South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Mogwai, March 11, Moody Theater

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

A few minutes before Mogwai would take to the stage at Moody Theater on Monday night, I texted a friend the following: 

“At the Mogwai show and forgot my damn earplugs. Pray for me.”

It’s true, the Glaswegian post-rockers can get pretty noisy, but it’s a beautiful noise, and one they’ve honed over the course of their nearly 30 year long career. And the band were in town not just to play any old show, but to play a show in promotion of If The Stars had A Sound, the Antony Crook-directed documentary on the band, premiering at this year’s SXSW Film Festival

Following a solid set of spacey dub from De Facto, Glasgow’s finest took to the stage to play roughly one hour and 30 minutes of music that had its moments of both brutal heaviness and sublime beauty, often within the same song.

Near the end of their set, the band’s Stuart Braithwaite took a moment to call out the SXSW festival for having the U.S. Army and an arms manufacturer as sponsors. And while they may not have joined the now-sizeable contingent of performers who have bowed out of the festival entirely and/or canceled their official shows in protest, Braithwaite and his bandmates certainly made their position known. 

Keep on making noise, Mogwai. 

SXSW Film Review: Malta (Natalia Santa, 2024)

Posted on by Paul in Movies, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Malta follows its protagonist Mariana through her day to day life, a life she feels to be unsatisfying on some level. As the film unfolds, director/writer Natalia Santa shows us exactly why Mariana is unhappy and what it is that she’s looking to escape from.

Though she lives with her family in Colombia, Natalia doesn’t have the most stable relationship with her mother and only seems to drop in when she feels like it, preferring to stay with a friend or with whoever she’s picked up at the bar that night. Often sleeping during the day and filling her nights with German classes and her job at a call centre, she’s clearly not happy with her routine.

Mariana longs for an escape from the drudgery of her life – a better place to hope for. Where exactly will this escape plan take her? It could have been anyplace really, but Malta is where she’s decided on.

Shaking up her routine a bit is the return of her brother Rigo, who, much like Mariana, is not quite happy with his lot in life, and the arrival in her life of a classmate who eventually becomes a romantic interest.

Considering that it’s the film’s namesake, it’s worth noting that Malta the country figures very little into the plot of Malta the film. Rather, it’s the idea of Malta – or more specifically, what it represents to Mariana – that matters. The question that hangs over the proceedings is not so much whether she makes it to Malta or not, but what it will take to shake Mariana out of her rut.

SXSW Song of the Day: James Smith – Got The Love

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Considering some of his songs have over 100 million plays I’m not sure this man needs much introduction.

James Smith is an artist from England and damn, he has a voice. Some people can just open their mouth and you know that they were meant to sing. This is James Smith. The man’s voice feels like it’s been through a lot even though the dude’s probably in his early 20s. I don’t have much more information because his name is James Smith and it’s impossible to Google.

His tunes are mostly ballads with a moderate gospel influence. It’s primed for world domination and probably fills a gap that Sam Smith left behind when he decided to do whatever he is doing now. Probably worth checking out

James Smith plays Stephen F’s Bar on March 15 @ 10:00pm.

SXSW Song of the Day: Bad Bad Hats – Detroit Basketball

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

This song might be the most winning thing about Detroit Basketball in the past five years.

Bad Bad Hats are a duo from Minnesota who formed in 2012 and have released three albums with a new record set to be released in April.

They have a fun pop-rock kind of sound that would not seem out of place if they were played on alternative radio in the ’90s. Listening to their discography I’m surprised some of their singles such as “It Hurts” did not hit my radar back in the day. Good thing I can make up for lost time at SXSW

Bad Bad Hats play Mohawk Outdoor on March 13 @ 9:00pm and The 13th Floor on March 14 @ 11:00pm.