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SXSW 2016: Friday daytime at B.D. Riley’s for the Full Irish Breakfast – 18th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 11th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Over the past 3 years, it’s become my personal SXSW tradition to spend the Friday at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub for the Full Irish Breakfast, hosted by Music From Ireland. Indeed, Music From Ireland has an even longer history of hosting the showcase, as event coordinator Angela Dorgan related to me in this Friday afternoon interview. My chat with Ms. Dorgan was one of several interviews that I would conduct during the course of the day, between sets by a wide variety of Irish artists spanning genres from sweet acoustic folk to hardcore hip-hop.

"Rosie

The first artist on Friday’s bill was Donegal singer/songwriter Rosie Carney, who faced the difficult task of playing her sensitive and subtle songs to a rather groggy crowd who were perhaps more focused on their eggs and coffee than the activity onstage. Her singing voice was in fine form for so early in the day, and though the open stage at BD Riley’s isn’t the optimal venue for acoustic singer/songwriter types, her lilting tones provided a gentle introduction to a showcase that would gain momentum with each successive act.

"Silences

I stepped outside to have this brief chat with Carney after she played, and when I returned, Silences’ frontman Conchúr White had taken the stage. I’d seen White play the day before on the Thursday afternoon Output Belfast showcase at Latitude 30, and his set once again the demonstrated the vast difference between the two venues. While the rowdier crowd and open windows behind the stage at B.D. Riley’s were slightly less receptive to White’s solo set, he managed to make a favorable impression on his audience.

"September

Following Silences’ rather lonely solo set, the stage at B.D. Riley’s became abruptly more crowded with the entrance of Dublin garage rock quintet September Girls. I was glad to catch them this time around, as I missed them previously in 2014, and I’d been tipped off earlier in the week that their new album ‘Age of Indignation’ was not to be missed. As a fan of the Bangles from my early music listening days, I’m naturally intrigued by a band named after their famous Big Star cover, and I’ll be delving more deeply into September Girls’ sound in my upcoming review of the LP. They played an animated set laced with new songs on their Friday afternoon set, and afterward, two of their number graciously gave this interview for your listening pleasure.

"David

Also filling the stage to capacity at B.D. Riley’s were David C Clements and his crew of bandmates, who followed the brash rock of September Girls with an equally intense set of their own. Along with the aforementioned Silences, I’d heard Clements play at the British Music Embassy the day before, and though he played largely the same set list at B.D. Riley’s, I was once again captivated by his heartfelt lyricism and expansive musical style.

Somadrone internal

Next on the schedule was electro/acoustic act Somadrone, aka Neil O’Connor, who Mary had caught earlier in the week at the official Music From Ireland showcase at Maggie Mae’s on the Wednesday night. Though soft-spoken in manner, O’Connor and his drummer Gareth Averill managed to crank up the volume a notch or two during their extended set, which they graciously agreed to play when rapper Rejjie Snow had to pull out of the showcase lineup.

"Enemies

Math rock band Enemies were next to take the stage, and I was so concentrated on their rather consciously intellectual sound that I didn’t immediately recognize drummer Micheál Quinn, who I’d met in this very same place last year when he had appeared in a different context with avant/experimental group Meltybrains? It was revealed during the course of Enemies’ set that Micheál was celebrating his birthday that day, and naturally a chorus of singing and birthday cake ensued. But make no mistake, their pop-tinged single ‘Play Fire’ was equally memorable and upbeat.

"Saint

The afternoon’s trajectory changed slightly with duo act Saint Sister, whose very aptly termed “atmosfolk” gave our ears a welcome moment of respite, switching gears from live drums and wailing guitars to a combination of sweetly-tuned vocals, traditional Celtic harp and modern electronic rhythms. The novelty of seeing a harp on the stage at B.D. Riley’s would have been memorable enough in itself, but the hypnotic quality of Saint Sister’s seemingly anachronous juxtaposition of sounds proved that they are more than just a gimmick. Their music might have been a bit more laid-back than the other acts surrounding them on the Irish Breakfast docket, but as you can hear in my interview with them, they were in high spirits, and the animated energy came through in their performance.

The final act on the Full Irish Breakfast afternoon showcase was Limerick hip-hop trio Rusangano Family (pictured at top), whose new LP ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ was released just last week, along with the video for jazz-tinged album track ‘Lights On’. Their sensational performance in Austin on the Friday of SXSW couldn’t be contained on the small B.D. Riley’s stage, as frontman God Knows leapt out the open window to preach his gospel to the throngs of people on 6th Street, while his bandmates MuRli and DJ mynameisjOhn were left to entertain the madding crowd inside. As you can see in the photos below, even aforementioned Enemies’ drummer Quinn couldn’t resist the urge to snap a few shots of the ecstatic festivities that ended the 2016 Full Irish Breakfast on another epic high.

"Rusangano

Rusangano Family internal 3

 

SXSW 2016: thoughts on Viola Beach and part of Music from Ireland (Wednesday night, part 1) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 4th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

I’ve always loved Wednesday night at SXSW. The initial worries of Tuesday – getting your credentials and seeing your first batch of shows – are over, and the true heart of Austin’s massive music festival is revealed. You’re spolit for choice on what genres and bands to see, and as Carrie described in the start of her post last week on her Wednesday night, it is often a difficult decision of who you should and could be seeing.

In mid-February when we learned of the tragic passing of Warrington indie band Viola Beach in Sweden, I settled on rather quickly that the best ways I knew how to honour their lives were to facilitate our and all our friends to have a good time while in Austin, as well as continue on in the tradition of TGTF in supporting up-and-coming bands much like Viola Beach had been themselves. I asked Carrie to situate herself at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 for Steve Lamacq’s opening presentation to pay tribute to the late Viola Beach, so that one of us would be physically on hand to provide support to our fallen comrades and our friends at the BBC and beyond who championed them. It may make me sound like a total wimp but in all honesty, despite all the tragedy I have seen in my life, I feared being in the room during Lammo’s eulogy. In that very room that had hosted so many great bands, I have witnessed so much magic and so many great moments over the last 5 years, I didn’t think I’d be able to handle myself without blubbering.

Instead, I decided in my quiet and steely determination that Wednesday night would be devoted to seeing indie acts hungry for success like Viola Beach. My first stop was the wonderful Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room, which has seen the Music from Ireland showcase Wednesday night for many, many years. As regular readers of our Web site already know, while I enjoy a great many Irish bands, Carrie is truly the de facto Irish expert of TGTF currently, having churned out the Irish and Northern Irish SXSW showcasing artist list the last 2 years, as well as covering the full Irish breakfast. Knowing that I had other things to attend to Friday afternoon and would not be present for the plethora of Irish acts on show at B.D. Riley’s then, it was just my good luck that they were at the start of the bill at the Gibson Room this night.

Somadrone at the Music from Ireland showcase at Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Producer Neil O’Connor is a man who never stays put too long in one place, and with a hand in many different projects. While he’s part of The Redneck Manifesto, having nothing to do with the negative American stereotype and everything to do with the making of instrumental music as a collection of musicians assembled far back in 1998, the project I came to see this night was his solo project Somadrone, joined live by drummer Gareth Averill and not to be confused by a “modern hard rock” band of the same name from Massachusetts.

