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Sunday, March 17, 2013

SXSW The Kick Off

Wednesday has always been the official kick off to the music portion of South By Southwest (SXSW). The entire SXSW conference has become a beast of a whole different proportion in recent years, and I definitely don't crab about the giant commercial entity it has become, hell I look forward to it whole hearted. All of the things to see and bands to experience, I love it.

 Of all the places I could go to kick things off, how about Macy's? Right! My thought also. Macy's American Rag collection sponsored by the Van's Warped Tour. As a special event, Macy's had a stage in their store with special acoustic performances by Super Water Sympathy (SWS) and Breathe Carolina. I, unfortunately did not catch Breathe Carolina, but look forward to that in the near future, but was wowed by the SWS performance.

Super Water Sympathy ( was here in Austin, Texas as recent as February for a full on show at the One2One. These young kids from Shreveport. La. brought a big time touring show to a local venue and it was heart stopping. Their sound is clean, crisp and full of energy. Fronted by the vocals of Ansley Hughes, it is truly stunning. They do what you want when you go out to see a show. They put on a show! The way that SWS stands on stage and becomes one with the crowd is unbelievable. The guitars and keys mesh together into a sound that can only be described by the band as 'Water Pop'. The big bold vocals and the haunting sounds of the rhythm section are only topped off by a light show that you just don't see, unless you pay big money and go to the event sized arenas. To think they are still doing this on a small scale seems unimaginable, but then you snap back to reality and realize, "Oh Shit!" They are gonna be on the Vans Warped Tour for a second year in a row. There is definitely something special within the bands collective beating heart, and how they give that to the audience in a performance is just beautiful.

This leads me to SXSW kick off at Macy's. It was an acoustic performance. This could possibly be a crack in the foundation of a lesser band, if they were not prepared, but not SWS. Taking the stage and blasting through their set list in slow motion was wonderful. Here again the vocal performance of Ms Hughes was more than enough to make the crowd of young, eager on lookers just shut up and listen. Though they may not have known the songs of SWS, the crowd liked what they heard, clapped and swayed to a phenomenal sound. I don't think there could have been a better performance to introduce a whole new fan base to what is already a great band.

Handing out little business cards with free downloads of some SWS songs was just the perfect thing to do to work the crowd into a frenzy after hearing the haunting, but stunning performance.

I had the pleasure of catching them yet a third time the next day, but will save that blog for another part to my SXSW excursion.