SxSW Review: Strawberry Guy, March 16, Cedar Street Courtyard

20220316 Strawberry Guy

Dream Pop has always sounded more like a violent catastrophe than the label for softly enveloping music. Fortunately, Liverpool-based Alex Stephens (aka Strawberry Guy) subscribes to the latter definition. In an early afternoon set at Cedar Street Courtyard, Strawberry Guy sat serenading from his keyboard, in what I gather was BME‘s attempt to pacify the crowd after Walt Disco’s boisterous play.

If we were still mired in the drugged-up, intoxicated ways of the ’60s, Strawberry Guy would be a fair and perhaps obligatory performer. In the current climate, it is more difficult to gauge whether we should put our cynicism or naivete first. With a singing voice bordering on anemic and a habit of capping each number with “~cooool~”, the live set felt decidedly less serene than the recording. It’s the difference and subjective taste between a warm breeze and a cozy blanket – neither is a salve if you came in frozen from a Walrus Club meet.

Amongst the set of 5-6 songs, “Take My Time To Be” off the eponymous EP as well as “Sun Outside My Window” from the new album, released back in October 2021, stood out. But each shared the same DNA of unhurried calm, where much of the lyrics center on everyday observation and introspection. It is probably by design that little of a profound or otherworldly nature was said. But then again, perhaps Strawberry Guy, a self-proclaimed One-Man-Impressionist (as if Manet and Monet painted in tag-team), believes we are all Universes onto ourselves.

Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest

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