All Photos by Becky Yee from Around Digital Media
On the afternoon of Friday, March 18, New York City indie label MPress Records threw their 10th annual Official SXSW Day Party at the Soho Lounge on 6th Street in Austin. The crowd — lined up on the sidewalk in anticipation before doors opened — enjoyed a day of non-stop music, drinks, healthy Whole Foods noshes and good times.
Columbia, MO’s Violet & The Undercurrents kicked things off with an energetic set of Mississippi River-inspired folk-rock. The talented all-female quartet played a mix of selections from their two albums as well as a bunch of new tunes – and then lead singer Violet Von der Haar let her vocal training show with a show-stopping rendition of the famous “Habanera” aria from Bizet’s “Carmen.” Safe to say that was a unique occurrence for SXSW!
Matt Nakoa took the stage next, fronting a trio featuring the second cellist of the day. He charmed the crowd with his piano-based jazz-infused pop tunes and his impressive vocals. MPress artist Seth Glier joined Nakoa to sing backup on “Stormchaser” as a teaser to his own set which followed. Glier performed solo on piano and guitar, but he held the attention of the crowd from the first note — particularly on the rousing “The Next Right Thing”, sung with just a stomp-box for accompaniment. Never a shy one, Glier also jumped up onto the bar for a totally unplugged “Love Is A Language“ from his latest album If I Could Change One Thing, accompanied by his longtime friend Kelly Halloran (of the Sequins) on fiddle.
Next, MPress Records flagship artist Rachael Sage launched her album Choreographic, with a set of brand-new songs and a few old favorites as well. Sage, accompanied by her touring band the Sequins, was resplendent at both her signature decoupaged keyboard and her bright-blue Gretsch electric, and the band had the packed room bouncing.
Charleston, SC’s A Fragile Tomorrow, in town for their 4th straight MPressFest then brought the rock, with a set of tunes from their MPress Records debut Make Me Over. Labelmates K’s Choice ended the day with a blistering set of songs from their latest album The Phantom Cowboy. It was the Belgian band’s only Texas appearance of the year, and they made it count. The delirious crowd brought them back for a breathless encore, before dispersing out onto 6th Street to start their SXSW Friday night.
Aside from the music, the steady crowd was treated to a healthy food break from Whole Foods. Early arrivals received a free set of earbuds courtesy of sponsor Audio-Technica, and sponsor organization Women In Music gave away a free one-year membership to a lucky winner.
The MPress Records crew agreed that their 10th party was the best yet. As always, the Soho Lounge was an amenable host, and the great music made the afternoon a memorable one for all.
Watch a video recap of the event below!