WUOG trekked out to Austin to experience 2018’s Sxsw! From camping with goats to seeing band after band it was quite a ride! Check out our favorite artists from the festival below!
When Sudan Archives came on stage, I was still barely in the indoor room of the Mohawk, fighting my way to get deeper into the crowd for a consistent line of vision. It was a battle to say the least for a room that packed and small, but my effort were rewarded by far. Sudan Archives was a vision on stage. A lone musician, Brittney Denise Parks (Sudan Archives), manages beat and midi-board looping, vocals, and of course her Northeast Africa-style of violin. Parks snaked around the stage dancing while also managing each element and texture with precision for a presence that was hypnotic and alluring. Her set was the first to blow me away at Sx, and while it was not the last, Sudan Archives won the spot of my overall favorite performance at the festival.
If one current band were to take me back in time, it would be Anemone. The Montreal band, fronted by Chloé Soldevila, is a prime example of all of what I imagined to be great of the Flower Power era. Grooving basslines, call and response vocals, and organy synths, strongly accompany Soldevila’s dreamy vocals, and of course jazz hands and massive, flirty dance moves. Their psych pop melodies were all-encompassing and even inspired twirling in the crowd. The strongest point of their set came in the decadent french-sung song, which I can only hope is off of their upcoming EP on Luminelle Records.
Fresh after Sudan Archive’s set and a Nardwaur sighting and introduction on the first night, Lomelda took the Mohawk indoor stage. Far from the mysterious energy of Sudan Archives, Lomelda’s set was about sincerity. Cozy and folksy instrumentals met vocalist Hannah Read, crooning with a furrowed brow while keeping a small bounce in her posture. Everything about Lomelda was incredibly human, and you couldn’t just help feeling that human and vulnerable too.
Combo Chimbita commanded their set with a ferocious energy. The New York-via-Columbia group strongly celebrated their Columbian roots, especially through cumbia rhythms and vocalist Carolina Oliveros’s vigorous use of the guacharaca. While they took influence from tradition, Combo Chimbita refreshed and invigorated their sound with whirling synths and enormous vocals. All of their songs were performed in Spanish, but even with a language barrier, their wild energy made their set relatable and incredibly engaging.
I sadly only caught the bottom half of the frequent Kendrick Lamar collaborator, but Anna Wise still managed to leave strong impression on me. Anna Wise much reminded me of Sudan Archives’ set, just out the the mesmerizing power of the lone lady on stage. Anne Wise, one of my favorite vocalists of Sxsw, used vocal looping to get a fuller sound to her set, adding a further level of warmth. Not only did Anna Wise prove her talent as a vocalist and songwriter, but she dedicated a good part of her set to speaking about the importance of self-love. Anna Wise provided to be an amazing artist, from her music to beyond.
SXSW by the numbers
Campsite goat count: 7
Band count: 43
Texas toast count: 2
Taco count: 2
Nardwuar sightings: 4