We’ve been busy running the entire length of Austin covering the best music it has to offer and it’s safe to say days 3 + 4 have not disappointed
As you’ve probably noticed there has been a slight delay in our daily round-ups, mostly because we’ve been running from one end of the city to the other. Our objective is to bring you the best in what we discover and golly gosh have we got some treats for you!
As our weakened bodies and dreary eyes dragged us through the concrete streets of Austin we found ourselves swinging from venue to venue. Most of our time was spent at the British Music Embassy (BME) which continued to boast the very best in British music. Opening the day was Jaz Karis, the R&B artist that helped lift our jet-lagged souls. She confidently took to the stage, pushing her groovey, immaculate vibes into the adoring audience. It’s hard to beleive she wasn’t a headliner, she acted with the confidence of an artist that has been doing this for way longer than her young age. It’s early doors for this artist but it’s clear to see that Jaz has chops grow into a huge artist.
Following was arguably one of the highlights of the whole SXSW, Prima Queen. A band that are graceful yet powerful, pushing forward with relenting energy and songwriting that will pull at your heartstrings. It’s truly very hard to not be under their spell, especially during their live show. Their stage presence is also something to be adored, they have such commanding confidence and have such an infectious presence. You almost feel like your on stage with them and you’re part of their experience, it’s truly an experience every music fan should seek out. Prima Queen are going to be huge, there is no doubt about it and their shows at SXSW have solidified this.
The BME continued to boast the best of British with Lime Garden adorning the stage next. This was yet ANOTHER example of the strength of the British music scene. Back Home Lime Garden are fast becoming one of the most popular indie-rock bands and their showcase was evidence to as why. They played their hit tracks ‘Clockwork’, ‘Marbles’, and ‘Sick & Tired’. All of which were filled with their energetic sound and laissez-faire delivery. It’s delightfully alluring and has you on tender hooks for the next note.
A quick walk around the block took us to The Velveeta Room where we caught Gay Meat, a pop-punk outfit that was delightfully nostalgic yet fresh. It was a nice change from the indie we had been chowing down on throughout SXSW. They were a new discovery but one we will now be watching closely, and you should too.
We also managed to snag performances from Folly Group, who continue to silently be one of the best bands in the UK, it’s for sure in no time that these guys are going to be huge, they’re just clearly waiting for their time to strike. One artist that did take us by surprise was Girli, an artist that harnesses an intense amount of energy, a hyper-pop experience that has elements of rave culture too. Her glowing pink hair and attire also made her a visual treat, especially as she frantically made her way across the stage, getting the crowd hyped up. It was an exceptional performance.
Finishing our day off was the ever incredible Dream Wife, a band we first saw in 2016 (roughly) at Knee Deep Festival, Cornwall. Since that time the band has had an incredibly successful career (hate that phrase, ew).However, the band has gone from strenght to strenght since their beginning, becoming one of the UK’s most important, and most sought after rock bands. To see them after all these years of growth and nearly three albums deep was a truly exciting moment and to say the band didn’t disappoint would be an understatement.
Day four was a day of dreams, a day where the pilgrimage became complete. We will get to this in due time though. Day four started at the incredible Australia House, the home of Australian music at SXSW. The weather had taken a turn, a muggy yet rainy experience was had but this didn’t dampen the spirits of ourselves or any of the artists showcasing. Just before they went on to play a friend of ours had informed us of a possible tornado warning, adding an element of fear and excitement to our trip that I certianly wasn’t expecting. With this fresh information on my head I got ready to photograph the first band of the day, King Stingray.
The band’s performance came off the back off winning the Australian Music Prize, the countries own version of the Mercurys. King Stingray has members that are aboriginal and live in what the band described as “remote” and the “bush”, yet even though the band were far from home, and probably very tired their performance was an energetic, fascinating, and hypnotic experience. If there was proof needed why this band was award winning then this show was it. Their sound infused so many different genres, bringing forward rock, psychedelic, and traditional aboriginal elements, creating a real mixing pot of a sound. The many elements that they play with so masterfully truly makes them one of Australia’s most important bands, it was a pleasure and an honour to have witnessed them live.
After their performance the weather started to clear up yet this didn’t stop Jaguar Jonze from bringing the thunder. She stepped out donning a orange and black one piece and instantly dominated the stage with her powerful presence. The music flew at the listener like a wave of alt-rock, pop, and a dash of pop-punk. It was an eclectic mix of sounds that all provided a high-octane experience. It was only roughly 1pm but this didn’t matter, Jaguar Jonze played like it was a 9pm set at the local venue, it was the injection of energy we all needed.
