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Austin American Statesman : SXSW INTERNATIONAL BANDS Around the world in 5 days -- Our top SXSW international acts

Global sounds have been a part of the South by Southwest Music Festival since its beginning nearly 30 years ago, and the international component has grown yearly since. Of the nearly 2,200 bands scheduled to play this year’s event, 584 are international acts.

Though many of the artists traveling thousands of miles to share their sounds are top-billed performers in their home countries, these showcases generally take place in the shadows of high-profile headliners and buzz bands. This makes them some of the most accessible events for locals without credentials. Though all official shows offer priority entry to SXSW badge and wristband holders, it’s possible to pay a cover charge of $5-$20 at many international showcases. As Austin has grown as an international city, these shows have become rich gathering spots for local expats from around the world.

Over the past five years or so, Latin music has flourished at the festival, with many South American countries represented in their own showcases. This year’s lineup includes dedicated nights for Chile, Uruguay and Colombia. On the Asian front, Japan Nite, one of the flagship international fest events, celebrates 20 years this year, Korea expands to two nights of dedicated showcases, and for the first time Pakistan has a big presence at the festival.

The festival provides an incredible opportunity for Austinites to explore the world without leaving our own city limits, and this guide is an overview of the places you can go.


KPop Night Out at Elysium: Korean music at the fest has grown into two big showcases, and though this one is billed as KPop, the styles represented go deeper than the saccharine manufactured pop songs associated with the genre. Highlights include retro doo-wop girl group the Barberettes, who play at 9:30 p.m., and excellent hip-hop outfit Epik High, who close the show out at 1:10 a.m. (Korea Night II, Seoulsonic, is Friday at the Majestic) — D.S.S.

By Nancy Flores and Deborah Sengupta Stith

2015 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (EE/Eastern Sidekick)


SXSW.com/Music : 2nd Korean Showcase Added to the SXSW Music 2015 Schedule!

Photos (clockwise from top left): YB, From the Airport, Victim Mentality, Big Phony All photos courtesy of the artists

Korea Night II : Seoulsonic, a second showcase of Korean acts, has been added on Friday, March 20 at The Majestic (419 E 6th St). This will be the 5th annual Seoulsonic showcase.

Hosted by the cast of KTown Cowboys, a full-length comedy feature based on the popular web series which will be premiering at SXSW this year, this Seoulsonic showcase features a diverse range of talent ranging from KTown Cowboys star Bobby Choy’s Elliott Smith-meets-The Postal Service musical project Big Phony, to arena rock legend Yoon Do Hyun’s rock band YB, head-turning hair metal act Victim Mentality, moody electronic rock experimentalists HEO and the indie dance pop of The Solutions and From The Airport.

Korea Night I : KPop Night Out will be held the previous day on Thursday, March 19 at Elysium with Epik High, The Barberettes, Crayon Pop, Hitchhiker, EE, Eastern Sidekick and Asian Chairshot.

Doors will open at 7:00PM for both showcases. Music and Platinum Badge holders, as well as Music Wristband holders, will receive priority admission. If you haven't already, it's not too late to register.

By James Minor

2K15 SXSW Seoulsonic Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x Mandoo Entertainment
International Agent/Distribution : DFSB Kollective (From The Airport/Heo/Big Phony)
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (YB) 


Billboard Magazine : Epik High, Crayon Pop Headline SXSW 2015's K-Pop Night Out

Epik High / Courtesy of YG Entertainment
After a Lady Gaga appearance at last year's show, the Korean music night returns with Hitchhiker, The Barberettes, Eastern Sidekick & more.

K-Pop Night Out returns to SXSW for what looks to be its bigger year after gaining big attention since its inaugural showcase in 2013. Acts like Epik High, Crayon Pop, Hitchhiker and more top Korean talent make up the impressive bill.

Epik High come to Austin after a fantastic comeback in 2014. After more than two years of silence, the hip-hop trio fired back with their excellent Shoebox album -- highlighted as one of Billboard's best releases of 2014 -- which earned the band their first No. 1 on the World Albums chart. Made up of Tablo, Mithra and DJ Tukutz, the veteran rap act has more than a decade together and will hit SXSW for their first Stateside show in years.

Another act making international waves, Crayon Pop also headlines the show. The quirky "Bar Bar Bar" girl group returns to America after spending their summer opening for Lady Gaga's Artpop tour. The group has stayed somewhat quiet since the trek, but members ChoA and Way did team up to release a new track "OK."

