SXSW report part 1

So here is a little run down of what we saw while at SXSW in Austin Texas,  it might be useful to get a bit of background info on the festival which began in 1987. The reason for starting the festival came out of a frustration and isolation that was felt by musicians based in Austin, what with them being located in the middle of Texas they wanted to reach out to a global market and bring business to them. To do that successfully, SXSW needed to appeal to people other than local artists whether they were from Austin, Ft. Worth, Chicago, Toronto, Munich or Tokyo. The music event has grown from 700 professional registrants in 1987 to nearly 12,000 registrants, people now come from all over the world in order to network, check out new bands and to showcase labels.

This is our fourth year at SXSW and we have found it invaluable in terms of finding interesting acts for both our year round programme and also for curating Supersonic Festival, it also gives us the opportunity to meet with agents and labels that we work with face to face. Each year we try and approach our time at SXSW slightly differently in order to have new experiences. Of course this is where we had our showcase with Oxbow in 2007 which turned into a full blown bar room brawl (you can read all about that here).

So here is a little run down of what we did at SXSW Music:
img_1387 Firstly and I guess most importantly was the cupcake van, no festival is complete without some kind of baked delights, this ingenious van was located at convenient places over the course of the week, which meant that I had to try a carrot cake cup cake with cream cheese topping purely as research.
img_1389We went and checked out HR from Bad Brains solo project, having been a big fan of Bad Brains we were curious to see what this was going to be like…unfortunately it was a little dull a bit too dub.

img_0040img_1467This is Flatstock, a huge poster art fair, presented by the American Poster Institute, a truely overwhelming experience when you first enter a huge warehouse type space filled with music related screen prints. Over the years we have purchased many a print, to the point where we no longer have wall space at home. Flatstock features groups such as Burlesque Of North America, Mexican Chocolate Design and Engine House 13.


Teepee records showcase, the highlight was a band called  Black Math Horseman these guys are from Los Angeles and have a female vocalist with a similar vibe to OM in that they are pretty heavy & repetitive, Tee Pee describe them as ambient post-doom.  Also playing were Earthless (who will be at Supersonic this year and feature proloific drummer and skateboarder Mario Rubalcaba, he’s played with Rocket From The Crypt, went on to bang away for the Hot Snakes, was the drummer for hardcore art-punks Clikatat Ikatowi and previously was in the Black Heart Procession.) We first saw Earthless at a Teepee showcase 3 years ago and have been hassling them to play Supersonic ever since, so we’re really excited that they’ll be over in July.
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We were lucky enough to catch the Flower Travellin’ Band and wig out to Endless Boogie at the Knitting Factory showcase, it was a real privilege to witness the antics of the Flower Travellin Band from Japan, they were originally meant to open for the Rolling Stones in 1973 but due to visa issues were not allowed into States, so better late that never, they must have been a really big influence on Acid Mothers Temple.

“Their particular brand of psychedelic rock is delightfully heavy and strange, emphasized by the fact that they have abandoned the electric guitar in favor of the hugely complex, wide-necked sitarla. Vocalist Akira “Joe” Yamanaka’s voice is jarring and alien, but somehow suits the band’s style quite well. I don’t often think of this sound as having thrived across the world in Japan, but FTB’s extensive discography says otherwise.” [JDub Records blog]

img_1402img_1409img_1406More to come…

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Home Of Metal in the Guardian

guardian_0309A selection of photos of fans from our last Home Of Metal open day at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery were featured in last weekends Guardian Magazine. The photos were taken by photographer Barry Lewis. As you can see there was a real cross section of fans in attendance old and young, Sabbath to Napalm fans coming together to share their passion for Birmingham & The Black Country.
As a result of the last open day Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery have committed to a large scale exhibition in Gas Hall for 2011, as have Wolverhampton Art Gallery and New Art Gallery Walsall – keep watching this space for further news.

