Live Report: SXSW 2017 Day One – Girlpool, Pharmakon, Thee MPVs & Boogairns

The smaller acts loom large on the eve of South By Southwest.

Try and imagine over 2,300 bands, from every corner of the globe, descending on a city for five days. It's frantic, it's sweaty, it's SXSW. The 31st annual film, interactive, and music showcase envelopes the city of Austin, Texas, for ten days. For music enthusiasts, there is no greater musical orgy than this.

Huge acts have been announced to perform in the coming week. Wu Tang Clan, Weezer, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross have all grabbed the headlines. However, even with the announcement of so many established artists performing, the enduring charm of the festival has always been discovering the next big thing in a tiny dive bar, with a hundred other kindred spirits. It may be a dwindling naive myth - especially with multinational monster brands like Sony, Armani, and Apple, investing thousands on interactive events - but walk by the right venue, in the wee hours of a balmy March night and you'll never know who you might see.

London garage-punks Thee MVP’s frenetic live show was a highlight from the 6th Annual Strange Brew Party at Hotel Vegas on the East side of Austin. As was the mesmerizing psychedelic performance from Brazilian four-piece Boogarins. The Goiânia based band cleansed the souls of all who witnessed their stunning improvisational psych-rock drenched guitar riffs. The Hotel Vegas showcase was headlined by Los Angeles folk-punk band Girlpool. Watching Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad perform their sentimental hit track ‘Chinatown’ was a real eye opener. It was a joy to experience their sound expansion and progression over the past two years.

The last act of the night was back in downtown Austin at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Margaret Chardiet, better known as Pharmakon, put on a devastating show that would have intimidated the cruelest dominatrix. The New York artist has been performing in the underground experimental scene since she was 17-years-old. Her industrial rage soaked sounds were felt by all who attended as she stalked through the crowd, staring people dead in the eye, as she screamed distorted ominous vocals right in their faces. It may have only been a 20 minute set, but the intensity of Pharmakon lasted all night.

 

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