K-Pop Night Out should get a little more experimental this year thanks to Hitchhiker. The eccentric producer and remixer (who is signed alongside Girls' Generation, EXO and f(x) to SM Entertainment) had fans scratching and bobbing their heads to his "11" video earlier this year. K-Pop Night Out 2015 marks Hitchhiker's debut live performance.

Alongside the acts comes throwback-inspired female trio The Barberettes, the performance-art/electro-pop duo EE with the Korean rock scene represented by critically acclaimed indie rock band Eastern Sidekick and heavy rock outfit Asian Chairshot.

Last year's showcase was headlined by HyunA, Jay Park and Nell and saw Lady Gaga in attendance during her much talked about performance and keynote address.

K-Pop Night Out 2015 takes place on Thursday, March 19, at Elysium (705 Red River).

By Jeff Benjamin

2015 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (EE/Eastern Sidekick)


SXSW.com/Music : K-Pop Night Out Showcase Returns for Third Year at SXSW

Photos, clockwise from top left: Epik High, Hitchhiker, EE and Crayon Pop. All photos courtesy of the artists.

The annual KOCCA presented K-Pop Night Out returns for its third year at SXSW. The showcase will take place on Thursday, March 19 at Elysium (705 Red River).

This March, Hitchhiker, Epik High, Crayon Pop, The Barberettes, Asian Chairshot, EE and Eastern Sidekick will make the trip from Seoul. Once again, you’ll find your perception of Korean music challenged with the most engaging KPNO lineup yet.

Until recently, Choi Jin-woo was known as one of K-Pop’s top hit-makers as a producer, songwriter and remixer for Korean superstars such as Girl’s Generation, G-Dragon, EXO and SXSW alumni act f(x). Now the tables have turned with his new project Hitchhiker, a worldwide YouTube phenomena that’s thrust him into the spotlight with the amazingly bizarre “11” video and its accompanying polarizing earworm of a track. Seriously, just watch it. This will be Hitchhiker’s debut live performance.

Seoul’s Epik High are often credited as bringing hip-hop to the mainstream in Korea, and will be making their first SXSW appearance, supporting their eighth album, Shoebox, while K-Pop girl group Crayon Pop return to the US with their signature helmets and “Bar Bar Bar” dance in tow after touring with Lady Gaga on her Artpop tour.

The Barberettes, perhaps the most surprising of the bunch, create a time-warp of '50s and '60s girl group harmonies with a dedicated nod to The Shirelles, The Ronettes and The Kim Sisters.

Part performance troupe, part art collective, EE is a blur of eccentricity that comes across as a Korean hip-hop inspired version of The Knife, if you can imagine such a thing.

As always, Korean underground rock plays an important part of a K-Pop Night Out showcase. Asian Chairshot find common ground between Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Radiohead with their Jeff Schroeder (Smashing Pumpkins) produced LP, while Eastern Sidekick come across as an edgier Korean version of The Strokes.

Don't miss the third annual K-Pop Night Out showcase at SXSW Music! Badges and hotel rooms are still available. Schedule is subject to change.

By James Minor

2015 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (EE/Eastern Sidekick)


The Huffington Post : SXSW Transcends Tragedy With Music

SXSW 2014 will forever be marked by tragedy -- the senseless deaths of two festival goers and 23 injured by a drunk driver now facing the death penalty won't soon be forgotten, nor will Tyler the Creator's arrest for inciting a riot.

But the silver lining surrounding that dark cloud was that so much astounding music was still there to be found throughout the 28th annual music festival in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest may have been occupied by crass corporate brands and drunken spring breakers -- a couple hundred thousand people descend on Austin, though only 20,000 are SXSW delegates -- but there were also about 2,300 musical acts from every conceivable genre playing at every conceivable space.

And what other festival could be highlighted by local legend Willie Nelson, transgender punk Laura Jane Grace's group Against Me!, a Gorillaz reunion, and Blondie covering the Beastie Boys?

Nelson's impressive performance Saturday night was hardly surprising -- there's a reason that the ACL Live at the Moody Theatre venue, where iTunes was staging its side-festival during SXSW, is on Willie Nelson Blvd and boasts a statue of the country icon.

But never having seen him live before, Nelson's incorporation of blues and jazz into his old-world country proved inspiring, as was his inclusion of my favourite song "Me and Paul" since he has hundreds of potential tracks to choose from. He even played "Crazy" (which he wrote but is most famous for the Patsy Cline version) and then solo'd his popular Toby Keith duet "Beer for my Horses."