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Interlude

Feeling a little overtired after a 24 hr journey back from Austin Texas to the not quite so sunny Birmingham, have seen some amazing bands, met some great people and we are brimming with ideas and exciting news for Supersonic. When I’m slightly more coherent we’ll put a run down of which acts we went to see while at SXSW, in the meantime enjoy one of our highlights MONOTONIX at Don’t Mess With Texas:

“Have you ever seen a hairy Israeli man shove a microphone up his ass while balancing perfectly on a crowd-surfing bass drum? Well, I saw Ami Shalev of Monotonix do exactly that, and as you would expect it was fucking astonishing. The cavemen of Tel Aviv’s Monotonix are capable of Olympian feats of rock and roll jackassery, from spiderly scaling of the stage’s supports to having the audience hold all the drums (except the hi-hat) and the fucking drummer in the fucking air while he keeps a flawless beat. And the music ain’t bad either, a Zeppelin-ish brand of easy greasy riffs and chomping drums that drives simply through all the madness on and off the stage. This is music that was meant for an arena or a packed city block or angry protest or really anywhere with a huge crowd and shit to climb on. In short, Monotonix is anarchic, silly, and they play in their underpants.”

Review by Mike McHugh taken from www.tinymixtapes.com/SXSW-Saturday-Mess-With-Texas

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Mono tickets for show this Sat

This Saturday we have Japanese band Mono performing at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, tickets have now sold out online but there are a handful at Swordfish & Polar Bear and we will be keeping a limited amount available on the door. (doors are at 8pm)
support comes from Ihora, featuring current and former members of Jesu, Cable Regime and Final

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SXSWI – ahhh my brain hurts

Currently in a state of information overload – going to panel discussions, being jetlagged, trying to follow loads of tweets on Twitter, meeting new people, coping with 80 degree heat and being over excited…so rather than trying to digest whats going on, here are a few random shots of what we’ve been up to so far. When my brain can get to grips with it all I will write up a more meaningful post but in the meantime enjoy Austin through the eyes of a Capsule Granny…

Hat Game gets launched by the Umbrella Group

Hat Game gets launched by the Umbrella Group

Giant cocktail olives

Giant cocktail olives

Trying out the famous margarita with olives

Trying out the famous margarita with olives

Random goat in someones yard

Random goat in someones yard

Fran's hamburgers - best veggie burger

Fran's hamburgers - best veggie burger

Hunting out prizes for the Hat game winners

Hunting out prizes for the Hat game winners

just trying on the prizes for size

just trying on the prizes for size

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Lego area in the conference centre gets the creative juices going

Lego area in the conference centre gets the creative juices going

Rescue dog petting outside the convention centre

Rescue dog petting outside the convention centre

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Capsule off to SXSWi as part of The Umbrella Group

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The Umbrella Group heads out SXSWi festival

A delegation of the country’s leading digital artists and producers are heading over to Austin, Texas this week to attend this year’s SXSW Interactive festival, funded by Arts Council England. The Festival celebrates the creativity and passion behind the coolest new media technologies. In addition to panel sessions that cover everything from web design to bootstrapping to social networks, attendees can make new business connections at the three-day Trade Show & Exhibition.
The delegation, known as The Umbrella Group, will research new opportunities, view work, spot emerging digital trends and experience first hand one of the biggest international conferences and festivals of the year.

Managed by iShed, The Umbrella Group comprises of Dan Efergan of Aardman, Sarah Ellis of Apples and Snakes, Simon Evans of Simon Games, Alex Fleetwood of Hide & Seek, Steve Manthorp of Manthorp ACT, Lisa Meyer and Jenny Moore of Capsule, Simon Poulter of Viral, Duncan Speakman, Nina Steiger of Soho Theatre, Jess Tyrell of Germination and Andrew Wilson of Blink. They will be joined by Clare Reddington of iShed and David Drake, Sally Luton and Adrian Friedli of Arts Council England.

