SXSW Review: Febueder, March 14, Esther’s Follies

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A two person band from Ascot, Febueder played an interesting set to a moderately sized crowd at Esther’s Follies on Tuesday. It’s always odd to see a UK band in Austin that doesn’t have the weight of the British Music Embassy promotion behind it, and it makes me wonder who these guys pissed off to not that get effort. Still, a decent group of people saw the duo play their brand of what I can only describe as artsy rock.

With only one person on percussion and another providing vocals, guitars (and sometimes other instruments), it wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to say that the duo builds songs using a minimal, methodical and progressive sound. Each beat seems to be well planned and purposeful and sets the stage for the next sound whether it be guitars or Kieran Godfrey’s vocals which sounds a bit like the guy from Foals. If I had to make some basic band comparisons, I would say it sounds a bit like Alt J if they went to another art school with some Foals mixed in.

With minimal crowd interaction, at times the show felt almost like being a fly on the wall for a jam session, which was kind of nice but also felt a bit isolating. Still there is good foundation for Febueder to build on as they take the next step forward.

SXSW Review: Thunderpussy, March 13, BD Riley’s

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is one of those band names that commands your attention. And on the Tuesday night of SXSW, Thunderpussy also proved themselves to be a band that commands your attention as they played a powerful and energetic set to a packed house at BD Riley’s.

There’s not necessarily anything groundbreaking about what they do – it’s straight up meat and potatoes rock – but they do it well and they do it with such conviction that you can’t help but get swept up in it. Singer Molly Sides is a great frontwoman who prowled about the stage and the rest of the bar while her bandmates held it down onstage. Sides has that classic big rock voice that reminded me a bit of Grace Slick even before the band launched into a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love.” She even captured that vibrato in Grace Slick’s delivery on that song (without crossing into the over the top parody of Jim Carey’s Cable Guy performance of course). Their original numbers shared some of that classic rock sound while also tipping their hat to the ’90s Seattle sound – not too surprising since the band hails from Seattle.

Closing things out with another cover, Tom Petty’s “Refugee,” the band got the whole room singing along and by the end of their set, left the crowd wanting more.

SXSW Review: Jade Bird, March 13, Elysium

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jade bird

I wasn’t quite sure what I was walking into Tuesday night at the Elysium, I just heard there was some buzz for London singer Jade Bird and knew that I enjoyed her song “Lottery” on my Spotify playlist.

Confident and fun on stage, Jade Bird played a set that had me thinking “is this country?” It certainly had that feel like country music, but I was like, “what’s country music anyway?”

The songs were catchy and really highlighted Jade’s vocals with her delivery ranging from slower tracks to rapid fast delivery that made it feel like it was country music. In between sets her London accent during the banter really threw me off cause I kept on thinking I was at a country show. Anyways, Jade Bird sounds a bit like First Aid Kit if the had a few too many beers and decided to be fun. By the end of the set I was convinced I was at a country show, and it was cemented by a nice cover of a Johnny Cash song.

For an artist without a record out, Jade Bird radiates on stage and has the type of presence that makes you think she’ll be a star. It helps that her first batch of songs are quite strong. Check her out.

SXSW Review: Jerry Williams, March 13, The Blackheart

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


Over the course of her noontime set at the Blackheart, Portsmouth singer-songwriter Jerry Williams seemed to display a natural flair for performing as she ran through a fair number of memorable songs during her set, including “Mother,” “Pistachio” (‘my favourite of all the nuts” according to Williams), “What Do You Want For Breakfast” and “Your Friends Not Mine,” which seemed to almost morph into Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” for a minute near the end.

One of the highlights of the set for me was “David At The Bar,” a song Williams wrote about a man she met at the bar who revealed to her that he was an alcoholic who had messed up his life. He apparently promised to give up drinking if she wrote a song about him (to which Williams rightfully responded that he should give up drinking because it’s a good idea, not because you might be immortalized in song). She hasn’t found him since, but she went ahead and wrote the song anyways.

Williams seemed pretty stoked to be playing not just her first SXSW show, but her first ever show in America, noting that it all seemed “pretty surreal” to her. She was definitely enjoying herself and played an impressive 30 minute set that showcased not only her indie pop sound and storytelling-based songwriting, but also a thrift shop inspired fashion sense – green striped track pants and a tassel-covered jacket. “This is so surreal, I can’t believe we’re here” she said later in the set, restating her disbelief about it all. That’s SXSW in a nutshell though – it all seems a bit surreal sometimes.