SXSW 2012: Day 5 – Northern Day showcase at Latitude 30 – 17th March 2012

By on Friday, 6th April 2012 at 1:00 pm

Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March. The last full day of bands at SXSW, and I give myself the reward of a lie-in, however slight. Local friends ferry me to the best photography show in town, as something’s been wrong with my camera lens since Friday afternoon. Diagnosis isn’t good – there’s something wrong with the lens and the manufacturer needs to open it – but I rush back to Latitude 30 to catch the start of the Northern Day showcase. Ghosting Season from Manchester begins the showcase. As with D/R/U/G/S at the PRS brunch yesterday, I started out skeptical. But then Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale broke out the guitars. How many electronica acts do you know who bring out the axes during a show?

Usually, I get bored with the regular run of the mill electronica artistes, lost in their own world, too busy fiddling around with switch and knobs to notice that the audience is there and indeed, they are there to equally entertain the audience as they are to entertain themselves. I didn’t expect to, but I loved these guys. You could tell by the way they moved their bodies – in front of their tables full of magical boxes and consoles – that they “got” the rhythm, that the rhythm moved them, that this wasn’t a phoned-in performance. Manchester, thanks for nurturing this duo of mad beats.

Next up was Polarsets, who I interviewed (well, the two-thirds of them with IDs) yesterday at B.D. Riley’s. What I found very interesting talking to James and Mike the day before was how they described their hometown at Whitley Bay as having a tropical atmosphere. Their song ‘Madrid’ is a great example of this. Below, watch them perform ‘Morning’.

Sadly, Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s visa was not approved in time for SXSW, so I did not get to catch him in Austin. I also had to book it from Latitude 30 to the convention centre to meet Zulu Winter, for what would be their final press engagement of SXSW 2012. (Watch the interview here.) After a drink break at a nearby sports bar and a very delayed hamburger delivery, I hiked it back to Latitude 30 to catch Dutch Uncles finish out the Northern Day showcase. ‘Cadenza’ was billed as “our most Irish sounding song” and the crowd was invited to jig along with the band. Watch their spirited performance of ‘Face-In’ below.

What definitely was the strangest moment of the day (and perhaps my entire SXSW experience) was when Daniel Bedingfield came strolling down the alley behind the venue. He evidently had no idea who Dutch Uncles were and was not buying singer Duncan Wallis’s eloquent explanation of the origin of their band name. After making some lame jokes that cannot be repeated in a family newspaper, he went on his way. Shortly thereafter, flamboyant Semi Precious Weapons lead singer Justin Tranter pranced his way down the alley past us, on high heels. Whatever happens in Austin, stays in Austin…?

More high-res photos of the Northern Day showcase can be viewed on my Flickr.

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4 Responses

1:33 pm
6th April 2012

very nice pics. strange day to be fair? I very much wanted to see Therapy and Benjamin Francis Leftwich as advertised – wish they could stick to the programme! but ended up really enjoying Dutch Uncles. Saw them a few times at Latitude.

1:53 am
8th April 2012

definitely a strange mish-mash of acts. (the PRS brunch and Huw Stephens’ showcases too.) I don’t know about you but I was kind of taken aback that most of the people attending were Brits. I was hoping for more Americans? (or was I being too optimistic?)

4:48 pm
10th April 2012

Indeed. Too many repeat bands too. Dutch Uncles must have played four times at the venue? Vibe was no where near as good as previous years. The Northern Day hardly had any acts at all and seemed to lack delegates

5:33 pm
10th April 2012

The Scottish showcases were very well organised so I don’t think it was the British Music Embassy as a whole. I wonder if part of the problem was several bands/acts (like Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Maverick Sabre) pulled out last minute? What I thought was disappointing was although I tried my best to promote the events at Latitude 30 since I run a UK blog but am American, I reckon the people who attended the events already had it in their minds to attend, and those that didn’t weren’t bothered, which was a problem.

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