Sound Dessert in partnership with Alice Afterall and Hardly Sound presented the Love, Austin showcase during SXSW 2014. Held at a secret location, the night featured performances by Frances Cone, Falls, Topaz Jones, Me & The Bees and Lily Kershaw.
The concept behind Love, Austin surfaced in response to “pay to play” and upholding the foundation of the SXSW festival – to discover talented, emerging artists. For one night we invited music lovers to enjoy an intimate and carefully curated showcase, where the bands truly were the center of attention.
Love, Austin kicked off with Frances Cone who’s sonorous, breathy voice instantly captivated the audience. The Brooklyn singer/songwriter belts out ballads on love, friendship and loss including the emotive “Rattles Your Heart” and the hopeful “Soon”. Joined by Jeff Malinowski (guitar/vocals) and Andrew Doherty (bass/vocals) the trio join together in delivering uplifting harmonies.
Cone released her debut album Come Back last year and has been featured on Sound Dessert a number of times, including this interview about said release. Cone spent the week playing showcases for Paste, Rachael Ray and more.
Falls hail from Sydney, Australia and were excited to be in Austin for their second SXSW. Last year was the duo’s first time in America and Austin especially brought them exposure, connections and opportunities. They were also touched by the kind, generous people they met. The trip to the states left such an impression that the pair was inspired to write the song “When We Were Young“, which they performed at the Love, Austin showcase.
That fuzzy feeling is mutual. Everyone at the show ‘fell’ for the pair and the buzz on this band is quickly spreading. Fall’s EP Into The Fire recently reached #1 on the Billboard Regional Heatseekers chart for the Northeast. Congrats to them! Not that it comes as any surprise. The talented twosome have only toured with Of Monsters and Men and The Lumineers. So there’s that.
Topaz Jones changed things up with a sick hip-hop set that incorporated synths, funk beats and samples. The Brooklyn-based rapper keeps things fresh by changing the vibe and flow of each track. The wordsmith drops his rhymes quick then slow, spirited then smooth. As for the rhymes themselves – Jones is sharp and witty with wordplay and storytelling. He got the crowd hyped up, inviting them to harmonize and clap along to certain songs and just being all around charming.
Me & The Bees delighted the audience with their collection of sweet, upbeat tunes. Though the trio hails from Barcelona they perform all their songs in English. Most recently, Me & The Bees released the peppy single “Silver Cross”, a clever breakup song with the knowing line “nothing lasts forever”. Sadly this too applies to SXSW and all the incredible bands we were so lucky to have play our show – until next year that is!
Lily Kershaw closed out Love, Austin with a breathtaking set. Singing selections from her debut album Midnight In The Garden, Kershaw has a voice that stops listeners in their tracks. Take her single “As It Seems” which has landed a number of television spots, not to mention a guest appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly. Then there’s all the fuss over her in the press, including being named one of Free People’s SXSW Musical Muses. Needless to say, girl has pipes and we were elated to be treated to such an intimate performance by Ms. Kershaw.
Thank you to Frances Cone, Falls, Topaz Jones, Me & The Bees and Lily Kershaw for making the Love, Austin showcase such a special and unforgettable night! I can’t think of a better way to have kicked of SXSW Music!
Love, Austin would not have been possible without help from our wonderfully supportive supporters. Thank you to our host, Stacy Brunson, our volunteers, and thank you to our sponsors: Blackerby Violin Shop, Real Ale Brewing Company, Treaty Oak Distilling Co., Breezy Ritter Photography, Uber, Olive & June, and The Habit Of Seeing – Creative Storytelling Video.
See all the photos from the Love, Austin showcase here!