SXSW Recap Day 1: Choir of Young Believers, Dan Deacon, Zola Jesus, Purity Ring and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, May 19th, 2024  

Choir of Young Believers, Dan Deacon, Zola Jesus, Prince Rama, Purity Ring, Kindness, SXSW 2012

SXSW Recap Day 1: Choir of Young Believers, Dan Deacon, Zola Jesus, Purity Ring and More,

Mar 19, 2012 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern SXSW 2012
Bookmark and Share

SXSW starts with a hug. And—if you’re very lucky—a kiss. Sure it’s a music conference, a place where new bands head to earn their buzz, established bands visit to hock their wares, and everyone goes to practice the age-old art of FOMO. But before all that “work,” friends, co-workers, band members, and publicists start it all off with a squeeze. We may whine about the long hours, the endless schedules, and all forms of “work” (again with the quotation marks) but don’t let our kvetching fool you—this is summer camp for the music industry.

After a long day at Under the Radar’s first of three day parties, (which held its own share of joyful reunions) the team dispersed to seek their own SXSW bliss. Our evening kicked off at Club deVille where Danish seven-piece Choir of Young Believers were performing cuts from forthcoming sophomore album, Rhine Gold. Even though extended cut “Paralyse”—which clocks in at ten minutes—was cut significantly short, it was a rousting set of bittersweet, retro-flavored pop tunes. Frontman Jannis Noya Makrigiannis’ Andrew Bird-like voice proved as strong as it is in recordings.

No one in the whole of SXSW can match the energy of Dan Deacon, whose rainbow-dipped-electro noise pop lit up the NPR showcase at Stubbs. But before he could put all his high-octane tunes to use, he struggled through a series of tech issues that caused him to go on significantly later than planned. Stranded on stage, he looked into the audience, comparing his situation to the scene where the Blues Brothers aren’t in the venue and Cab Calloway has to take the stage—performing a flawless rendition of “Minnie the Moocher.” Regardless of if Deacon saw himself as a Blues Brother or Calloway, his set was near-flawless, including perhaps the most intricately orchestrated dance party ever. (“Dance as though as though Avatar was good!” he informed the audience.)

Shockingly, we were able to walk directly into Elysium, where Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova) was taking the stage. The theatrical songstress worked through powerhouse renditions of her dark-pop album Conactus, hands and arms flailing in time with her drummer’s beat. The performance was melodramatic—and a perfect complement to her oddly 1980s live aesthetic. After a few songs though, the winds carried us out of the venue and over to Chevrolet Sound Garage.

…which turned out to be a terrible mistake, as Prince Rama was on stage. I’m sure band members Taraka Larson and Nimai Larson were as confused as the audience—as their set contained quirks-layered on top of each other to the point the whole performance took on the air of an eight-grade talent show. Appropriate, as clearly we had stumbled onto amateur hour, as a trust fall, a sparkly blanket draped over the head, and coordinated dance moves all made an appearance. Was it so bad it was good? No, it was just bad.

Simply good was Kindness. No make that simply awesome. The British collective harnessed a freewheeling, R&B beat, crafting it into a super slick dance party. (Indie rock needs more dancing. Full stop.) Think of Kindness as a highly-enjoyable, Toro Y Moi for the active set.

At that point we were exhausted, but willing to wait it out for a chance to see Purity Ring, whose spooky electro tunes seemed like a perfect way to close out the night. That is, until we watched the band set up for what seemed like an eternity. While it was amusing to hear singer Megan James test the mike with little-girl-lost rendition of “You are My Sunshine,” overall, watching the pair set up drained much of the mystery out of the performance. When they did get started though it was a dramatic sea change, as James—in all her sister-wife garb—and instrumentalist Corin Roddick, created a eerie Knife-like ambience, all twisted beats and sinister beauty. Worn out, I called it a night, and headed home to rest up for the next day’s adventure. (


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

September 26th 2012

Watching this presentation , was alsomt like the greyscalegorilla has been in my head.What is sad though is that I’ve known a lot of these solutions you’ve mentioned but never did them or did them half way.I think if the whole presentation was summed up into various sentences , one that would come up is challenge yourself . I for one need to work on my deadlines.One thing that resonated with me especially was your comment about storytelling, I’ve watched every behind the scenes there is on a dvd from Brad Birds the incredibles to David Goyers Blade, and through out a lot of emphasis is put on story and storytelling.I’ve been buying dvd’s from the dialogue series just to see if I can up my writing skills which is not too bad and also John truby’s stuff, hopefully I succeed and also I understand having a good eye is not something that can be taught because personally I have a good eye for color but after having went through the course for color theory with Digital Tutors i think it helped a great deal and having the color palettes on my wall help me make color decision quicker. But really thanks for this information it was great, very very Awesome@vicI have a question but before that , I have a suggestion (just a suggestion for vic) , dude or lady , trust me, you need to move out. I’m African as well and I’ve encountered the same issues, I was 18 (which was already late)when I got my first PC with QuickBasic on it, so I started to learn programming, Years later I will get into photoshop due to the fact that I was good with color even in DOS so I felt I could design. The folks around when I moved to london to study Computer Science did their best to encourage me to stop, they couldn’t see what I was trying to do, they will go to sleep at 9 or 10 , wake up at 6 or 8 only to find me still sitting at the computer figuring maya out. I must say though I wasn’t working at the time so maybe electric bills and such. Things were different when I lived with my friend for a while and everybody in his family is into these visual stuff, he print’s and fixes computers, his younger bro’s are photographers and editors and we all share info and due to dat I managed to go further to make a living out of what I do instead of giving up and I’m still working to be at the level I need to be because this is what i do well and the only thing I can do in my life. if I dont do this and do it right I’m f..ked . This is what you need to understand, you are unique,even amogst your family you are unique and I mean no disrepect at all, but you need to understand that what you have is a lil fragile and it needs space and encouragement to grow, I grew up in a house of a brilliant doctor who would later became minister of health and transport for 8 good years back in my original country, he didn’t see potential in me when I was younger because I wasn’t gonna be a doctor, but later his face went blank when he saw me program the shit out of a pc.I’ve read profiles of so many people in this industry from Stu Mashwiths to you name names, they all had some form of grounding from childhood, it’s not always true but it helps to be in the right environment.I’ve never been in America, but I’ve seen so many documentaries some from even where people migrate to certain regions where their type of work is in demand and respected and well paid and they become successful with hard work and consistency. I guess things are little different now with so many complaining that works are being outsourced to India. lolI may be wrong, because I dont fully understand your situation or what works for one doesn’t work for the other but I do know that the environment affects you, if you wanna test this out do this, move into an area which is very nice and colorful or into a group of people who do what you do even better and see if you dont change , Napoleon Hill talks about these things in think and grow rich. If I were you,I will probably get an extra job and do my other stuff at nights and off days build myself a killer reel save money move out and start afresh. It’s America Dude.Anyway NickMy Questioni read this article at and I didn’t like it, with so many VFX Artist being out of jobs and stuff, do you think as an aspiring vfx artist I should remain on course of find something else, was my Uncle who knows nothing about this industry right when he told me that this industry is too saturated and I’m better off as a cleaner like everyone else. Though I’m one that wants to setup my own VFX and post house whatever, I really would like to work for quite a while in the industry , what do you think