SXSW

Song of The Day: HAEPAARY – Born by Irreproachable Gorgeousness (Live at SXSW 2022)

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It’s now been over a month since this year’s edition of SXSW ended and just yesterday, the festival shared a bunch of live performance footage from several of this year’s shows, including a song from one of the more memorable acts we saw all week – HAEPAARY. The Seoul-based duo blend together traditional South Korean sounds with electronic elements to produce something rather unique.

Check out HAEPAARY’s performance at the International Day Stage in Brush Square Park below.

SXSW 2022: The Recap

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20220315 Los Bitchos

This was the year that the Panic Manual made our semi-triumphant return to Austin for yet another SXSW. This one, would of course be a bit different than other editions – worries about Covid hanging over our heads, work responsibilities clashing with SouthBy funtime, and, oh yeah, the fact that we’re all three years older than the last time we set foot in Austin would obviously all have an effect on our time here. But it was a joy to be back nonetheless and as usual, here is our annual recap post wherein we try to make sense of everything we experienced this year.

Best New Discovery

Gary: Pillow Queens

Ricky: Self Esteem – the show was fun but after listening to the band some more, I’ve determined that I really like them.

Paul: It’s hard to pick just one as there were many great new discoveries – Blackstarkids, Hotel Lux and Crows were all great and Ryder The Eagle was definitely the most memorable and unusual of all the new acts I saw. But maybe the best discovery of the week for me was the latest project of a veteran musician. Catching Mike Watt’s new project MSSV at an unofficial Sunday evening set as part of Chili Dog Fest was definitely a nice surprise. And an incredible performance too.

Best Act

Ricky: No act blew me away this year like The Comet is Coming did in 2019, but there were several notable fun acts. I mean, it’s really just hard to top Dolly Parton but that’s a given. Best new act for me was probably Working Men’s Club, if only because I really dig their New Order vibes.

Paul: I’ll have to second what Ricky said, both in terms of Dolly being hard to beat live and on Working Men’s Club being fantastic. I will also give a shout out to Los Bitchos for putting on a great show – they’re a lot of fun live!

Gary: Hamish Hawk

20220319 Hamish Hawk

Biggest Disappointment

Ricky: My biggest disappointment stemmed from my own inability to separate work and play as I had to work during the festival, but let’s unpack that another time. I was also disappointed that not enough people attended Enjoyable Listens’ afternoon showcase as that was super fun.

Gary: I didn’t have much expectation going in… I also gave up on seeing people wearing masks. That helped, too.

Paul: After three years away from SXSW, even the worst band I saw was still a pleasure to see live – listening to live music in the Austin sun with a beer (or White Claw) in hand makes it hard to be too disappointed in anything. I will admit though that I’m a bit disappointed in myself for missing out on shows from Beck and The Lemonheads during the week, but then again I caught some great new acts (or just caught up on some much needed sleep) in place of them, so again, no real complaints.

Favourite Moment

Paul: Seeing my comedy heroes from Kids In The Hall on a panel discussing the documentary Kids In The Hall: Comedy Punks was pretty great. Also, seeing Geezer Butler and Sebastian Bach talking about the “enduring power of metal” was cool and almost makes up for the near total lack of metal on this year’s (and the past few years’) Music lineup.

Ricky: My Favorite moment was during MEMES’ showcase at Swan Dive, when during the outro part of “Cheer Up”, the lead singer went into the small crowd, got everyone jumping up and down and handed the mic off to either a friend or some fan who then proceeded to go on stage and sing the rest of the song. It made me realized how much I missed that live show energy and was a bit cathartic.

Gary: When Saturday rolled around and 6th Street shed the tumbleweed feeling, I was elated. And a split second after reveling in the moment, realized I best get out of there.

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How did it feel to be back at sxsw again after 3 years (and during a pandemic)?

Gary: A surreal pride that it came together after all, despite the disastrous hypotheticals. Except for Film, which benefits from avoiding timetable clashes with Music once the films are online, SxSW does not work virtually. Plus, it just feels wrong if I’m not a walking billboard for some music production company!

