SXSW Review: Anavitoria, Bendigo Fletcher, March 19, Central Presbyterian Church

20220319 Anavitoria

I go to (and often leave) shows completely unaware of who was playing in an attempt to maximize my ignorance. So naturally, when two 4-ft tall Asian girls squished into the pews for the Anavitoria show carrying sign-boards taller than their wingspan is wide, I thought this might be a K-pop set. Happily, Anavitoria specializes in folk music.

Anavitoria is a multi-Latin Grammy winning duo from Brazil that has been around since 2016. With solid pop sensitivity, graceful fashion, and simple harmonies, their songs are quite catchy. This performance was nominally in support of their latest release, last year’s Cor. But there were many instances of enthusiastic sing-alongs, which built a soothing atmosphere, yet also led me to the conclusion that there must have been many old singles in the mix. While that album has the backing of a variety of instruments, this set was entirely acoustic.

Formosa is the name given to Taiwan when it was “discovered” in 1544 by the Portuguese, but of course I don’t speak a word of it. So when Ana and Vitoria spoke to an enraptured crowd who bursts into laughter or applause from time-to-time, I can only assume that this feel-good concert came with the bonus “CHIT-CHAT ACHIEVED!”

20220319 Bendigo Fletcher

At the other end of the polish spectrum is Bendigo Fletcher from Louisville, Kentucky, looking as if they were tossed from the ass-end of a grain elevator. It was a huge and interesting contrast. While the harmonies and melodies from their latest album Fits of Laughter were just as warm and catchy as Anavitoria’s soft musings, the lyrics were about dogs, responsibilities, and sugar-cooking – perhaps the same content was shared but lost-in-translation?

Front-man Ryan Anderson loves nothing more than switching keys and upping the scales mid-way to showcase his vocal dynamic range, making these songs light, flighty, and wistful. “Astro Pup” and “Sugar in the Creek” were both brilliant and well type-cast numbers that you’d expect to be, and indeed were, performed with a banjo. But perhaps the best was the last song on their 2015 album, “Wonderfully Bizarre.” And just as funnily, this was the last show at SxSW for me this year. Until the next year, then?

Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest

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