This year we sent some of our finest writers to witness SXSW first hand and mingle. This could have been a tale of new friendships, drunken friendships, confiscated platinum passes, lost emails and missed deadlines. Oh, and there was also a lot of music…
Rustie | Latitude 30 (Showcasing Scotland)
The morning was characterised by us trying to squeeze in some interviews. We ended up accidentally walking past the British Music Embassy just as Scottish DJ Rustie was doing his thing.
With a delighted crowd indoors all bopping their heads in unison. It was even more impressive to see a group of kids, clearly no way old enough to be inside legally, crowding around one of the venues windows and joining in the head nodding craze.
A particular highlight was his remix offering of Kendrick Lamar‘s “Backseat Freestyle” earning the loudest cheer.
WHY? | Russian House (Wuwufest 2013)
My thirst for another WHY? show was only heightened after the previous nights hit-and-miss attempt.
While Yoni Wolf and co jokingly complained about the minuscule stage at Russian House I was secretly pleased with being able to get up close with a minimum of fuss. What’s sure is that with their new touring lineup WHY? are able to recreate some of the more subtle moments on their latest “Mumps, etc” opus.
Sarai Givaty | Creekside At Hilton Garden Inn
Our next stop was at Creekside at The Hilton Garden Inn where model/actress Sarai Givaty was showcasing her newest material.
In her native Israel she is usually backed by a full band but she arrived in Austin with just her guitarist in tow in what proved to be a spark of genius. The duo’s sparse instrumentation and shared percussion duties lended a degree of fragility to her tracks, pierced only by the crowd’s applause, bringing her delicate vocals to the forefront.
Simja Dujov – Takoba (ROI Unplugged)
Over at the Takoba venue we caught Argentinian maverick Simja Dujov deliver his infectious blend of gypsy, cumbia and latin music.
Having been dubbed “the South American Manu Chao” would be an honour for many musicians but in Dujov‘s case I felt it is slightly restrictive as his music takes on so many carried elements. The one constant throughout are the upbeat chord progressions and instantly memorable melodies sung in Spanish, English and even Yiddish.
Besides his Dali-esque moustache, which won him an award at SXSW, Simja Dujov knows how to put on a good party and connect with his audiences which is why he’s constantly on the road playing wherever and whenever. Don’t be surprised if you catch him near you, wherever you are, next.
Sensual Harassment | Rusty’s (Deli Un/Off party)
Having featured Sensual Harassment on these pages in the past and with their latest EP ‘Escape From Alpha Draconis’ proving very popular at Cougar HQ i was eager to catch the band live.
We descended on Rusty‘s not quite knowing what to expect from the Brooklynites but far from disappointed. While the deceitfully catchy melodies lulled me into a false sense of security the hard-hitting rhythm section guaranteed that there wasn’t a dull moment.
The trio successfully blend elements of disco pop and 80’s new wave aesthetics into their own unique thing forcing even the biggest cynic to just dance.