Simple Plan headlined The Blame Canada Tour at Uptown Theater on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022. Along with Set It Off and Sum 41, they lit up the stage with their intense and joyous energy. Yes, despite the most gut-wrenching emo lyrics, these guys couldn’t help but lift the entire audience up with their stage presence.
Touring in support of their new album Harder Than It Looks, they pulled an array of crowd favorites out for our nostalgic enjoyment, as well as some great new tracks. The most relatable moment, however, happened toward the beginning of the set, when Pierre encouraged everyone to stretch before the ever-enjoyable “Jump”.
St. Patrick’s Day was honestly one of the most enjoyable during SXSW 2022. In years past, it has been overwhelming, detracting from the fun of the holiday and the festival all at once. This year, we got to experience a host of amazing international acts that made the day a multi-cultural celebration for us.
The 2pm performance at the International Day Stage started with a DJ set by Bad Gyal Marie. Her set included a lot of incredible tracks from the early 2000s. (Who doesn’t love a good Tweet track, honestly?) We enjoyed this so much that, at one point, she looked up and said “I love the girls dancing in the back” after laughing with us a bit. She made a point to introduce the tracks and give some history on many of them, which was the cherry on top of the set.
After a few minutes, Yayoi Daimon took the stage. Her energy was an uplifting start to the afternoon, and her outfit was the best we saw in celebration of the green holiday. (I mean… LOOK AT THE CHAPS SITUATION!) Check out photos of both artists below!
We hate to admit that Enjoyable Listens led in the ranks of the most “enjoyable” set at SXSW 2022, but they – ahem, HE – totally did. While the Oxford-based act normally performs as a duo, brainchild Luke Duffett appeared solo this time around, as his bass guitarist partner-in-crime was stuck overseas for WORK. (Something he mentioned multiple times during his set.)
In all honesty, we almost didn’t stay for the set. We had the privilege of covering an array of international artists over the course of the week, and when a slightly sunburnt man in a suit with a bolo tie and slicked-back hair was sound-checking, I prematurely judged him and suggested we leave the Registrant’s Lounge. Luckily, our dear friend Whiteclaw (sorry – they sponsored the fest and I was already a few deep) kept us glued to the spot when Duffett took the stage.
While their Facebook page boasts that they are “a bloodstained fur coat floating on the undulating beat of street talk,” we were absolutely delighted by the theatrics employed by Duffett on that fated Saturday afternoon. He introduced the act, pushed a button on the soundboard, and walked off the stage to make a grand entrance. And this was only after he verbally commanded the attention of everyone in the area three separate times.
A type of Baroque-pop, the music took on an experimental vibe at times. This man was absolutely the manifestation of if one of our best friends from high school had a child with Rick Astley. In all honesty, the vocals and blazer were the only traces of Astley. (After sending a video to Erin’s husband, we received word that we weren’t the only two who had this exact thought.) His vocal range was unexpected and alluring, while the lyrics were poignant, funny, and utilized an expanse of vocabulary. (One of the best ways to pinpoint a favorable lyricist, if we do say so ourselves.) At times, he would do more of a spoken word situation over the music, which we found later to be a common thread in the recorded versions of the tracks. He would also interrupt his own songs to talk to the audience. He even warned us about “spontaneous clapping” and “crowd surfing” he predicted for later in the show — all of this to a still rather small crowd.
But as his set went on, the crowd grew. And the smiles multiplied. And his dance moves got even more outlandish. He jumped off the stage, lunged at attendees, and performed for the (non-operating) camera, all the while maintaining this artistic persona that we all grew to love over the course of his set.
If you get the chance to see this act live, run… do not walk. I promise it will change your life.
Korean electronic artist CIFIKA surprised and delighted between panels on the last day at SXSW. In fact, her short set served as the opening for the last official panel of 2022, a discussion with Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast). Her graceful demeanor and poetic vocals made for a pretty astonishing performance. Photos below!
During our last full day at SXSW 2022, we wandered into Flatstock. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is an installation that takes over one of the bigger halls in the convention center toward the end of the festivities every year. Print and poster vendors line the aisles, promoting their art. Many designers bring posters they completed on spec and for specific tours and stops for a variety of musicians. Some vendors brought along pins and other fun accessories, and Erin even ended up with a really cool poster created by the 12-year-old son of one of the vendors. (It was beautiful, and all proceeds went to feed a “very healthy LEGO habit.”)
The beauty in it all is that there was a stage setup, so there was live music providing a soundtrack to the experience. We wandered in for Manchester group Heavy Salad‘s performance, and don’t regret a moment of it. Here are a few photos from that set.
We were pleasantly surprised by the energetic set by Norwegian experimental group Fieh. Not only was their style eclectic and inspiring – I mean, look at those shades alone – but their music was absolutely phenomenal, and they brought a special presence to the International Day Stage on an otherwise exhausting and hot St. Patrick’s Day.