Strutting their way to the stage next was Salarymen (not celery men). The band confidently made their way to the stage all donned in their various fashions of the 70’s, with bassist Renee de la Motte wearing a striking two piece embroidered suit. Their sound matched the outfits with a pleasant wave of indie-psychedlia oozing from the speakers. Their music is effortlessly cool just like the band members creating it. Although the band have only been together since 2019, they have the sound of a band ready to take on the world, after bearing witness to their live show, we have no doubt that this is round the corner. It’s a mellow sound that is daringly infectious and infuses the best of modern music with a retrospective sound, what’s not to love?
After a string of interviews (more on this soon) we made our way back home to decompress the amazing Thursday we were having, a break that wouldn’t last long as we hurried back into the streets for Personal Trainer at Scholz Garten, a German inspired bar and beer garden. The fact that you can watch one of Europe’s fastest rising bands in a beer garden tucked away just before downtown Austin is truly what makes this festival so special. The band had just come off the back of a sold out UK tour and now we got to experience it in a semi-busy beer garden, it was a real treat.
The band were in true form, with lead singer Willem Smit throwing himself around the stage, whilst the other 6 members remained in place, pouring out their technical, fast paced sound. It was a juxtaposition from the calm and collected Smit we met a few days before for an interview. Much like their sound it was a captivating show, one that was daringly fun, entertaining, and most certianly wild. For those that are attending the Cornwall show (that we are hosting) then you are in for a REAL treat.
After a few golden brews in the Scholz Garten we made our way back into Downtown to catch a band that has been in our consciousness for a long time, Death Valley Girls. The band found themselves playing at Idle Hands for the Dillon T. Pickle’s SXSW Throwdown, which featured bands such as Thick, English Teacher, and Avalanche Party. We got to their set a few minute slate but the party was well and truly underway, Death Valley Girls punk rock sound filling the street and the tiny space in which they occupied. It was a riotous performance that saw all members dancing and bouncing around stage which was in line with the crowd, a place where frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden found herself in regularly. Prancing around the show was a human sized pickle (in costume) that was regularly found dancing around. At one point the young pickle joined them onstage, making for a hilarious experience and one that I certianly wasn’t expecting.
Following from this was the Italian Music Showcase, hosted at The Stay Put, a semi-traditional western inspired bar. Inside was the cream of the crop of Italian music but one band in particular was really taking our fancy, Big Mountain County. Having heard a few of their tracks prior to the festival I was eager to catch this band in a live setting. Their show did not disappoint in the slightest. The band came on stage and instantly filled the room with their kraut-rock/psych rock vibes. They were another band that had a phenomenal stage presence, with their lead singer throwing himself around the stage and invading the crowd. During their performance, a particular pulsing track (i think it was ‘What?’) the storm of a century rolled in (or at least it felt that way for this little Englander). The psychedelic beats traversed the room all the while outside nature was having its own jam, lightning filled the sky, pops of white flash could be seen throughout. It was as if there was some sort of Star Wars style space battle happening above our very heads. It was a transcendent experience to be revelling in the power of live music whilst the power of mother nature exploded above us. It is a moment that I will never forget and one that will solidify my SXSW experience.
Finally, our night was nearing the closing hours, it had been an intense day of live music, interviews, and beers. The moment was close, the real reason I was at SXSW. I was about to watch the Osees perform at Hotel Vegas. A band that have shaped the very person I am today, a band that i first discovered back in 2013 via a Youtube video of them playing in a carpark at SXSW. 10 years on and the dream of seeing them at SXSW was realised. The storm had caused some havoc at Hotel Vegas’ patio where the band were meant to play. Due to the high winds and safety they venue was actually emptied and closed only to be reopen a couple of hours later. This meant that the Osees original time of 12:15am was pushed to 1:15am, the wait was completely worth it. After much deliberation and preparation from the ever busy sound techs the band set themselves up, blasted off one or two line checks and flew into ‘Mountain’, the entire venue exploded into cheers, the crowd in unison jumping around, crowdsurfers flung themselves into the audience in rotation, one guy missed me by an inch, spearing the person behind me. It was carnage, I had never seen anything like it in my life, it was awesome. The song closed and John Dwyer’s revererbed microphone announced to the crowd “Okay folks, the weather has changed somethings so we will just be playing the hits”. Music to mine and the entire crowds ears who are all clearly big fans of the band. It also meant that this crowd got treated to an experience that no other across their four shows at the Hotel Vegas got. This was a special moment. The band blasted through a variety of tracks such as ‘If I Had My Way’, ‘The Dream’, ‘Nite Expo’, and more. It was an exploration through the bands vast and expansive catalogue.
The night came to a close and the pilgrimage was truly complete. I laid on my bed for an hour buzzing with excitement and pure joy. This will go down in my memory as the best day of my silly little music journalism life.
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