

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1744: More Than Conquerors

 
By on Monday, 16th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

We’re about to get hit by our first big snowstorm of the season here at TGTF Towers, so things are a bit sleepy here. If you’re suffering through the first working or school day of the week, then we’ve just got the ticket for you to knock you out of your winter doldrums, and straight from Belfast. With their punishing style of alt rock, More Than Conquerors wowed the audience at the Generator NI night at Kazimier Gardens at Liverpool Sound City 2014; read my Day 1 roundup here.

Now the Belfast lads are readying for their SXSW 2015 closeup next month in Austin. Have a listen to the huge guitars and powerful vocals and watch below to the promo for ‘Red’, More Than Conquerors’ first single in 2015. ‘Red’ will be released on the band’s own Oil Tape Records on the 2nd of March.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDUMd4rjMgM[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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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