SXSW Review: Altin Gun, Enola Gay, HAEPAARY, Hook, The Lazy Eyes, Hachiku, Alexander Biggs

With the first day of SXSW Online under my belt, it really didn’t take too long for me to fully embrace the couch potato aspect of this year’s festival and lean hard into the channel surfing element of it all, taking in a little bit of everything on the second day of programming. So in the spirit of me flipping from channel to channel, here’s a quick rundown of the acts that made the biggest impressions (both good and bad) for Day Two:

Altin Gün
With a compelling blend of Turkish folk sounds and funky psychedelia, the Amsterdam-based Altin Gün made a strong impression as part of the New Dutch Wave showcase.

Enola Gay

Like a lot of people, I was quite taken with the aggressive, abrasive and confrontational sound of Bristol’s Idles when they first made the scene a few years ago (I still look back fondly on my introduction to the band when they played the tiny stage at BD Riley’s as part of their first jaunt to SXSW) and, like many, I was also quite taken with the small ecosystem of Idles-esque bands that have risen to the forefront in the ensuing years. There’s something about the immediacy of that sound that hits just right. But I am sad to say that while they seem to fit the bill, Belfast’s Enola Gay might be the tipping point for me in not just immediately loving bands of this ilk. While the energy and attitude was there, there was something about their performance that didn’t quite click for me. Maybe I’ll give them another chance though and revisit their stuff a little later on down the line.

On the other hand, I was immediately drawn to Korean duo HAEPAARY right off the bat with their cool electronic sounds. Standout track: The excellently titled “A Shining Warrior – A Heartfelt Joy”

Playing as part of the Move Forward Music showcase, Riverside, CA-based rapper Hook put on a performance that was chaotic and joyful and fun and … Damn, I wish I could have actually been watching this live and in person (and preferably at a tiki bar like the one she seemed to have recorded her SXSW set in.)

The Lazy Eyes/Hachiku/Alexander Briggs
I slowed down on the channel changing a little later on in the evening and settled on the Sounds Australia showcase wherein all of the performances were loosely organized around the theme of “Close Up” and had each performer playing in whatever their interpretation of their backyard would be. The Lazy Eyes were already on my list of bands to check out based on the strength of their single “Where’s My Brain”, which they played during their two song set and which did not disappoint. In his preview of the band leading up to SXSW, Ricky described the song as “… an adventure, moving in and out of whatever wave you are on, and just when you think it’s over, it comes rip roaring back again.” Accurate.

Up next was Hachiku, who definitely put on the backyard-iest of the backyards sets, with the band set up on the porch of a suburban Australian home, except the guitarist, who was stuck inside and playing by the window because it was raining a bit while they played an there was only so much space. The band, led by Anika Ostendorf, impressed with a set of catchy dream pop-inspired sounds. Stand out track: “I’ll Probably Be Asleep.”

The final act of the night (for me at least – Sorry, Sycco and Shannen James, I’ll catch you next time) was singer-songwriter Alexander Briggs whose sound brought to mind Conor Oberst mixed in with a little Ben Lee and made for a pleasant way to end off my evening. And now, on to Day 3!

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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