Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and show and festival cancellations,
no new content has been added here since February 2020.
Read more about this here. | April 2019 update
To connect with us, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

SXSW 2017: Wednesday night’s marathon, with stops at Lambert’s, Clive Bar, St. David’s Bethell Hall and Elysium – 15th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 10th April 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Wednesday night at SXSW 2017 was always going to be a test of my speed and endurance, with a veritable smorgasbord of choices on the schedule at venues spread widely across downtown Austin. When I nailed down my own agenda for the evening, I was a tiny bit cranky at the prospect of so much walking, but in the end, the shows I saw were entirely worth the athletic effort. (To give you an idea of how much walking was involved, my smartwatch recorded over 20,000 total steps and 10.5 miles’ distance on Wednesday!)

Allison Pierce internal

After a brief dinner break, I ventured west of Congress Avenue to Lambert’s, where the SESAC showcase was being held. I would have happily stayed for the entire evening, as the SESAC docket included several favourites of mine, including Ciaran Lavery and Silences. However, the crazy Wednesday night schedule didn’t allow me to stop that long, and I only stayed long enough to satisfy my curiosity about singer/songwriter Allison Pierce. Formerly of sister-act The Pierces, Allison Pierce has stepped out on her own as a solo artist, and from the sound of her set at Lambert’s, she’s gone country. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given her Alabama upbringing, but this was definitely more of a streamlined, pure country sound than the psychedelic folk I last heard from The Pierces. Pierce followed her SXSW appearance with a run of live dates supporting The Wind and the Wave, and her debut album ‘Year of the Rabbit’ is due out on the 5th of May.

Magic Giant internal 1

My next stop was on the other side of downtown Austin, at Rainey Street’s Clive Bar, which was hosting the Showtime ‘I’m Dying Up Here’ launch party. Mary had warned me that the Showtime event would be a madhouse, and when I arrived at the Clive Bar after walking all the way across downtown from Lambert’s, I was disheartened to find a long queue outside. Surprisingly enough, the line moved quickly, and I was able to secure a spot close to the stage for Los Angeles indie rockers Magic Giant, with whom I’d had this lively interview earlier in the day.

Magic Giant internal 2

As advertised in the interview, Magic Giant’s live show exuded a brilliant energy and included a cacophony of creatively-devised sounds. Despite my prime spot at the front of the stage, I found it difficult to take photos, as none of the three band members (lead vocalist Austin Bisnow, multi-instrumentalist Zambricki Li, guitarist Brian “Zang” Zaghi) were in one position for very long. The momentum of the music and the quick rotation of instruments kept them in constant motion, even finding them down in the middle of the crowd at one point for what might be called a low-level acoustic mosh.

Magic Giant internal 3

Magic Giant’s incredibly organic indie folk debut album ‘In the Wind’ is due out in May, and the band is planning to be on tour for the rest of this year. Keep an eye on the Tour section of their official Web site for upcoming dates, and be sure not to miss them if they pass through your area.

My mood improved considerably by Magic Giant’s vibrant set, I left the Clive Bar and embarked on the long uphill walk to St. David’s Episcopal Church. Though I’d seen several shows at the church over the past three years at SXSW, I hadn’t yet been inside Bethell Hall, and I was initially taken aback by the very minimal set up of the stark room.

Ryan Vail internal

The stage area, such as it was, was positioned in the front of the room, with a grand piano and an electronic keyboard, along with a soundboard and a projector screen for visual effects. Despite some technical difficulty in the initial setup, this was perhaps a more natural situation for Ryan Vail, whom I’d seen earlier in the week at the Output Belfast Boat Party. Vail took advantage of the lovely grand piano in Bethell Hall to play tracks from his piano-oriented debut LP ‘For Every Silence’, which is described on Soundcloud as “the story of a piano that was made in England in 1927, shipped to Derry in Northern Ireland, cherished by Ryan’s wife’s family and restored for use on a stunning debut album, where the warm, well-loved character of the instrument takes centre stage.” I was pleased to see a new facet of Vail’s talent, namely his genuine skill as a composer, shine through in a different context than what I’d previously heard.

