South By Southwest

SXSW Reviews: Los Bitchos, Park Jiha

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

20220315 Los Bitchos

Let’s recap some bands

Los Bitchos, March 15, Cedar Street Courtyard

This four or Five member English band (reads different depending on the PR) was an insanely good time. The London group consists of members whose backgrounds and influences span the globe and they did a great job blending differently worldly sounds into music. Often featuring polyrhythmic sequences mixed with guitars, keyboards and random vocals, the group got an exhausted crowd dancing and enforced their energy into the venue. A super fun time.


Park Jiha , March 16, St. David’s Bethel Hall

One of my favorite things I love about SXSW is that it will, much like Aladdin, show you the world. When I saw the description of Park Jiha – an artist whose music is a composition that incorporates traditional Korean instruments – I was sold. Partially because I watch a lot of Korean movies, but also, what are traditional Korean instruments?

On Wednesday night I found out – incorporating a Yanggeum, a saenghwang (pictured above) and a Piri (which honestly, sounds like a sax), Park Jiha played a mesmerizing set of beautifully composed music which spanned multiple genres. Some songs, especially the ones using the Yanggeum, felt like it could fit into your next classic Korean film while others featuring the piri would fit best at an after hour cocktail bar. A great introduction to a different type of music.

SXSW Review: Ryder The Eagle, March 15, Chess Club

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“Keep Austin Weird” has been an unofficial motto for the city for some time now. and at its best (and sometimes its worst), the music programming at SXSW can help to shine a spotlight on the weird and wonderful performers out there, not just from Austin but from around the globe. A perfect example of this is Ryder The Eagle.

Originally from Toulouse and currently based in Mexico City, Ryder The Eagle took the audience at Chess Club on a journey through the weird during his set at Chess Club, a journey that included tales of divorce, motorcycles, rebound romances, and much more.

Performing solo, Ryder took to the stage and began his set with a monologue explaining everything he’s gone through with the divorce and setting the thematic groundwork for the evening. Though it isn’t exactly accurate to say he took to the stage – he made the entire venue his stage and more or less made everyone in the small confines of Chess Club a part of his show.

And what a show it was. Roaming about the entire space, singing directly to and occasionally dancing with various women in attendance (presumably using them as a surrogate for his ex), writhing about on the floor, and culminating in him singing while standing on the bar, Ryder the Eagle gave us a show that was weird, yes, but wildly entertaining. And the finale, with him singing atop the bar, was made even more surreal by the Led Zeppelin concert footage airing on the screen behind him.

Falling somewhere between karaoke and performance art, it wasn’t fully clear how much of Ryder’s story was just a persona created for his show and how much was true to life, but that hardly matters when it’s this much fun. I know that watching some dude in an all white cowboy suit singing songs about his divorce behind a prerecorded backing track doesn’t necessarily sound all that fun, but trust me, it was.

SXSW Review: Red Rum Club, March 13, Cedar St. Courtyard

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One of the fun things about SXSW is thinking about what a band’s projection would be based on their music and presentation. It’s kinda like a young prospect in sports … will they be a franchise player or a bench warmer?

Hailing from Liverpool (as they mentioned time and time again during their set), Red Rum Club comes to SXSW as a seemingly well polished product ready for the big show. The interesting thought for me is that for this group, the big show isn’t necessarily some pedestal on the Mount Rushmore of rock but rather, their music seems tailored for the top 40 charts

The band’s 40 minute set was filled with big hooks, singalongs and even a very catchy song inspired by fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles. The band’s easy to digest songs are primed for a wide audience. Combine that with a charismatic front man and a cool band aesthetic and you have the makings of a band that can rocket to the top of the charts.

SXSW Review: Hrishikesh Hirway, March 15, St. David’s Bethel Hall

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Song Exploder is one of my favourite podcasts and so when I saw that Hrishikesh Hirway was playing a set at SXSW this year, it was a pretty easy decision to see what his music is all about. Honestly, as a man who has spent the better part of the last few years dissecting some of the best tunes from some of the most highly regarded artists in the world, I was also expecting his songs to be quite good for some reason.

I was not disappointed- Playing with Jenny Lee Owens, Hrishikesh played a set of deeply personal acoustic tunes filled with great arrangements and nice hooks. His tracks reminded me of Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans era in that it did well in balancing tender notes and delicate vocals and lyrics.

As this was his first show in many years, the set started off with some nerves He spent the first six minutes giving a backstory for a two minute song- but it was all good as the dude is an expert when it comes to speaking.

Hrishikesh Hirway’s album comes out at the end of the month and is worth a check out. Wondering if he’ll do a Song Exploder episode on his own song?