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SXSW 2016: more from the British Music Embassy, plus Roo Panes Wednesday afternoon (part 2) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Catch up on part 1 of our Wednesday afternoon coverage of SXSW 2016 here.

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming on this post. Carrie and I headed to FLOODfest early to catch Everything Everything, and I hung around to interview their guitarist Alex Robertshaw after they played there, also managing to catch a bit of next act Haelos, but Carrie had already left to see the start of at the British Music Embassy. I turned up later to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. Got all that? Good. Carrie’s contributions to this piece are marked below.

Switching gears from a seasoned pro in the business showing the youngsters how it’s done (Jane Weaver), the bill then turned to two much younger acts. Banners, aka Liverpool singer/songwriter Mike Nelson and band, was clearly the standout performance of the afternoon. The lanky Northerner brought swagger and energy into the British Music Embassy with his well-crafted pop melodies.

Banners British Music Embassy Wednesday SXSW 2016

Single ‘Start a Riot’ caused hearts to swell with its gentle yet powerful message, while the driving tribal beats of and the singalong qualities of ‘Shine a Light’ were reminiscent of Bastille’s successful maiden SXSW appearance at the very same venue 3 years before. Both songs appear on Banners’ self-titled EP released in January, an admirable musical appetizer of pop hits ahead of his debut album that he told me in a chat after his performance will hopefully see the light of day this summer. Fingers crossed!

Blaenavon are an indie rock trio with ties to the town of Liss in Hampshire. Yet confusingly, their band name is identical to a Welsh town and World Heritage Site in southeastern Wales. While we didn’t get a chance to ask the Transgressive signees about this disconnect while they were in Austin, the “three boys with a story” have that air of mystery and intrigue mixed with darkness, which explains NME drawing comparisons between them and Wild Beasts and WU LYF. By 5 in the afternoon after my two interviews outside, the venue was packed out and I could not get back in. However, two girls stood at the doorway, singing along to every word to songs I assume appeared on the band’s 2013 ‘Koso’ EP, now imprinted forever in these girls’ brains.

Of what I did hear, I was sufficiently impressed with singer Ben Gregory’s guitar chops live, which I found an interesting contrast to his playing of an acoustic guitar as the band filmed ‘Dragon’ recently for Burberry Acoustic. One wonders if Gregory ever considered going in a direction more like their fellow Transgressive act and folk singer Johnny Flynn, as the deep timbre of their voices are similar. Food for thought.

Carrie: While Mary was busy at the British Music Embassy, I headed south across the Colorado River to the Hyatt Regency Austin to interview folk singer/songwriter Roo Panes. The rather dashing Mr. Panes and I had a nice chat on the hotel patio, which you can listen to right back here, even witnessing a riverboat show passing us by in the course of the conversation. We then headed inside to the lobby, where he played a charming solo acoustic showcase to a mellow but very attentive audience. I was glad to hear him mix in a few of his older songs with the ones I already knew from his recent album ‘Paperweights’, even including an off-the-cuff performance of a track from his 2012 EP ‘Once’ called ‘I’ll Move Mountains.’

Roo Panes at the Hyatt Regency Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Our busy Wednesday afternoon was punctuated by only a brief stop for dinner ahead of an equally action-packed Wednesday night schedule. Stay tuned to TGTF for more of our SXSW 2016 coverage in the coming days.

 

SXSW 2016: early bits of FLOODfest and the British Music Embassy Wednesday afternoon (part 1) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming of Wednesday afternoon’s coverage. With First Lady Michelle Obama throwing Music conference panel schedules off at the convention center and not knowing when the panels I had penciled in for the afternoon would actually start, I cut my losses and met Carrie for the start of the afternoon at FLOODfest at Cedar Street Courtyard. I hung around to interview Alex Robertshaw of Everything Everything after they played there and also managed to catch a bit of the next act, but Carrie had already left to see The People The Poet at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 for the first time, as she’d missed them last year. Interview done and dusted, I turned up to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. ::heavy breaths, cough, wheeze:: Our individual contributions to this piece are marked below.

Everything Everything FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayCarrie: Mary and I missed opening act Deap Vally but we arrived at FLOODfest in plenty of time to see a band we were both interested in, Manchester’s Everything Everything. Having never seen the band play live myself, I wasn’t sure what to expect from their performance. They turned out to be a great choice for our first band of the day, upbeat and energetic despite the pesky technical issues that would plague them for the rest of the week. The Austin heat didn’t deter the Mancunian art-rockers from wearing their flambuoyant matching jackets, but the bright Texas sun did force them to perform in what might be called “accidentally stylish” sunglasses through most of the set. They leaned hard on their current album ‘Get to Heaven’, sandwiching old favourites ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Don’t Try’ in between the newer numbers.

