RFB at SXSW 2019: Part 2
19 Mar 2019
Our second report from the Texan Capital for SXSW 2019
Wednesday begins with Dreamer Boy at Bangers, their ambitious two-man boyband approach on the knife edge of good taste - ‘cowboy pop’, in their own words. Ambar Lucid fills the room at Mohawk with a delicate and ethereal set, earning a place as one of our favourite acts of the festival - we highly recommend her self-produced LP, Dreaming Lucid. Heading down to Austin’s super-hip Rainey Street, we catch much talked about Carpark Records signees The Beths for a high energy set of guitar pop that builds even further anticipation for new record, Future Me Hates Me. Tastemakers Taiwan Beats host a showcase of up and coming artists at Elysium, with the psychedelic noise-pop of I Mean Us proving to be the highlight of the afternoon. Slow Pulp had been on our list of must-see new acts at the festival and do not disappoint, just as comfortable with anthemic indie-pop as they are with Dischord-indebted instrumental sections - their live take of single ‘At Home’ one of the week’s finest moments. Our friends Future Classic host an evening of 2019’s most exciting new artists, and we catch charismatic and endlessly talented 19 year old New Yorker Isa Reyes fill up the party, throwing some well caught Haribo into the crowd for recent single ‘Sweet Tooth’. Sophie Meiers reimagines mid-noughties pop through a Generation Z filter throughout her theatrical set at Cheer Up Charlie’s, whilst outrageous Swedish band Viagra Boys cause a queue around the block - and some real chaos in the venue - as one of the night’s final acts. We end our day with Ezra Collective, their innovative blend of jazz and afrobeat making most sense after the clock has struck midnight - it’s a half an hour that’s as technically nuances as it enjoyable, the flag flown for South London’s busting scene perfectly on this side of the Atlantic.
The sun is shining on Thursday in Austin, and we start our day with Tasha performing a lovely, stripped back set at the Harley Davidson party. Hubert Lenoir are one of our highlights - the six piece of self described ‘French-Canadian nightmares’ delivering a high-energy performance at Mohawk’s busy outdoor stage. We stick around for new Loma Vista signings Injury Reserve who channel a punk version of Andre 3000 and Big Boi for a circle pit and stage dive heavy half hour that feels like one of the week’s most essential. Highly regarded tastemakers Gorilla vs. Bear take over both Las Perlas and Seven Grand for one of the week’s must-see line ups, LA band Morabeza Tobacco are great, and may well have a hit on their hands with single ‘Defenders Of Glam’. Quickly becoming one of SX’s most talked about new artist’s, Kate Teague plays another special show - her cut ‘Low Life’ standing out in particular the second time around, uplifting in its heartbreak. We head over to the YEAR001 showcase for Merely and Iranian electronic artist, Nadia Tehran - the Stockholm based label reminding us exactly why it’s one of our favourites with stand out performances from both acts. Squid have almost as many people watching them from outside as they do inside back at the British Music Embassy, and impress once again, single ‘Houseplants’ having become a real earworm. Eliza Shaddad finishes her set at The Townsend to rapturous applause, her raw performance and storytelling truly moving. Back at Seven Grand, Montreal-based artist Munya performs an inspired set, resting on her first language, French, and echoing the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Air. We bring the night to its close with two exceptional, international, artists - Japanese 4-piece Chai are truly an experience, nearly impossible to place and endlessly fun. The same can be said for KOKOKO! - another of our repeat watches - who seamlessly navigate their way through a 20 minute set that has the room chanting their name long after they’ve left the stage.
Our third and final report from South By Southwest 2019 is coming soon.