SXSW w/ City Slang and Anna B Savage, Sophia Kennedy, King Hannah, KAINA, Los Bitchos & Pom Pom Squad

“We feel so lucky that we get to share these magical moments with everyone”

It still feels unreal that the 2022 edition of SXSW in Austin really has happened two weeks ago. After two years of pandemic related cancelations and with covid still being very present in all of our daily lives, the idea to travel all the way to Texas to see artists from all over the world perform … someone need to pinch us twice – but it happened.

One of the hottest showcases during the SXSW week was the City Slang one at The Augustine, featuring performances of Anna B Savage, Sophia Kennedy, King Hannah, KAINA, Los Bitchos & Pom Pom Squad and significant labeled as “Let´s mess with Texas” (all benefits of the night were donated to Fund Texas Choice, who fund the travels of Texans`to abortion clinics).

We asked the City Slang gang about their SXSW experiences.
All photos are by Eleanor Petry. 

How was your SXSW? 

Sophia Kennedy: “It’s a surreal parallel world in a city filled with people who want to be seen and heard. Everyone running around like headless chickens in a huge chicken coop. Feels like a fight trying to cut through the noise. It’s best to find a spot to sit and just watch.”

Anna B Savage: “It was all of the things! Highs and lows and overwhelming and excellent. Both generally and also for me as an artist. I played one very good show, and two really quite difficult ones. I felt accepted and totally overwhelmed. I hid in plain sight so people couldn’t find me, and also sneaked out to cry. I also felt like I made some friends who feel like soul friends, ones who I’ve actually known forever. I have wanted to play in America my whole life, and SXSW since I knew what it was, so I had some happy cries, too. My heart felt so full and I feel exhausted from it all, still.”

Serra, Los Bitchos: “SXSW was an incredible experience. The city of Austin just turned into one big music festival and it was so vibey. Having the chance to perform there with the girls was so special and each of the shows felt so special in their own right.”
Nic, Los Bitchos: “SXSW was such an amazing experience. It was the first thing to be cancelled in the pandemic and it felt like a real triumph to finally get there and perform. We had such an adventure and to play our first US shows was really exciting.”
Agustina, Los Bitchos: “It was so so much fun! The city is incredible and everyone was so nice! It was a great experience!”

Hightlights / Lowlights of the days in Austin? 

Sophia Kennedy: “The food, the Hotel and the sunshine was great. I enjoyed the Festival the most on Sunday morning when you could hear the birds sing again.”

Anna B Savage: “Highlights were meeting music friends, those who I’ve spoken to only online before, or those who I’d never met who were truly so generous and welcoming. Having a pool party BBQ with the loveliest bunch of people ever, feeling like I’d made new pals who I’d known forever. I had dinner with one new friend and he bought me a book of poetry! I arrived to that dinner during a thunderstorm  hurricane and was dropped off by my new pals, all of whom I want to be best friends with.
And then, some of the shows were super tricky. Playing the kind of music I do, and going out as a solo act, I think it’s a bit harder just on a basic level to compete, as really, the loudest wins at SXSW. My introspective neuroses aren’t exactly loud. So yeah, there were very hard moments in there, too.”

Nic, Los Bitchos: “One highlight for me was getting to meet / perform alongside all our label mates at the City Slang showcase. It felt like a big family reunion even though we had never met the other artists!
Serra, Los Bitchos: “Daily jacuzzi session at our hotel alongside the constant complimentary cookies were awesome as well.”
Nic & Serra: “Swimming at Barton Springs – water therapy / hangover cure / all around good time. The weather was perfect and the water was just cleansing and life giving.”

Anything super special regards the performance at the City Slang showcase? Or if you played more show one of the other performances? 

Sophia Kennedy: “There was a couple maybe in their mid-seventies who volunteered to help with the instrument rental and help set up the stage. The woman carried a huge drum case on her back. I admired that very much.”

Anna B Savage: “To see all the other City Slang lot perform too. I was on first and actually cried after my show because it felt so hard, so spent the rest of the night at the back of the venue with my mask on and my hood up. Hiding in plain sight. I think had it been anything else I would’ve left and felt no guilt but I was so desperate to see the City Slang family that I’m so lucky to be a part of. It was such an immense joy to watch them all.”

Nic, Los Bitchos: “Having the whole label daily there was the best. We hadn’t met many of the other City Slang artists before or seen them play, and it was just one big party.”

Which performance by another artist has stuck with you the most from SXSW and why? 

Sophia Kennedy: “Los Bitchos are so much fun.”

Anna B Savage: “There’s a few. Penelope Isles followed by Katy J Pearson at Elysium on the last night: I just felt like a teenager again with swells of overwhelm and love and such immense pleasure that I was there. It was also the last night so I’d played my shows so I was no longer sick with nerves. Penelope Isles reached out after the online SXSW in 2021 and we’ve been chatting online ever since, so it felt like a very prescient full circle moment.
The other was W. H. Lung at Hotel Vegas. The ceiling was sweating, the band absolutely smashed it, the crowd were desperately in love with the lead singer (me too, tbh) and it just felt how music should make you feel: vibrant and alive and a teeny bit sexy and nervous. Ya know, the usuals.”

Serra, Los Bitchos: “Kaina – we saw her play an afternoon set at this outdoor venue, and her voice was so smooth, effortless and warm. The musicianship of her band was incredible to watch as well.”
Agustina, Los Bitchos: “Crows, we love them ! They are lovely people doing amazing music.”

Whats next for you? 

Sophia Kennedy: “I’m currently working on an Italian opera.”

Anna B Savage: “I’m just sorting out things for my new record, mixing and mastering and packaging and beginning the process again. Also, hopefully recording the third one this summer. Currently though, I’m in Mexico having a blaady holiday.”

Serra, Los Bitchos: “Heading out on our Eu tour starting on the 7th of April, we will be out on the road for about a month and we can not wait!”

Best food experience during SXSW? 

Sophia Kennedy: “Everything I ate was fantastic.”

Anna B Savage: “I’m veggie so I’m perhaps not the person to ask (glad I’m not vegan though, that looked rough.”

Serra, Los Bitchos: “The Happy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches that we ate on the curbside after a night out at hotel Vegas, it was life giving and changing.”
Agustina, Los Bitchos: “All the tex Mex was heaven!”

Current favorite song? 

Sophia Kennedy: Sandy B “Dedication”

Anna B Savage: “Pom Pom Squad Head Cheerleader”. I can’t stop listening.

Serra, Los Bitchos: Grazia “Rampi Rampi”

Agustina, Los Bitchos: Johnny Mathis “Wonderful Wonderful”

Anything else you wanna share with the world and kaput right now? 

Anna B Savage: “You’re all great and I hope you’re filling the well with good things.”

Serra, Los Bitchos: “We are just having the best time playing our debut album at shows and festivals. After such a long time not being able to play or tour we feel so lucky that we get to share these magical moments with everyone.”

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