Mary: If seeing Everything Everything in the blinding sun and blistering heat felt incongruous, can you imagine how out of place Hælos‘ performance must have looked? The act signed to Matador Records have a little bit of everything in their sound: a little pop, a little soul, a little trip-hop, a little experimental. This kind of music demands a darkened club atmosphere. Comparisons to the xx because they utilise harmonising male and female vocals well further bolster this argument for a shadowy, mysterious stage setup.

Haelos FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayLucky for them, they didn’t suffer from the same technical issues as Everything Everything did, which probably explains why they looked completely poised and on their game when their set began. On paper, this is the kind of band I should like, so I guess you should blame the oppressive heat beating down from above that I really had trouble getting into the mood for their music. Expect a better review of them very soon, as I had an opportunity to see them again at the nighttime (the right time!) Friday Clash Magazine / PPL showcase at the British Music Embassy, where they were truly in their element.

The People the Poet at the British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Carrie: After Everything Everything’s set, I hurried to the British Music Embassy to catch The People The Poet on Mary’s recommendation. As usual, her suggestion that I’d like the Welsh rockers was right on target. Their full-bodied rock sound and Leon Stanford’s rough-around-the-edges lead vocals were just to my taste, and I couldn’t resist introducing myself to full-bearded guitarist Tyla Campbell after their set to tell him so. The People The Poet’s latest single ‘Club 27’ was due for its first play on BBC Radio 1 only hours after this performance, but technically, we heard it first!

Jane Weaver at British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Following The People The Poet on the BME stage was electro-pop artist Jane Weaver, who we initially previewed in a Bands to Watch feature right back here. I knew I might not get to stay for Weaver’s entire set, as I was due to switch places with Mary at that point in the day, but after learning the history of Weaver’s career in the course of writing the aforementioned preview, I was intrigued, especially by her recent album release ‘The Silver Globe’. I was gratified to hear the hypnotic psych-pop of current single ‘I Need a Connection’ before I had to dash off across the river to the Hyatt Regency Austin, and Mary was lucky enough to get this interview with the magical Ms. Weaver later in the afternoon.

Keep an eye on TGTF for part 2 of our tag-team coverage of Wednesday afternoon’s activities, coming soon to a computer screen or mobile device near you!

 

SXSW 2015 Interview: Avid Dancer

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

The Wednesday of SXSW 2015 week marked the opening of the inaugural FLOODfest at SXSW showcase at Cedar Street Courtyard in downtown Austin. Although I previewed the 4-day, 3-night set of events, I was only able to attend the Wednesday afternoon show, which opened with percussionist-turned-singer/songwriter Avid Dancer, known offstage as Jacob Dillan Summers.

Summers has an unusual and interesting history leading to the fairly recent start of his music career, including a strict religious upbringing, a stint in the United States Marines and a period of time spent in Alaska before he decamped to Los Angeles to complete the collection of songs that would become his debut LP ‘1st Bath’, due out on the 14th of April on record label Grand Jury. (In case you missed it, we at TGTF recently featured the video for album track ‘All Your Words Are Gone’.)

I sat down with Summers on a sunny street corner outside the FLOODfest venue for an interview before Avid Dancer’s opening set to chat about his plans for the week in Austin, his tour dates with fellow SXSW showcasing artists Delta Spirit, and the upcoming album release. Summers’ colorful personality certainly came through in the interview, particularly when a minor injury prompted him to recount the tale of a dramatic childhood trauma. Despite the potential distractions surrounding him in Austin, Summers seemed squarely focused on his current task of touring and promoting his album, even revealing that one of the best songs he’s ever written isn’t on it. The song did, however, appear in his FLOODfest set, and I will agree that it was the best track I heard him play. Stay tuned to TGTF for my full review of Wednesday afternoon’s FLOODfest show, including details of Avid Dancer’s performance.

(Note: in the interview streaming below, Summers mentions wanting to see one of his Grand Jury label mates who played first on the Thursday afternoon FLOODfest lineup. That band was Minnesota four-piece Hippo Campus.)

Many thanks to Erin and Jeremy for arranging this interview.

