Our final day at SXSW had us running all over Austin, TX to capture the last performances of the Nordic bands still in town. The sweat, tears and ankle edema was worth it, dear reader. Thank you for following along in our quest to share the best Nordic music at SXSW with you.
Dark Times (NO)
Playing under a pseudonym lest they upset the powers that be at SXSW for playing an unofficial show, Norwegian power-punk trio Dark Times was the perfect way to clear the mental cobwebs on Saturday morning. And the cavernous and dive-y Beerland was the ideal place to let their pulverizing riffs and snide vocals bounce around a while.
Simian Ghost (SE)
Tropical pop had some great international ambassadors at SXSW this year, but one of the best was this wonderful quartet from Sweden. Playing their last show of the festival, the group was noticeably loose in spirit and playful in attitude. Front man Sebastian Arnström was in particularly fine fettle with some great stage banter that swung between self-deprecation and rock star swagger.
Small Time Giants (GL)
We first saw STG perform in Copenhagen, Denmark at a venue called Loppen (“the flea”) a couple of years ago. Confession: wed bought tickets to the show in order to see their opening act, Nanook, another Greenlandic band, and really hadn’t heard STG that much. Their CPH show made such an impression, since then the Giants have been a regular on our Spotify workday soundtrack and we got VERY excited when it was announced they’d be playing official showcases at SXSW. Honestly, this band exceeded our expectations and memories of the show they played in Denmark, and you can expect many articles in the future here on Nordic Spotlight promoting this excellent band. If you ever have the chance to see them live, for the love of all that’s holy: GO.
Swedish forest faerie Skott played for us on the inside stage of Barracuda, a terrible venue for her ecclectic, sparkle-pop. She sounded great, as did her band, but the audience missed out on the intricate aural suprises layered between the parts of her compositions. You know, the stuff that separates Skott from the rest of the pop circus as a singer/songwriter with glittery superpowers. But, while the poor space acoustics and spears of outside base lines poked holes in her wonderful music, we still enjoyed her performance because the large crowd she attracted were all clearly enamored and recognized her specialness; this was endearing. Skott, please come back again next year but book a better venue so the masses can experience your shiny in all its glory.
We made it to Farida’s show halfway through her set, and the scene that met us at the venue Lucille’s was already bump-and-grind city. Not suprising, as the nightime air was hot and humid, both naturally from the residual heat of Texas sun and the sexy R&B sounds of Farida. The place was packed, the smiles were big, and the pheromones were rampant, so it’s safe to assume everyone had a good night. We certainly did, and we left our last official SXSW show satisfied that the Nordic music scene — and all genres and countries — had been well-represented.
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