SXSW Music Review: Vaarwell/The Fur

St. Paddy’s Day arrives early for Lisbon and Taiwan imports

Tuesday evening proved difficult for Vaarwell and the Fur, freshman indie bands who traveled from overseas to Irish pub BD Riley’s, but both acts survived a typical SXSW trial by fire.

Vaarwell’s Margarida Falcão (Photo by John Leach)

Fish & chip-eating regulars sipped Guinness while Vaarwell, a blissed-out indie pop group from Lisbon, packed up their instruments five minutes before showtime. Due to sound issues, frontwoman Margarida Falcão performed solo. The exposed chords clearly weren’t made to be heard alone, but the singer found the confidence to finish strong with a serene cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.”

The Furs (Photo by John Leach)

Up next, Taiwanese dream-pop quintet the Fur made its U.S. debut. Looking young enough to need X’s on their hands, they froze up when the lead guitar dropped from the mix early on, but eventually settled into a stunning set. Vibes shifted from breezy Khruangbin-style strummers to Disintegration-era Cure ennui in the anthemic "We Can Dance."

The drummer treaded water behind the beat, a wood block and hand clap sample tropicalizing the rhythm. Playfully adolescent synth lines floated between a wandering beach bass. Savanna (aka Yu Wen Liao) sang like she was scoring an Eighties shoegaze rom-com, cinematic yet earnest.

The crowd admittedly seemed mostly there by accident, but by the closing song it felt like the St. Paddy’s Day pre-partiers had just witnessed a breakout band.

Vaarwell and The Fur.

Tuesday, March 12, 7pm, BD Riley's

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

The Hidden Cost of Labor Calculated in <i>Building the American Dream</i>
The Hidden Cost of Labor Calculated in Building the American Dream
In the rubble of the NOLA hotel collapse, Chelsea Hernandez's documentary remains relevant

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 6, 2019

Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Local songwriter rises through the fire

Doug Freeman, March 29, 2019

More by Dan Gentile
The Beach Bum
Fear and loathing in Florida with Korine and Matthew McConaughey

March 29, 2019

SXSW Music Review: Japan/Korea Summit
SXSW Music Review: Japan/Korea Summit
The best of Asian rap and electro for the cost of a Lone Star

March 16, 2019


Vaarwell, The Fur, SXSW 2019, SXSW Music 2019, Margarida Falcão, New Order, Khruangbin, The Cure, Savana, Yu Wen Liao

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle