As local love for homegrown artists grows ever stronger, there’s also a little buzz of pride in the way our musicians are currently asserting the legitimacy of Australian music on the world stage.
A quick gander at the line-up for Austin’s annual culture jam South By South West puts things into perspective; more than 40 of our best playing sets, submitting music videos, and showing films.
As South by South West takes place once again in the US of A, Australians are quietly seeing some of our best representation ever.
Just as Austin is the breath of fresh air in Texas, SXSW has become the welcome break in America’s increasingly crass, superficial festival season. It blends the cream of the creative industries with an honest and transparent appreciation of the commercial environment which makes it all possible.
From networking events to dark and dirty dance parties on the infamous Sixth Street, the organisers’ claim to uncover new acts and relationships by bringing together diverse topics and personalities is far from empty. A gig at SXSW isn’t just great exposure for an artist, it’s a little nod of approval from a setup which has in the past drawn the likes of everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks to Iggy Pop and Depeche Mode. Needless to say, you’re stoked when you get that nod.
Undoubtedly one of the major drivers between our awesome level of representation is the enduring partnership between the festival and Sounds Australia, one of the strongest forces behind getting Aussie music heard overseas.
This year sees the return of The Aussie BBQ, a well-loved day of veneration for our mob which first kicked off at SXSW back in 2003. Since then it’s grown into a tour which has included pit-stops around North America, the UK, and further afield in Asia.
In 2017 the BBQ is being split into two huge days, with the demand for a second, electronic-focused show being chalked up to Flume’s Grammy success. The unplugged (or less-plugged, anyway) first day features Alex Lahey, The Rumjacks, Vera Blue, noughties staple Kasey Chambers, as well as a set from All Our Exes Live in Texas, who it’s assumed will be scanning the faces in the crowd with a fair degree of apprehension.
Naturally, the BBQ includes your classic sausage sizzle snag-in-bread…they’ve been calling them “Aussie Tacos”. No word yet on whether a few slabs of the Very Best will make it behind the bar.
We’re not just being repped in the national showcase, though. After fist-to-hip, pop-rock subversives Methyl Ethel tore it down in 2016 there’s been an increasing clamour for that special brand of introspective, psychological creativity that flows from WA.
Fremantle’s Koi Child will bring their hybrid verses and jams down to Half Step on Rainey St, while Perth’s Kučka has two shows lined up around town to lay out her unique electronic vibe. Tame Impala’s Cameron Avery will be performing tracks from his solo project both at his own show as well as part of The Aussie BBQ.
Other killer Aussie ambassadors on the upward bend include Woodes, Melbourne’s singer, songwriter and production team rolled into one, and Bad Decisions, the homegrown producers slinging hooks hard enough to cut diamonds.
Sydney and Melbourne see understandably solid representation over the festival, while beyond the music there’s also going to be a showcase of seven Australian start-ups organised by Austrade and even a film about Aussie Bond George Lazenby.
It’s all pretty eclectic, and all very Australian. If Austin’s a realistic option for you in the next week, well – you’d be a goon to miss it.
While you’re here, check out our feature on how to promote your band, featuring some sage advice from some of Australia’s best publicists.