 

SXSW 2015: Wednesday afternoon at FLOODfest, Cedar Street Courtyard – 18th March 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 10:00 am
 

The weather in Austin during most of the SXSW 2015 week was smattered with clouds and occasional rain showers, which had us keeping our jackets and umbrellas constantly at the ready. But the Wednesday morning and afternoon turned out to be bright and sunny with a slight cool breeze, perfect conditions for attending the inaugural FLOODfest event in the open air Cedar Street Courtyard. I arrived to the venue early for an interview before the show started, and I got settled inside just in time to catch the end of the Dutch Impact showcase preceding the afternoon’s official activities.

Taymir at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

Bright guitar pop band Taymir rounded off the Dutch delegation with a lively and upbeat set including their catchy singles ‘Aaaaah’ and ‘What Would You Say’, both taken from their debut album ‘Phosphene’. The group of fans filtering into the courtyard for the afternoon showcase soon found their toes tapping and hips shaking to Taymir’s sharply energetic pop tunes, which were a perfect preliminary to set the mood for the stellar lineup ahead.

Avid Dancer at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

First on the set proper for FLOODfest was Los Angeles songwriter Jacob Dillan Summers, known here by the stage name Avid Dancer, with whom I’d had a nice interview outside the venue before the show began (if you missed it, you can stream the interview here ADD LINK). As he mentioned in our chat, Summers played in Austin with two bandmates, and his set at FLOODfest highlighted tracks from Avid Dancer’s upcoming debut album ‘1st Bath’. Both Summers’ singing voice and his songwriting are tenderly melodic, but his songs have a very definite lo-fi grit that gives them traction in the ears and the hearts of their listeners. Outside the confines of ‘1st Bath’ tracks, the real gem of Avid Dancer’s set was a recently written track that didn’t make the album, which I believe he called ‘Gazing’.

Skinny Lister at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

In the 2:00 PM time slot was English folk punk collective Skinny Lister, who really got the party started with their exuberant set, which included a delightful blend of pub rock sing-alongs, rollicking sea shanties, and old style dance tunes. When you see a band whose instrumentation includes both an accordion and a stand-up bass, you don’t necessarily expect crowd-surfing as part of the festivities, but at one point bassist Michael Camino dove right into the audience, trusting himself and his double bass to our enthusiastic hands-on support.

Singer, multi-instrumentalist and self-described “show-off” Lorna Thomas stole the show with her high-spirited dance moves, even closing the set with an interactive waltz in the middle of the crowd. If you didn’t catch it previously, we featured Skinny Lister’s video for ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’, which shows off exactly the kind of hair-on-fire shenanigans they put on display at FLOODfest, along with their signature brand of over-the-top, rock-infused folk music. Skinny Lister’s new album, ‘Down on Deptford Broadway’ is due out on the 20th of April via Xtra Mile Records; watch TGTF for more coverage of the band, including my interview with them on the Thursday of SXSW 2015, in the coming days.

Geographer at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

After Skinny Lister, the mood at FLOODfest took a slightly more mellow turn with San Francisco-based Geographer, whose sensual synth pop sound recently took the form of a new album called ‘Ghost Modern’, released on Roll Call Records. I was taken off guard by frontman Michael Deni’s smooth falsetto and cool vocal delivery as his singing blended seamlessly with the silvery legato of the keyboard, cello and guitar lines. Geographer’s set list included the broadly expansive, airy texture of older track ‘Kites’ as well as the more percussive recent single release ‘I’m Ready’.

Carl Barat at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

The audience in the Cedar Street Courtyard had begun to fill in during Geographer’s entrancing set, and by the time Carl Barat and The Jackals took the stage, we were rammed tight into the open air venue. There were clearly a few long-time fans in attendance, excited to see the former Libertines frontman with his new band. Barat took the stage in true punk rock fashion, dressed in a black leather jacket that he eventually had to remove in the heat of the afternoon. His drummer, Jay Bone, played the set entire set shirtless and was still drenched in sweat by the end, which is a testament to the frenetic energy of the new songs on ‘Let It Reign’ (reviewed here back in February by editor Mary). Barat did manage to squeeze in a couple of back catalogue tunes on his FLOODfest set list, most notably Libertines track ‘Death on the Stairs’, but the band’s heavy emphasis on ‘Let It Reign’ was thunderously well-received, especially the ominously prescient track ‘A Storm Is Coming’, played as clouds started to build up over the courtyard’s outdoor stage.

