As we highlighted in the March edition of our podcast, there were a wealth of Nordic artists that descended upon Austin, Texas last month to perform at SXSW. While we weren’t able to do our usual in depth reporting from the field, our intrepid colleague Melissa trekked out to this year’s Sounds From Norway showcase to snap a few photos and give us this report.
For the fifth year in a row, Sounds From Norway played host to an array of amazing sounds from the titular nation at SXSW. In recent years, this event was held at Icenhauer’s but a move to Elysium was a smart one, thanks to its dedicated stage, great sound, and a spacious dance floor. It’s also one of the few showcases that doesn’t require attendees to have a wristband or badge for the whole festival attend. Their cash cover meant many dedicated Nordic music fans could happily pay a small sum to see six great international acts.
This year’s showcase was presented by Brilliance Records, together with Music Norway and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Houston. And even, the Crown Prince of Norway made an appearance as the guest of honor!
The night kicked off with Aiming For Enrike, an instrumental two-piece band with an impressive collection of effects pedals. Their music would be the perfect soundtrack for a post-modern noir thriller and fit in perfectly at the subversive, somewhat spooky venue.
Next up was Ask Carol, another two-piece band, formed by drummer Ask and singer/guitarist Carol. The band sounds like at least four people who all want to melt your face then lick your wounds after.
At 10pm, the five-piece band Hajk took the stage. Theirs was a great soulful, jazzy, gospel-inflected sound, with fantastic male/female vocals, reminded me of Icelandic band Moses Hightower.
Rounding out my night was IDK Ariel, the solo act from Petter Ariel Skog, which has been described as “the trap version of MGMT.” That’s an entirely apt description for his sound, but his stage presence was far more fascinating as he skulked around the stage.