My last stop of the evening was at Austin dance club Elysium for the end of the KCRW showcase. Earlier bands on KCRW’s lineup had included Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Aquilo (see Mary’s past coverage of her Wednesday night covering the two of them here), and Mondo Cozmo, who I’d already seen earlier in the afternoon. By the time I arrived at Elysium, there was an impressive queue for hotly-tipped Aussie band Middle Kids, and I wasn’t sure I’d get in to see them, but once again good fortune prevailed.

Middle Kids internal

It’s always a pleasant surprise when a heavily-hyped band actually lives up to its billing, and such was the case with Middle Kids. Their indie rock sound leans just enough toward the pop side to be catchy, but aside from being eminently listenable, it’s also charmingly quirky. Lead singer Hannah Joy doesn’t go out of her way to do anything weird just for the sake of being noticed, which is refreshing in a time when female frontwomen are definitely feeling the pressure to stand out in the growing crowd. (I did, however, take notice of Joy’s Hendrix-style left-handed guitar technique.)

Cherry Glazerr internal

Los Angeles alt-rockers Cherry Glazerr immediately positioned themselves on the opposite end of that continuum when their lead singer Clementine Creevy did a spidery commando crawl onto the stage and announced her presence by bellowing “Hey, assholes!” into the microphone. This was an immediate turn-off for me, but many of the punters in the crowd responded positively, both to her deliberately obnoxious demeanor and to Cherry Glazerr’s raucous, rebellious grunge. Judging by the reaction to the creepy Kewpie-style doll attached to Sasami Ashworth’s keyboard, I’d say their track ‘Nurse Ratched’ is well on its way to being a sleeper summer hit.

SOHN internal

After overcoming the seemingly standard technical issues faced by electronic artists at SXSW, London-based SOHN closed out the night at Elysium with a delirious 1 AM set that swayed between sensual and sweaty in a room drenched in dim red lighting. I always feel bad for artists who get stuck in the final time slot after a big-name act, when the room invariably empties, and SOHN was no exception. But in a proper club atmosphere, this would clearly have been a better-received set, and I’ll wager that fans of electro artists like Jack Garratt (who faced a similar situation at SXSW 2015) will catch onto SOHN in the very near future.

 

SXSW 2017: Wednesday afternoon at the Convention Center and Lustre Pearl’s Feed the Beat day party – 15th March 2017

 
By on Friday, 7th April 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

The Wednesday afternoon at SXSW 2017 was rather a mixed bag of events. If you’ve been following our coverage, you might be sensing a theme in that regard. But variety is the spice of life, as they say, and one can never go too far wrong with all the great acts at SXSW.

My day started with an early interview at downtown Austin’s W Hotel with Los Angeles indie folk rockers Magic Giant. This year marked their third consecutive SXSW, and Wednesday was their last day in town, so I was fortunate to catch them for the interview. After our chat, I was more intrigued than ever by the sound of their forthcoming debut album ‘In the Wind’ and excited to see them play live later in the evening at the Clive Bar. (Coverage of that show, and the rest of my Wednesday night, will post soon.)

"Aldous

Following my appointment with Magic Giant, Mary and I headed to the Convention Center to see singer/songwriter Aldous Harding on the International Day Stage. Harding seemed a bit more comfortable with the Convention Center atmosphere than A.S. Fanning had the day before, and her all-white attire created a rather dramatic effect on the large stage, even so early in the day. Even more striking were the repeated lyrics of her recent single, ‘Horizon’. The track is set to feature on her forthcoming LP release ‘Party’, due out on the 19th of May via 4AD / Flying Nun, but you can preview it just below.

From the Convention Center, Mary and I both headed down to Rainey Street, but we parted ways shortly thereafter. I decamped to the Lustre Pearl for the Feed the Beat day party while she went next door to Bar 96 (you can read Mary’s recap of Wednesday afternoon back here) The bill at Lustre Pearl for the afternoon included several bands on my “must see” list, and the sunny weather made for a very pleasant couple of hours’ worth of music listening.

