The final days of SXSW showed no let up as we yet again found ourselves running around Austin trying to interview, watch, and photograph every band and artist possible
The two final days of our SXSW trip saw us continue to run around Austin trying to take in everything that the festival has on offer. The Friday saw us keep the momentum whilst Saturday we well and truly burnt ourselves out, we did still manage to witness Sports Team and The Orielles though which was a delightful and entertaining send off.
Another day, another breakfast taco consumed. Our Thursday started like most of our mornings in Austin, Texas, with the warm eggy goodness of a breakfast taco washed down with a bottle of Jarritos (a fizzy pineapple soda). It’s just the hit we need after what has been an incredible but exhausting week so far. With bellies full and content flowing through our bodies we headed to the Scholz Garten (yes, again) to catch the Golden Dregs, but the poster was out of date and thus they were not playing. Misery took over us but the replacement band Floodlights were still a fine watch. The Australian band brought their own yacht rock infused with garage rock to the awaking beer garden, a soft yet exciting entrance to the day.
Next up was a band we had been dying to catch the whole week but kept having scheduling conflicts, the mighty Warmduscher. The disco-infused, party-rock outfit had been talk of the town since they arrived, playing multiple shows and leaving the crowd begging for more with each show. Their mid afternoon slot at the British Music Embassy was no different. It was everything we had expected from the band. It was upbeat, fun, riotous, and boasted a stage presence that would put nearly all artists to shame. Watching Warmduscher is an experience like no other, you cannot help but laugh and smile whilst they tickle you with their raucous sound. It’s no wonder they had become talk of the town and no surprise that they’re fast becoming one of the U.K’s most exciting bands.
After a string of interviews (more on this very soon) we ventured back to our second home, yep you guessed it, the Scholz Garten. This time the energetic Iguana Death Cult were finishing the venues day of entertainment. It was a different experience seeing them during the day, as opposed to our first experience at Hotel Vegas on day one. The band were more lively, ready to rock so to speak and it was great to see. The band opened without hesitation, throwing themselves into their anthemic garage rock sound, in fact, they got going so quick that bongo player and keys enthusiast was late tot eh stage, running through the crowd with beers in hand to the stage. Iguana Death Cult have become a favourite of mine after this festival as their sound and stage presence is truly infectious. It’s clearly a good bunch of mates playing music and having fun, what’s not to love about that? Whatsmore is that their sound is one that demands your attention, reminiscent of Parquet Courts.
After some grub and a few bevvies it was time to catch another band whos shows we kept missing due to our schedules not aligning, English Teacher. A band that I have personally been waiting to see live for a long time and one that is arguably one of the best to come out of the UK in recent years. Their performance at the BME was an interesting one, sound wise they were impeccable, a greatly entertaining band but the delivery felt a little lacklustre, which is more than understandable due to the amount of shows they had played, jet lag, etc. It left me wanting more which is no bad thing either, it just felt like the energy levels were low during this performance. However, I cannot stress enough that musically this band really are something else, a true masterclass in rock music and a band that continues to excite us.
Our next stop was thankfully across the road to the BME and a venue that had become a favourite of ours, Sellers Underground. As part of the Alcopop! showcase the incredible Loose Articles were playing, bringing their frantic, fun, punk sound to the darkened walls of the venue, the perfect place to watch the Manchester based outfit. As expected the bands off-kilter punk sound was thrown around in full force, with the band harnessing a chaotic energy that was wildly infectious. The ferocity didn’t take away from the poignancy of their lyrics either, it was as eye opening yet high-octane show. Loose Articles are arguably one of the best to be doing it right now, a band that everyone must get behind, because to be completely frank it’s nice to hear a working class voice behind the microphone instead of some poncy middle class twat singing about menthol cigarettes. There’s no doubt that Loose Articles are going to be a huge band in the coming years and what we witnessed at SXSW was nothing but proof of the bands ability. Truly, long live Loose Articles.
Saturday saw the team well and truly burn out as the night before was also Paddy’s day in America, so you can only imagine what the fuck that looked like. Anyways, we gave ourselves the day to relax and put our feet up for the first time in what felt like months. It was divine. After plenty of snacking, editing, and a few episodes of Community we made our way into downtown for the last time, a sad experience but we all knew the party had to end at some point. After conducting a few interviews and taking our time through Downtown we made it back to the BME, the vibe was different, a lot of people had flown home, there was a lot of sorry looking faces, and it was clear that perhaps the entire city hit Friday just that bit too hard. Nevertheless, Sports Team came out with all the energy that is expected of one of the UK’s largest guitar bands to date. It was instantly clear that Alex Rice had some things to say, the big grin he donned when stepping on stage was one of a man that was about to cause trouble. And trouble he did cause. The band suffered some technical difficulties, particularly with the sound from the monitors. It was in these moments Alex took to talking to the audience, first off he said “the sound is real shit guys, you would of thought Bowers & Wilkins could sort that out”, he let out a laugh, looked back the band who all were giggling. This was just the beginning. He then looked up to the banner on stage right, talking through the sponsors “Marshall, they’re alright”. Then he noticed Belfast City Council, he let out a huge laugh “Belfast City Council, what the fuck, is anyone from there in the audience?” A few cheers went out and Alex responded “You’re council taxes are paying for this!”
The sound issues seemed to be resolved and the band continued for one or two more songs before Alex stopped and explained; “Sorry guys, we just can’t play like this we can’t hear a thing out the monitors, we may come back when it’s sorted, I don’t know”. It’s always hard to know what’s going on up on stage, but from the audience’s perspective they sounded great. In fact, they had the audience the most lively I’d seen at the BME.
Anyways, after a quick 5 minutes the band came out and finished their set and all seemed well. It was a strange set but technical issues aside Sports Team proved themselves to be one of the best bands to leave the UK in the last decade. They’re an incredible band live and you cannot help but be enamoured with Alex Rice’s cheeky chappie charm. You little rascal Alex, you little bloody rascal.
Next up and the final band we caught at SXSW was The Orielles, another fantastic Manchester based band who are completely destined for great things. The band blend bedroom pop, psychedlia, electronic, and indie rock into one big sound that is diverse as it is expansive. They are one of the few bands who traverse genres with complete ease, making them hard to pin down to a genre, all that I know is that they’re a fantastic live band that are clearly designed for mainstage success, keep an eye on them.
And that was that. We walked home under the city lights if Austin, wondering how our week flew by so quickly. It was an incredible experience that saw me tick multiple things off my bucket list. Not to mention finally get myself back on a plane and travelling after 8 long years being grounded in the UK due to my utter fear of travelling and general anxiety. I will truly never forget the experience we had at SXSW and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving us this huge opportunity, I just hope we proved that we deserved to be there.
I also want to extend a massive thank you to anyone that helped get us out there via our crowdfunder, purchasing a zine, words of encouragement, anything you did all helped. Thank you so so much I will never forget this week for as long as I live.