This week The Global Gig Guide goes to to Austin for SXSW to Singapore for the Mosaic Festival and to London for two events in and around the South Bank of the River Thames – Optronica and Ether.
For one week every March since 1987, the Texan town of Austin becomes transformed by the internationally acclaimed festival SXSW.
What originally began as a music event has now grown into a three headed multi media extravaganza to include a film festival and an interactive element.
This year over 500 bands will perform in every available bar, church hall, studio, hotel foyer, restaurant and open-air venue. 2007 will also be a big one for KCRW as many of us will be in attendance in our various guises – broadcasting live from the wonderfully named Tequila Mockingbird Studios will be KCRW’s Music Director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host Nic Harcourt, while online at KCRW.com Chris Douridas welcomes artists to New Ground for live performances and interviews , making our online channel the global destination for those of you curious to discover just what this mammoth music festival is all about. Check KCRW.com for more information or our brand new MySpace page (www.myspace.com/kcrw) where KCRW Librarian and host of Dragnet Eric J. Lawrence will be blogging his daily SXSW experiences and musical discoveries.
And yours truly will be keeping her ears to the ground (hopefully not literally) for hot tips on festivals and concerts to feature on future Global Gig Guides.
To whet your appetite here are just some of the artists performing at SXSW this year… The Good the Bad and The Queen, Cold War Kids, Bloc Party , I love you But I’ve Chosen Darkness, Lily Allen, My Brightest Diamond, The Little Ones and many many more!
The Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore celebrates its third year with an excellent array of artists performing at a variety of venues in and around this island city-state. The most prestigious location will be The Esplanade; opened in 2002, the $343 million performance complex has an acoustically outstanding and architecturally stunning concert hall accommodating almost 2,000 punters! The most distinguishing external feature is the armadillo like cladding that was added to protect the enormous glass domes, causing it to be nicknamed ‘The Durian’ – after the tasty but smelly Southeast Asian fruit.
Ok enough about architecture and indigenous comestibles and back to the music! Over a period of ten days you can catch Rachel Yamagata, Femi Kuti, The Album Leaf and Buddy Guy, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, the Thai band Futon who Simon Napier Bell calls "Dirty-punk underwear under electro trousers."
And finally to London for not one but two festivals, both of which veer towards the more experimental musical palate.
Located by the River Thames, The Queen Elizabeth Hall will host The Ether festival celebrating the fusion of technology and live performance. Participants include folk and electronica troupe Tunng, giving new meaning to the expression ‘its all about the fro’ is Fulborn Teversham, Coldcut in an audio visual tribute to Robert Anton Wilson and a Human Beatbox Convention with workshop for beginners and those wishing to expand their beatboxing techniques .
At no more than a hop skip and a jump away from the Queen Elizabeth Hall is The BFI Southbank centre and BFI Imax Theatre named after the British film Institute. These venues, along with the ICA are the locales for The Optronica Festival. This five-day event is billed as a hybrid music and visual festival featuring the work of Fred Deakin and Nick Franglen of Lemon Jelly, Cindy Keefer from Los Angeles Centre for Visual Music, Japanese audiovisual artist Ryoichi Kurokawa. There will be screenings such as the UK premiere of Peter Greenaways ‘Tulse Luper VJ Performance’ as well as talks about all aspects of visual music, such as Colour Organs and the artistic explorations in synaesthesia, where one sense reaches into the realm of another – an experience that Kandinsky considered to be a suprasensory spiritual state
If all of this feels like sensory overload, you can relax in the Optronica Lounge and have a well-earned drink!
That’s it for this week– for more information about these events, go to KCRW.com/globalgigguide…and if you want to tell me about musical happenings in your part of the world, send me an email Gemma.Dempsey@kcrw.org
Otherwise check back with us next week for more information on Global Gigging.