SXSW 2015: Joyful Noise Brings Its Roster to South By Southwest
I couldn’t help but be shocked as Jad Fair began to break his guitar in the middle of his performance, snapping it at the base of the neck in a similar way that you would snap a stick over your knee. I was attending the Joyful Noise 2015 SXSW Showcase to take photos, and as I missed taking a photo of this candid moment, I felt my jaw drop, camera at my waist, and began to look around, questioning if this destruction supposed to happen or if Jad was actually down a guitar. I was in awe, and kind of kicking myself for not taking a photo of a moment that was truly worth 1,000 words.
The Joyful Noise 2015 SXSW Showcase was unique in a couple of ways: it was the first SXSW showcase for Joyful Noise Recordings, and a majority of the line-up are on the Joyful Noise release schedule for spring. Yonatan Gat, Reptar, Surfer Blood and Stranger Cat, the showcase brought fresh music to the ears of SXSWers as well as staples of the label like Jad Fair and Sedcairn Archives (formally DMA).Click to view slideshow.
Jad Fair opened the showcase, and to see someone of his stature in the flesh-and-blood performing his craft was magical. After breaking his guitar, Jad was accompanied by a companion who provided guitar melodies for the guitarless Jad. Song after song, Jad turned out songs that had trailblazed for bands after Jad and Half Japanese and had filled music listeners ears for years — a perfect overture to an evening filled with artists of different backgrounds.Click to view slideshow.
The showcase felt like it had a little something for everyone’s music taste. Like a seven coursed meal, each artist on the bill gave you a different flavor of what the label has to offer.
From Reptar’s dance rock which blurs the lines of many genres with the help of bass to electronic instruments, to Stranger Cat’s booming voice over well-crafted art pop melodies, to Surfer Blood’s closing set where JP took to the crowd with his microphone and sang to members of the crowd, each Joyful artist brought their own ambiance to the showcase.Click to view slideshow.
Playing on the floor of the venue with the audience surrounding them, Yonatan Gat gave a visceral performance which felt spiritual. Gat, along with bandmates Gal Lazer and Sergio Seyg, motioned and encouraged the crowd to come to a close and intimate distance. The crowd was so close that you could reach out and touch the band, which alerted a security guard to push back the crowd. But Yonatan and company wouldn’t have that, and further encouraged the crowd to come closer and feed the band energy, and for the crowd to consume the energy the band was projecting.Click to view slideshow.
Spin had this to say about Yonatan Gat after a performance they caught at SXSW, ” … their chemistry was electric and their playing was jaw-dropping, both in techncial proficiency and melodic heft. Even without Gat’s occasional Hebrew chants, it felt like a potentially religious experience.”
Under normal touring circumstances these artists may have never played with each other or met. Jad Fair or J Fernandez may have never played with Surfer Blood, but that’s what made the night so surreal.
For more photos from the Joyful Noise 2015 SXSW Showcase continue below. The line-up for the event in order from first to last is as follows: Jad Fair, Sedcairn Archives, Stranger Cat, J Fernandez, Yonatan Gat, Reptar and Surfer Blood.Click to view slideshow.
Click to view slideshow. Click to view slideshow.