Festivals, Music, SXSW, The Revue — April 7, 2017 at 5:33 am

SXSW 2017 Memories #2 – Establishing roots in Austin

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Since 2015, we have asked independent artists to share their favorite memories from their time at SXSW. In just a couple of years, this project has become one of our most popular features thanks to the growing interests of bands and singers from around the world. Forty-five artists participated in this year’s edition, and we’ll be sharing their memories over four days. Find yesterday’s edition here.

Today’s edition features Active Bird Community, Birthday Club, EZA, Forever, Jackie Venson, Linying, New Portals, Pines, Sharkmuffin, Slow Dancer, Tuvaband, and Woodes. These are just snapshots of what they experienced. Click on their names to view their full memories and all their photos. Of course, we’ve included a mini-playlist that includes the music of today’s featured artists and bands.

As the eleven artists showed us yesterday, Austin is indeed a weird and wonderful place that becomes more colorful for one week every March. The thousands of musicians that descend upon the Texas city, however, also make it vibrant and wacky. When you’re performing countless showcases, constantly being interviewed or photographed, and operating on a few hours of sleep, one does need a sense of humor. Take Simon Okely – a.k.a. Slow Dancer – who shared three quick but humorous memories. They could be broken down as: interrogated in a room with wood paneling; catching a King Kanja; and retribution. He’s a man of few words, but he sure likes to get his photo taken…

…and maybe that’s an Aussie thing because fellow Melbourne artist Elle Graham – a.k.a. Woodes – took photos next to everything imaginable. Of course she was awestruck seeing Agnes Obel and Maggie Rogers perform, but her visit to Uncommon Objects (which has a taxidermy section) resulted in her leaving with souvenirs for herself and her family that will last a lifetime. We do wonder if she’ll be on an episode of Australian show, Border Security, because we are not sure she’ll be allowed to bring some of her goods into the country…

 

…but for Singaporean singer-songwriter Linying, returning home should be easy thanks to not only a dream coming true to play at SXSW but meeting her idols. For her, SXSW was a lifelong dream realized and everything “coming full circle” thanks to social media. Whether all this happened because it was Karma, Twitter, or Facebook, who will ever know…

 

…but these popular platforms are often the only ways for a crew to communicate. So when a festival like SXSW occurs, it can be like a family reunion, as was the case for EZA. While she was excited to receive a shoutout from ROZES (that’s super cool), it was seeing “The Nashville House” establish roots in Austin that she will take with her…

 

…however, Tuva Hellum Marschhäuser and Simon Would, who together form Tuvaband, weren’t so fortunate to experience SXSW together. Would was unable to go to Austin after having his visa application rejected two days before their departure, but Marschhäuser still went. Thanks to the help of a friend, their manager, and a kind volunteer, she went on to perform. There were plenty of glitches and “what just happened” moments, but needless to say she had a festival to remember…

 

…and singer-songwriter Jackie Venson unexpectedly made new discoveries in her hometown. She took over two different Instagram accounts, was filmed as part of a documentary, and she found inspiration and humor on a street corner. Maybe next year Venson will decide to create her own booth and ask for mixtapes that artists may be giving out for free. Whatever she does in 2018, the one thing she should do is…

 

…connect with Birthday Club so they won’t have the FOMO vibes should they return next year. Despite wondering why there were so many videos and documentaries being shot around Austin, they did have their share of “holy cow” moments – or should we say “holy deer!” – in and around the city. They were also one of the few who got to cool off in a lake outside of town…

 

…which we don’t think Active Bird Community did at all because they were too busy running around town playing showcases and trying to see as many bands as possible. Oh, they did leave with a few momentos, like sharing a photo booth with Dude York and one of the band members getting a tattoo that explains their relationship. Classic! Absolutely classic…

 

…and that’s how one might describe Sharkmuffin guitarist Chris Nunez’s attempt to smash his guitar. He probably won’t live that down for the rest of his life, just like how bassist and vocalist Natalie Kirch will forever be known as the taco-eating champion. Hey, that’s our first mention of food in this list…

…and you’ll never guess what Montreal producer and singer-songwriter Forever‘s favorite food memory was. It does not involve tacos, enchiladas, or any of the bevy of food trucks in the city. She has a fond memory of the Super 8 Motel’s waffles which come in the shape of Texas. Yep. You read that correctly. It’s obviously not her only takeaway, as the connection she made with the women and girls in attendance at her showcases made her appreciate her craft even more…

 

…and a similar pride was expressed by Australian producers Pines. For them, being selected as one of the representatives of Australia was their biggest honor. But in very Aussie fashion, they made new friends wherever they went, enjoyed a few of Austin’s finest cocktails, and took in the performances of some of SXSW’s marquee performers. One day, they might grace the stage that Vince Staples did…

 

…and Belfast duo New Portals has as good a chance as anyone else. Ruth and Mike Aicken are already stars in the UK, but in North America they’re still looking to break through. Maybe SXSW will be their meal ticket, especially after they finagled their way into a marketing campaign for a Japanese startup. If not, they’ll likely remember being part of the Latitude 30 / BBC British Music Embassy showcase, and like so many others including ourselves, being enchanted by the allure of Aldous Harding.

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