SXSW Day 3 - Bird's Eye View!
Woo Hoo! 33 degree heat and if you're not floored by that, then the fun just keeps coming. Today is a special day for me as I'm hosting and Djing the official Welsh party at the sxsw. Its the second year for the party and it seems like everything's really coming together for the British Music contingent here in Texas. Painting and renaming Latitude 30 in Union Jacks is one way to get our friendly neighbourghood Yanks' attention - but then, every thing has to be big in Texas! Scotland, N Ireland, and Liverpool have already forged well established links with the city, and Wales and the West of England are certainly making a small dent in the attention grabbing, music selling, cattle market out here.
More photos and blog this way...
Before heading for the Official party however, there was time to just sample some of the fun locations that some of sxsw parties are held at. The grapevine is a marvellous thing, far better than a brochure! I drove to a central parking lot near 6th street to a Nylon Magazine party to watch last night's find, Mah Jong, play one of three marquees on the roof of said carpark, overlooking downtown Austin. It was early doors, and I couldn't stick around but fun view!
Back to duty and the first band on the party bill are very familiar with Austin and toured extensively in the United States, from Porthcawl, People in Planes.
Then another established Welsh act, Christopher Rees, who'se set up his own label, recorded three albums off his own back and now coming back to play and tour the country that first helped him find his musical voice - he first started playing while travelling around San Francisco.
An artist who has suddenly found herself at the centre of a Neon Neon attention storm, since singing 'I Lust You' with Gruff Rhys is Cate Le Bon from Cardiff. I've long been a fan of her haunting, crystal, swooping vocals and stunning guitar playing. Its folk at its late 60s best, and despite the party chatter, and apparently one hour's sleep since rehearsing in L.A with aforementioned band, she was on top 'effortlessly cool' form.
Celtic roots are a funny thing around the world, and I also met a lovely musician from Toronto whose named his band, Birds of Wales. We caught up to chat about Gruff Rhys' imaginary family tree and all things Welsh.
Closing the Welsh party were the art rock, punk, crazed but lovely threesome, The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club. Drummer Emma kick started the party by parting the crowd in her neon coloured pink ball gown, and clanging a big school bell. What a fine, fun party! Whoop!
Indeed, the whole day was turning into a home international as I then drove off to watch Neon Neon aka Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip featuring Har Mar Superstar and Cate Le Bon, on a rooftop terrace overlooking the lights and Owl tower of Austin. What a view? What - free drinks? A bucking bronco? A big strong man mallet? A skins style rave upstairs? !!! Indeed, and all set in a slightly sinister American style working men's club. "Elks, sign in your friends" said a sign on the door!