Frank Turner at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

After Carl Barat and The Jackals’ hard-edged set, our appetites were whet for FLOODfest’s final performer of the afternoon, Frank Turner. Appearing in a solo capacity with only his acoustic guitar for accompaniment, and admittedly still recovering from a slight hangover (he actually described himself at one point as “sweating booze”), Turner eased into his set with a few old favourite tracks before launching into a pair of brand new songs, which he said would feature on a new album expected for release later this year.

One of the new tracks, titled ‘Silent Key’, is a stark yet transfixing recollection of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which, though exquisitely written and performed, was a difficult listen, and I found myself gritting my teeth through its turbulent emotionality. The other new track, a rebellious four-to-the-floor belter called ‘Get Better’ was released on YouTube the following Friday, coincidentally just as I was finishing up a quick chat with Turner; watch the new video just below, and stay tuned to TGTF for the audio of my interview with Turner in the coming days. ‘Get Better’ seems a perfect follow-up to Turner’s recent hits ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ and ‘Recovery’, which were both vivid highlights of the afternoon’s final performance, as was set closer ‘Photosynthesis’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB4Avdlz3lk[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: FLOODfest’s inaugural event in Austin

 
By on Thursday, 12th March 2015 at 11:00 am
 

This year marks the premiere of FLOODfest at SXSW, sponsored by Flood Magazine and personal media startup Lyve. The FLOODfest bill encompasses four daytime showcases and three action-packed night shows at the Cedar Street Courtyard, beginning on Wednesday the 18th of March and running through Saturday the 21st. Daytime showcases are open to the public with advance RSVP, but admission will be first come, first served based on venue capacity. Each day show will open with a smaller preliminary showcase from 11 AM to 1 PM before the main events begin. Evening shows will require official SXSW badges and wristbands for entry and promise to extend late into the night with big name crowd draws Spoon, Courtney Barnett and Run the Jewels.

The Wednesday daytime showcase in particular is scheduled to include several acts of interest to TGTF fans. The lineup involves folk punk collective Skinny Lister (read our SXSW preview on them here), rock veteran Carl Barât and his new band the Jackals and populist troubadour Frank Turner, who is in Austin not only to perform his music, but also to serve as a Music Convention panelist and to promote his new memoir ‘The Road Beneath My Feet’ (after SXSW he will return to the UK to promote it on a book tour). The Wednesday night showcase will feature Massachusetts quartet Speedy Ortiz as well as Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, performing in his solo side project guise as DJ Windows 98.

Thursday’s highlights include Years & Years and the Ting Tings (read our SXSW preview on them here) during the day, with the Vaccines opening the activities for the nighttime show. The Friday afternoon showcase will wrap up with Best Coast, and the Friday evening show will feature a set by TGTF favourite and SXSW 2014 alumnus Until the Ribbon Breaks. The festivities will wind down on Saturday afternoon with a showcase of Warner Brothers Records artists including current American radio stars Big Data and Priory.

The full lineup for FLOODfest at SXSW is listed below. However, as always, we recommend that you keep an eye on the FLOODfest Web site for updated information, as acts are subject to change.

Wednesday 18th March

11 AM – 1 PM Dutch Impact Showcase: Taymir, Sevdaliza, Jacco Gardner
1 PM – 6 PM INgrooves/XtraMile Showcase: Avid Dancer, Skinny Lister, Geographer, Carl Barât and the Jackals, Frank Turner
8 PM – 2 AM Taymir, Dotan, Basecamp, Speedy Ortiz, DJ Windows 98, Spoon

Thursday 19th March

11 AM – 1 PM Norway Showcase: Marit Larsen, Haust, Hanne Kolstø
1 PM – 6 PM Paradigm/ASCAP Showcase: Hippo Campus, Swimm, Tove Stryke, Years & Years, The Ting Tings
8 PM – 2 AM The Vaccines, Viet Cong, Metz, King Tuff, Courtney Barnett

Friday 20th March

11 AM – 1 PM Sweden Showcase: Amason, Indevotion, Good Harvest
1 PM – 6 PM Capitol Records Group Showcase: Son Real, BJ the Chicago Kid, James Davis, Seinabo Sey, Halsey, Best Coast
8 PM – 2 AM Mick Jenkins, Nosaj Thing, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Run the Jewels

Saturday 21st March

11 AM – 1 PM Volumen Showcase: The Brevet, Ejambre, Apolo
1 PM – 6 PM Warner Brothers Records Showcase: Dylan Gardner, Mystery Skulls, Priory, Greg Holden, Big Data, Twin Shadow

 
 
 

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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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