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Youngbloods Reflect on SXSW

U18 contingent weighs in on its 2013 festival experience

By William Harries Graham, 12:57PM, Thu. Mar. 21, 2013

Nang Gang: (l-r) Deven Ivy of Residual Kid, Skating Polly, yours truly, Ramona Beattie, Lydia Night from Pretty Little Demons, and Grace London at the Continental Club Gallery Proper Nang Youngbloods Day Party.
Nang Gang: (l-r) Deven Ivy of Residual Kid, Skating Polly, yours truly, Ramona Beattie, Lydia Night from Pretty Little Demons, and Grace London at the Continental Club Gallery Proper Nang Youngbloods Day Party.
photo by Will Branch

I’m the son of a musician who’s played SXSW every year since it began. This year was my first rodeo showcasing as a solo act with my dad Jon Dee Graham at the Hill Country SXSW Friends & Family showcase and with my band the Seaside Swifts at the Palm Door.

“Well this is nice,” said smiling SXSW head Roland Swenson who took some time on the festival’s Saturday night to come by the official Youngbloods Showcase that featured Grace London, the Seaside Swifts, Pretty Little Demons, the Paceshifters, Residual Kid, and 24-7.

It seemed like a respite for Swenson – no circus acts, light shows, or maddening crowds, just straight ahead youth music. Swenson was taken with London’s powerhouse talent, as we all are.

What the Youngbloods of SXSW had to say:

Deven Ivy from Residual Kid: “It was fun playing with musicians from all over the world. We made lots of new friends. Pizza went up to $4 a slice!”

Seb Dokman from the Paceshifters: “I was very impressed with SXSW and Austin, breathing music 24/7. What else does a musician need?”

Koen Klareenbeek from the Paceshifters: “Lots of music, kickass crazyness, and no sleep.”

Local Ramona Beattie from the Little Galaxy: “This is the first time I’ve willed myself to leave my house during SXSW and I loved it.”

Peyton Bighorse from Skating Polly: “It’s been a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year. We met so many cool people and saw so many cool bands.”

Kelli Mayo from Skating Polly: “It was really crazy and really fun. It was really rushed and exciting.”

Henry Wheatley-Rutner of the Seaside Swifts: “SX has been a great experience for me. I have never before had such a perfect way to see bands I love, while playing right alongside them.”

George Fontaine of New West Records maybe summed up SXSW best: “The one constant for me is that I know I will reconnect with friends I don’t often get to see. The sense of community within that network of friends and artists is what always makes SXSW special for me, no matter how frenzied and insane the week may be.”

That’s what my dad says too.

My band won the Bronze for “Best U18” at the Austin Music Awards, with the mighty Peterson Brothers blues band taking the Gold.

For me personally, SXSW became an amazing opportunity to play with many great artists and spread my music to other people. I had an incredible SXSW and can’t wait for next year.

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