Maybird internal

The first act on the bill, New York four-piece psych-rock band Maybird, was completely unfamiliar to me, but they set the tone nicely for a casual outdoor party atmosphere. Their latest track ‘Keep in Line’ was recorded in Nashville with The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney at the production helm, which is as good an indication as any that Maybird is a band on the rise.

The Big Moon internal

English band The Big Moon (pictured in the header photo at the top of the page) were next on the afternoon docket, and they took the stage with a decided air of confidence, despite the sun shining directly into their faces while on stage. The devil-may-care grunge rock of songs like ‘Sucker’ was perfect for the beer-and-tacos atmosphere at the Lustre Pearl, and lead singer Juliette Jackson’s heart-shaped sunnies made a strong impression on the daytime crowd. Don’t miss The Big Moon’s debut LP ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’, due out on the 7th of April.

Mondo Cozmo internal

Los Angeles alt-rocker Mondo Cozmo (known offstage as Joshua Ostrander) had already made a big stir ahead of SXSW with recent single ‘Shine’, and his set at Feed the Beat didn’t disappoint those of us who already had high expectations. ‘Shine’ was naturally the best known of his tracks, but for my money, songs like ‘Higher’ and ‘Chemical Dream’ were equally effective. Mondo Cozmo will be on tour with Bastille through mid-May, ahead of a slew of summer festival dates here in America.

San Fermin internal

I’d been excited to see Brooklyn-based rock collective San Fermin since I reviewed their recent single ‘Open’ back in January. In live performance, the vocal interplay between co-lead singers Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye was even more dramatic, and the vibrant full band brought life to tracks both old (‘Emily’) and new (‘Better Company’, ‘Bride’). San Fermin’s new album ‘Belong’ is out on the 7th of April via Downtown Records.

After San Fermin’s rousing set, I stopped off at the Chi’lantro food truck for some beef bulgogi tacos (hey, a girl’s gotta eat!) on my way back to the Convention Center. I ended the afternoon listening in on a featured conference session with Mick Fleetwood and David Fricke; you can read my previous summary of that conversation right back here.  Stay tuned to TGTF for my review of Wednesday evening’s music events as our coverage of SXSW 2017 continues.

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Magic Giant

 
By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

Los Angeles indie folk band Magic Giant showcased at SXSW 2017 for their third consecutive year at SXSW, but they only just crossed my radar earlier this spring. Their debut full-length album ‘In the Wind’ is due out in May, and I had the opportunity on the Wednesday morning of SXSW to sit down with the three band members, multi-instrumentalist Zambricki Li, lead singer Austin Bisnow and guitarist/cellist Brian “Zang” Zaghi (pictured from left to right, above) at the W Hotel in downtown Austin to chat about the making of that record, as well as their experiences at SXSW. The band members might look very serious in the header photo above, and indeed they clearly take their music-making very seriously. But I think the photo below is more reflective of the zany personality and brilliant energy they project both in conversation and onstage.

"Magic

‘In the Wind’ was recorded in various locations throughout America while the band were on tour last summer, and the band members explained their very organic process of recording in scenic, outdoor locations, using solar power for their equipment. They talked specifically about the recording of their current single ‘Set the Fire’, which included sounds taken directly from nature; you can take a listen to the acoustic version of ‘Set the Fire’ in the video just below. The band also hinted at what might be involved in a Magic Giant live show, which I had the chance to experience firsthand later on Wednesday night at the Clive Bar on Rainey Street. (Stay tuned to TGTF for more on my Wednesday night adventures, as our extensive SXSW 2017 coverage continues.)

[youtube]https://youtu.be/11NGaReejDQ[/youtube]

Magic Giant were nearing the end of their time in Austin when we did this interview, while I was closer to the start of my own, but as you’ll hear below, the band have big plans lined up for the remainder of 2017. They have a North American tour planned around the release of ‘In the Wind’, which is scheduled for the 19th of May via Washington Square / Razor & Tie, and they hope to bring the tour to Europe and worldwide later this year. You can check Magic Giant’s official Facebook for a list of their upcoming live dates, and keep an eye out for them on TGTF in case they happen to pass through the UK or Ireland in the coming months.

 
 
 

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.