I was very excited to see what this one-man band had to offer, given that my introduction to him was via the haunting ‘Invitation’ from his latest album ‘Oracle’ (watch it below). This is the kind of music I love: so many layers and textures, yet holding it all together is an underlying dance beat. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe more beats, more atmosphere? As I stood in front of him, I wondered if Carrie would have been more appropriate to cover his set here, as I was surprised at the more singer/songwriter-y vibe I was getting as he stood onstage playing his guitar, only occasionally messing with his pre-programmed setup. Or maybe it was just too early in the evening and I hadn’t gotten into my groove yet. As O’Connor’s set went on, the energy level increased, but I felt an opportunity to truly inspire the audience had been lost.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/136193953[/vimeo]

Young Hampshire lass Rosie Carney, now calling County Donegal home, shimmered in an unearthly way under the Gibson Room stage lights, looking like a rosy (no pun intended) apparition. Onstage with nothing else but her acoustic guitar, she looked vulnerable, all alone. She has a pretty enough voice and her songs are good, having a gentle fragility, but something I thought that was validated and echoed by other friends who had seen her that week was that she had a pretty dour attitude through her appearances during the week. I don’t know if she herself felt sullen or just shy, but it gave her performance an unsettling, stifling air that may have been appropriate to match the sombre mood of honouring Viola Beach’s memory, but it left me cold.

Rosie Carney at the Music from Ireland showcase at Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, Wednesday at SXSW 2016

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Friday, 11th March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2016 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

As in past years, SXSW 2016 will feature a wide array of artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland who are keen to bring their music to American listeners. This year’s lineup revisits several artists who have graced Austin’s stages in recent memory, including veterans BP Fallon and the Bandits, who were featured last year in our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015, and SXSW 2014 showcasing artists Cian Nugent and September Girls, both of whom have new albums due for release later this spring.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/n6N1cdttSuk[/youtube]

We at TGTF have already covered Belfast singer/songwriter David C Clements in an earlier Bands to Watch article right back here. We also recently highlighted many of the Northern Irish artists on the schedule in editor Mary’s Output Belfast preview, including TGTF alums Girls Names, Portadown’s Jealous of the Birds and her fellow County Armagh act Silences.

Also briefly mentioned in Mary’s Output Belfast preview was alt-folk singer/songwriter Ciaran Lavery, who is shaping up to be one of the most sought-after acts in Austin this year. His back catalogue comprises debut album ‘Not Nearly Dark’ and 2014 EP ‘Kosher’. Having already received support from the PRS for Music Foundation for his upcoming second album ‘Let Bad In’, Lavery hopes to gain a fan base in America ahead of its release in May.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/qhTCR-qQB38[/youtube]

The organizers at SXSW have filed Enemies in the Rock category, but the band describe themselves more accurately as “post-rock meets math-pop”. Their upbeat and slightly jazzy new single ‘Play Fire’ was released last August on Topshelf Records.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/d6PoF97A_FA[/youtube]

Dublin rapper Alex Anyaegbunam is known on stage by the moniker Rejjie Snow. The latest track on his official Soundcloud is ‘Keep Your Head Up’; be warned—it’s smooth and soulful, but its lyrics are not entirely safe for sensitive ears.

Precocious teenaged singer/songwriter Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but now makes her home in County Donegal. She collaborated with SXSW 2014 artist Travis Is a Tourist on his track ‘Little Conversations’, and she’ll appear in Austin as a solo artist this year. The video for her haunting track ‘Better Man’ is just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/hy32Kn3q-B0[/youtube]

The West Ireland trio Rusangano Family comprises “2 MCs and 1 DJ”, according to their Facebook bio. Their politically-charged single ‘Heathrow’ was featured here in America by NPR back in December, and their album ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ is due for release just after SXSW on the 8th of April.

Saint Sister, the duo project of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, combines electro-dream pop and traditional folk sounds. Their debut EP ‘Madrid’ was released last November, and following SXSW, they are scheduled to appear at The Great Escape festival in May.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/YBuzAdPLm3k[/youtube]

The aptly named Irish electronic producer Somadrone specialises in straddling the boundary between popular and classical music. His genre-less, minimalist compositional style is evident in the SXSW-featured single ‘Invitation’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/_lzmhTchVGM[/youtube]

For more information about the Irish and Northern Irish artists at this year’s SXSW, consult the Music from Ireland official Web site, or simply follow TGTF’s ongoing coverage of the festival. We eagerly anticipate seeing most of these showcasing artists live next week!

 
 
 

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.

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