SXSW Day 2: Hello Seahorse!, Juan Son

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After a morning of working and not much resting, we headed to our first (and perhaps only) panel of the conference: Branding Latin Music for a Worldwide Audience. Panelists included artist Natalia Lafourcade, managers Gil Gastelum and Diego Jimenez, BMI Associate Director Marissa Lopez, and more. in the afternoon, action started with a huge paella and sangria outdoor showcase. Even though we missed the free food and drinks (catching up on more work) AND the coveted Jorge Drexler (who was just hanging out), we finally started catching up on our music.

What we saw…

Showcase: Sounds from Spain
Band: Los Coronas (+ DePedro cameo)
Reviu: This was part of an afternoon outdoor stage showcase featuring many of the Spanish bands in attendance at the conference. Jorge Drexler rubbed shoulders with fans and new fans (but didn’t perform), and you could hear the bands for blocks. Los Coronas play pretty cool psychodelic surf music, and seriously look like they were transported straight from the 70s (both in their look and ’cause, well, they’re pretty old!!!) and singer-songwriter “hottie” (as per his publicist) DePedro joined them onstage.

Showcase: ??
Band: Bam Bam (Monterrey, Mexico)
Reviu: These guys and frontwoman/drummer gal rocked.  We’d listened to them a bit on MySpace enough beforehand to have them pique our interest, but the show was super-raw and full of energy, in the best way ever. Playing in a pub, the windows were open to the street, which drew a pretty significant crowd outside. Martin Thulins from Los Fancy Free was in attendance, and confessed to that Bam Bam is currently his favorite Mexican band, and they were easily our favorites of the night. Walking with Martin to the Naco show, we all commented on the lack of beautiful güeyes in Austin this year…is it the recession? Or have we gotten pickier? Unable to find an answer, we took a photo with a huge flag of Texas.

Showcase: Naco
60 Tigres (Mexico)
We had loved 60 Tigres when we booked them for our La Otra Puerta Show with MySpace last summer in Chicago, and the regiomontanos did not disappoint. Since the departure of drama queen Efren Baro (now with Division Minúscula, also at SXSW… hmm!), Chivo (formerly drums) is now on guitar, Michael (formerly on percussion) now takes on the drums. Even though, according to Chivo, the switch was easy because they don’t really needed the percussion, we could notice the lack of funkiness and energy the percussion brought to the mix. 60 Tigres just finished a new EP, which should be out this summer.

A lil’ taste of 60 Tigres live, with bassist Polo all That 70’s Show with his shirt and curly hair (you know we have to comment on hairdos!):

Hello Seahorse

Showcase: Naco
Hello Seahorse! (Mexico)
We’ve been crushing on this band for a while now, and their smooth indie pop sound was just as good live as on the CD (well, online … on the computer….), though since it’s mellow stuff, not entirely the most captivating show.  Lead singer Lo has that whole hot librarian thang going on, and has a classically trained voice (which Remezclera pana Edson commented reminded him of a Disney cartoon, evoking images of birds flying around her… we’re not sure we entirely agree!)  The set was definitely more enjoyable if you knew the songs, which we did …and their rendition of “Rapper’s Delight” was pretty awesome.  We’re still crushing.

Juan Son

Showcase: Naco
Juan Son (Mexico)
The artist everyone wanted to see and the biggest disappointment of the night. But it’s not the ex-Porter’s fault. The sound system at Flamingo’s was HORRIBLE, and his band didn’t get visas to come to Austin, so Juan was left all alone on stage, dressed as a slice of peperoni pizza (pretty subtle costume, we were expecting some makeup at least !) with a mic, guitar and an accordion. It also doesn’t help that his new album, Mermaid Sashimi, is all about the layers of his amazing voice, which live just didn’t translate. But daaaaayyyyum, what a voice. Even the shitty sound couldn’t mask the talent this boy has. Somehow, we can’t get his single “Nada” (album version) out of our heads, maybe because we wished it would’ve sounded like the album onstage. (Juan Son will get a chance to redeem himself tonight as he headlines a second show at Dirty Dog.)

12am onward…
Non-Latin fix with:
We Have Band (UK), Little Boots (UK), Datarock (Norway), Peter Bjorn and John (Sweden), Easy Stars- All Stars (USA)
Reviu: Yes, every once in a while, we need to get out of the Latino ghetto! We floated around different showcases checking out all these acts, and even ran into Perez Hilton as he waited along with other mere mortals to see Little Boots. And yes, we took a photo (no shame!).

A slimmed down Perez Hilton

Natalia Lafourcade (Mexico)
We slipped in for the tail end of Natalia’s headlining set back at Flamingo’s, and it was paaaaaacked!  Like the night before, the music was beautiful, mellow, and complex.  We can’t wait to hear the album, ’cause unfortunately, Flamingo’s was not the best spot for her…

El chisme…
Read above. We finally officiall met best couple ever Ceci Bastida and Josh Kun, and with Juan Son, who is surprisingly not awkward in person, albeit shy. We almost did not recognize Erik from Allison with his long hair, but took the requisite XoXa pic with him (to reenact 2 SXSWs ago). Everyone and their mother seems to have gone to see Primal Scream perform, and the after-parties were all packed. We just went to bed…well, to our laptops.

BAM BAM! By far, Bam Bam was the best act (Latin and non!) we saw on our second day at SXSW. Young, different, energetic, unpretentious. Big trends: half-shaved heads for guys and girls are getting  a bit old (Ileana from Calle 13 sported that look ages ago), but singer-drummers, and women drummers in general are our favorite new trend. We’re not talking about bateria but the huge bass drum you hit like in marching bands. We saw Ceci Bastida, the singer from We Have Band and Bam Bam rocking the drums and we want to play too. Did this trend start with El Guincho?

Our showcase! At Fuze Club.