His only official special guest was Lily Meola, a young woman with an old voice, who lent her smoky croon to their duet "Will You Remember Mine." The 80-year-old also let his son Lukas take lead on the Stevie Ray Vaughn tune, "Texas Flood." The younger Nelson ably proved his father's selection was no act of nepotism, delivering blistering electric blues guitar work and solidly-gruff vocals that brought the crowd to its feet in the middle of the song.

Nelson the elder then introduced a "new gospel tune" called, "Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die," which inspired the festival's most amusing sing-along.

That is, not counting when Blondie diverged from their own classics -- and pretty great new songs -- to play the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right (To Party)" which saw the crowd at Rachael Ray's insanely popular Feedback party (people began lining up at 3 a.m.) pumping their fists, while rapping along with Debbie Harry.

Against Me! delivered another standout performance while playing Spin's annual Friday afternoon party the previous day, at Stubbs. The longstanding punk group released the year's best and boldest album "Transgender Dysmorphia Blues," a politics-is-personal collection inspired by lead singer Laura Jane Grace's experience.

Against Me! have played SXSW before, but this was Grace's first chance to do so as her true self. Her joy was infectious throughout the loud, melodic set as the band dropped old gems like "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" and new soon-to-be-classics like "True Trans Soul Rebel."

Later that evening, Britpop icon Damon Albarn (of Blur fame) held court at the Fader Fort, where he performed a number of solid if sleepy songs from his forthcoming new album, "Everyday Robots."

Some in the crowd, drunk off too many free beers, filtered out, which meant they missed Albarn's special guests. First, he brought out hip-hop legends De La Soul to perform their Gorillaz collab "Feel Good Inc." to the remaining crowd's unbridled excitement. Then, he further upped the ante by bringing out his Gorillaz mates, Dan the Automator and Del the Funkee Homosapien, for the first-ever proper live performance of their smash, "Clint Eastwood." In case that was not enough, Snoop Dogg came out to seal the deal with a bonus verse.

Of course, SXSW was originally a showcase for emerging bands, and plenty of those were in attendance, too.

Eagulls delivered a terrifyingly loud and intense set that aurally encapsulated up SXSW's decadent overstimulation as well as this year's darkness. English electro-soul singer Sohn, signed to 4AD and prepping his debut full-length "Tremors" for an April release, mixed cutting-edge electronics with timeless vocal prowess, an emotional falsetto and songwriting that has him poised for international success. Similarly poised is Toronto's Lowell, who played an AOL party earlier in the week at the Mohawk during the festival's interactive stream. The Arts & Crafts-signed artist's songs may not be all there quite yet, but she's got her indie pop sound down and her live show has become rather electrifying.

Jay Park @ 2014 SXSW KPop Night Out

Even more electrifying was the K-Pop showcase, which featured arena-size Korean superstars in tiny Austin venue Elysium, much to the delight of the genre's American fan base who went wild for the hard-edged EDM of Idiotape, the Justin Bieber-esque R&B of Jay Park, who also proved himself a capable rapper, and HyunA, a Britney Spears-type pop star who somehow crammed a raft of backup dancers onto the small stage.

Schoolboy Q, part of Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment crew, followed up his recent and unexpected number one album a series of performances -- he played the Spin party, iTunes Festival and a bunch of other gigs and surprise appearances -- that proved he really has graduated to the big time.

SZA, a 23-year-old avant-R&B singer also affiliated with Top Dawg, delivered a sombre set that was impressive no matter how out of place it was at the Vice/AT&T party earlier in the week. (But no biggie, as DJ Shadow later amped the crowd, which at one point included Lady Gaga, right back up).

Speaking of Gaga, this year's SXSW keynote speaker delivered the year's most talked-about performance, for good or ill. Putting together a special set purpose-built for Austin, she emerged on a BBQ spit and performed in front of a neon Lady Gaga's BBQ Haus of Swine sign. Relegating her singles to the end of the show -- only including "Bad Romance" and new track "Applause" -- she focused on new songs from her underperforming latest album "ARTPOP."

The set itself left a lot to be desired but all that anyone will remember is that during the song swine, performance artist Millie Brown, known as a vomit painter, chugged a bottle of green liquid and then puked it all over Gaga as the two scissored on a mechanical bull.

Hopefully the same won't be true for SXSW itself this year, which may have suffered a singular tragedy but also transcended it with music.

By Joshua Ostroff (Senior Editor of The Huffington Post Canada)

2014 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SK Planet/SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Jay Park)