Whilst out at the Festival The Umbrella Group, who are easily spotted as they carry umbrellas, will be running The Hat Game designed by Simon Games. Featuring a gps tracked bowler hat, festival attendees will be able to make contact with The Umbrella Group, track the hat online and claim the hat, wearing it for as long as they can until it is claimed by someone else.

Find out more at http://www.umbrellagroup.org
and keep up to date with the group at their blog:
http://www.ished.net/projects/sxsw

or by searching twitter for #uksxsw.

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Flatpack Festival is almost here…

curzonora_web
Launching this Wednesday is the highly anticipated Flatpack festival, kicking off proceedings at Birmingham Town Hall is CURZONORA, a celebration of cinema’s early days featuring THE DESTROYERS

This week the ‘musical whirlwind’ known as The Destroyers will be presenting a brand-new set specially commissioned to open the Flatpack Festival. Curzonora is a tribute to Birmingham’s early film showman WALLER JEFFS, and will feature live scores to some of the films you would have found at his 1900s shows, including pioneering sci-fi movie TRIP TO THE MOON (Georges Melies), the rootin’-tootin’ GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (Edwin S. Porter) and a selection of amazing footage from the Mitchell and Kenyon Collection, shot around Birmingham at the dawn of the 20th century.

Weds 11th March, 7.30pm at Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham B3 3DQ
Book tickets online, at the venue or by calling 0121 780 3333
> http://www.thsh.co.uk/view/flatpack-festival-presents-curzonora
> http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=69594063311
> http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk/09/festival/event/curzonora

Flatpack Festival 3 runs in venues across the city from 11-15 March.
More info at http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk

Other events during the festival include a screening of the Led Zeppelin film ‘The Song Remains The Same‘  with a talk by music archivist Chris Phipps as part of our Home Of Metal celebrations. This will take place on Saturday 14th, 4pm at South Birmingham College in Digbeth.
Other music related events as part of the festival include a film about singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan, a performance by the lovely Bela Emerson, Sublime Frequencies film Sumatran Folk Cinema + heaps more amazing stuff. Go check stuff out!!!

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Wonderleague aka Francesca Bunny Williams

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Just wanted to high light the amazing work of Bunny she describes herself as ARTIST, ILLUSTRATOR, COLLECTOR, FANATIC, COSTUMIER, STYLIST, PROP MAKER, ART DIRECTOR, ZINE & COMIC BOOK AUTHOR, HOSTESS, GO GO DANCER, MODEL, ACTRESS, VOICE ACTOR, MUSICIAN, AGONY AUNT, ESCORT, SPECIAL GUEST, CAKE DECORATOR, VINTAGE CLOTHES DEALER, 21ST CENTURY ANTIQUES EXPERT, DOG SITTER, WRITER, SHOP OWNER, LECTURER, FILM THEORIST, HAIRSTYLIST AND ASPIRING MAGICIAN’S ASSISTANT AND WRESTLING VALET. Most recently Bunny produced a doodle which we are using for our fancy new business cards. Previously we have commissioned her to produce an illustrated diagram linking members of the 5 bands which we are focusing on for Home Of Metal (we hope at some point to turn this into a teatowel).


Of course we were inspired to commission Bunny after we saw her incredible map of hair metal (which you can purchase as a print from her shop)

This map charts the movements of band members between groups in the hair metal genre and beyond. As the disclaimer states: “Hair metal may include or be known as: glam metal, heavy metal, hard rock, glam rock, shock rock, nwobhm, flash metal, speed metal, thrash metal, classic metal, classic rock, power metal or just metal”

Its well worth checking out her website and work as other treats include her costumes:

Under the Wonderleague name Bunny has a stall where she sells a fantastic selection of kitsch treasures & baked goods , you might have seen her at Supersonic last year. Of course we love her not just because shes extremely talented by for her cupcakes and fondness of the small dogs too.



See more of her photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnybissoux/
Wonderleague website http://www.wonderleague.co.uk/
Blog http://www.bunnybissoux.blogspot.com/

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