Teenage nu-folker Alessi's Ark - a recently featured 'track of the day' artist - headed to the annual SXSW festival for the first time. The event in Austin, Texas, is often the springboard to success for many bands and artists so there is a lot riding on making a good impression. Here she writes exclusively for Qthemusic.com about her experiences (and you can see some of her photos):
"On my first ever day at SXSW I set up camp at the Radio Room on 6th Street. Sandwiched between the sets of Port 'O Brien and Loney Dear, I was pointed in the direction of Heartless Bastards - [click here for a photo] a favourite discovery! They filled up the Paste tent with their beautiful soulful rock. Led by Erika; a lady who beholds with a voice as powerful and pretty as Karen Dalton's. Hailing from Dayton, Ohio - this was their first show at SXSW ... they were a real treat for the ears. Listen to The Mountain and others gems on their Myspace page now.
M.Ward was next on the main stage and he was spell-binding. His unique style puts him a league of his own. You find yourself tucking away his sound in your heart. He sang of a box that he suggested you keep safe and lock - keep his songs safe, but be sure to share them. We then hoofed it down to a spot by the Colorado River and saw a lady get lucky with her fishing rod [click here for a photo]. We also saw a few turtles ... I heard from locals that they're particularly vicious round here.
The moon rolled around soon enough and we headed to Spiro's to see Miniature Tigers [photo here] and Magic Magic. Neither of the bands let down our expectations - if anything they surpassed them by a mile. I first found - and thought to share - their music when I wrote about them in Brain Bulletin [Alessi’s online blog] and since then we've kept each other in the loop. With the kindest spirits to match their amazing sounds, it was the perfect end to my first day at SXSW."
"On Day Two we split up the team as I headed down to the End of the Road Party whilst my folks wandered over to see Justin Towne Earle [photo here] play at Waterloo Records. Dad described Justin as being a young Woody Guthrie.
David Thomas Broughton and Wildbirds & Peacedrums gracefully opened up the EOTR party at Lambert's, the perfect setting for such a lovely bill - Sofia and Simon never fail to curate the best shows. The Whispertown 2000 played musical chairs, swapping instruments all throughout their pretty songs. Next up were The Low Anthem from Providence, Rhode Island. Ethereal, ghostly gospel and my favourite find of the day. The baton was then passed on to The Young Republic and Alela Diane [photo here]. Both sets were truly stunning; need not catch any more music today, I thought."
"Beautiful weather on Day Three and we headed down to Waterloo Records, caught the dear Vetiver, playing new ones and favourites and pleasing even the littlest locals ... kids were welcome! Next up were the Heartless Bastards; they set the bar even higher - playing longer and with even more grace than at the Paste show. I didn't think that show could've been topped ... but it was!
A good local friend Julia, adventured around town with me, for the most part, after the in-store and so we headed off to see Magic Magic in a friend's back garden, School of Seven Bells in the Radio Room tent and the Saddle Creek showcase indoors. It was a treat to catch so many kind, good folks all in a day..."
"A lot of fun was had on Saturday - a show at Wave on 6th Street and then a swift journey, in special company, up to the French Legation Museum to catch the Dirty Projectors - my second favourite find of this visit. Then a speedy return to Wave to listen in and step up to sing with Rodney Fisher, a lovely singer and gentleman. Jay Jay Pistolet and Winston, Ben and Ted from Mumford & Sons provided harmonies, drums, banjo and claps and it was a real treat for the ears!
Onwards to Stephen F's and joined by the dearest of friends and folks, I played my first ever SXSW performance [photo here]. It was a lovely show - John of Magic Magic came up and sang some harmonies on a few of my songs. Gig over, I packed up my bits and bobs and headed down the street to The Apple Bar to hear Magic Magic play one last time before we play together in May and once again, was blown away - those fellows are something special!!
Sunday was spent mostly in the air, en route to Los Angeles, but before we set off we were guided around South Congress by a sweet friend and stumbled across (luckily!) the last day of the screen printing exhibition in the convention center [photo here]. The art was unbelievable and entirely handmade. A great end to my debut SXSW."
11:46 AM | 24/03/2009
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