Ricky: It was weird to have some semblance of normal, and quite great. Also, a realization that we are all three years older and so can’t go as hard as possible anymore. Live music is amazing and i’m happy to have seen so many acts.

Paul: It definitely felt strange. But good. But, yes, definitely strange. Starting off slow, the first few days felt a lot lighter than past years, but by the end of the week, the crowds were more or less back in full force … which also felt weird. Still, it was nice to get back into “the thick of it” as KT Tunstall said during her Wednesday night set and I look forward to hopefully going back again for 2023, when things will presumably be a little more back to normal.

SXSW Review: Wet Leg, March 18, Radio Day Stage

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20220318 Wet Leg

When you’re at SXSW, you go to see buzz bands. It’s just something one does. And this year, the buzziest of the buzzed about new acts on the lineup was Isle of Wight indie rockers Wet Leg.

The band, led by the duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, has been garnering quite a bit of publicity over the last little while, first coming onto the scene with their excellent ear worm of a single “Chaise Longue” and they’re set to release their self-titled debut album next month. All of this, combined with the fact that they were only playing a handful of times during the week, meant long lineups at all of their shows.

Our solution? Use our privilege as badge-holders to take in their Friday afternoon set at the Austin Convention Center’s Radio Day Stage. After all, those shows are never all that packed and … oh. OK, then.

Yup, even that show was pretty packed, although after a short time in line, we got in pretty easily and waited for the show to begin. But the question remains – did they live up to the hype? Well, in a way, yes and no. And since it’s always better to end on a positive note, we’ll start with the reason why this show didn’t quite make the grade for me. The main drawback to this set was the fact that it was happening mid-afternoon inside of a convention center, which gave it a bit of a different vibe. That’s never the optimal environment for a rock show and so it was probably always bound to fall a bit short of the hype. But really, that’s no fault of the band, so let’s move on.

Despite my misgivings about the venue, Wet Leg did still put on an enjoyable performance that was a lot of fun … though I suspect any of their other sets from this week were likely better. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to see songs like “Wet Dream”, “Oh No” and “Angelica” performed live. It all sounded great, the band seemed to be having fun with it, and Teasdale made for a charming frontwoman with her soft spoken and deadpan stage banter. And by the time the band ended things off with set closer “Chaise Longue”, it was hard to walk away unsatisfied.

SXSW Review: Flower, March 17, The Green Jay

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20220317_210243

In all of our years attending SXSW, music venue turnover has been a fairly common occurrence – in fact, just this week, two bars on Rainey St. closed down for good, soon to be replaced by condos.

It’s certainly not unusual to see places shutting down, reopening under a new name, or even keeping the same name and moving to a new location. And this year was no different, with one notable new venue being the recently opened Green Jay, which has taken over the space formerly known as Beerland.

Now, Beerland was never the nicest or classiest of venues – I mean, it was called Beerland – but the place had a certain divey charm. So when I saw that a new spot had opened in its place, I figured it was worth checking out. And it was – the new owners have given the place a bit of an upgrade and the bar had a great lineup of bands all week, making it an easy decision to keep coming back. In fact, I think I ended up there almost every day of the festival and saw several memorable shows, from Irish alt-poppers Beauty Sleep to London post-punk/pub rock band Hotel Lux to New York indie rockers Flower.

Flower got their start as a band back in 1986 and lasted until 1990, with members Ed and Richard Baluyut later going on to form Versus. They got the band back together a few years ago and were at SouthBy this year promoting their latest, 2020’s None Is (But Once Was) – their first new album in 30 years.

It’s a solid collection and it sounded great live, though that still didn’t deter some guy from telling his friend that they were planning on going somewhere else. He said this between songs, and loudly enough that the band noticed, so naturally they had to comment. And even though they called him out, asking him not to bail on them as they only had two songs left (though I think they actually had three), the dude left anyways. His loss, I suppose.

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