Tag Archives: Baauer

Drew Angus’ SXSW

Drew Angus — a 2007 Staples grad, who studied music production at Hartwick College and now runs his own artists’ management firm — just returned from South by Southwest.

SXSW logoIf you’re from the Woodstock generation — or the silent film one –and don’t know about “SXSW”: It’s 2 weeks of music, film and interactive mayhem in downtown Austin, Texas. The festival features great new films, bands, technology, phone apps, surprise appearances by famous stars, and “a bearded lady-man with a well groomed mustache.”

That’s the 1st part of Drew’s report. Here’s the rest:

It’s a sleep-depriving binge on music, BBQ and Tex-Mex, with a side of networking. There’s a little something for everyone.

The official band schedule could be overwhelming — and that doesn’t include the vast number of unofficial shows and parties. My highlights included Justin Timberlake’s surprise show with ?uestlove, Jim James at Willie Nelson’s ranch, partying at Willie Nelson’s Ranch, Baauer, Dave Grohl demonstrating his original multi-track recording setup using 2 tape decks, an interview with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, wandering into a Frank Turner show at 1:30 a.m. where most of the audience was singing along (some hanging off the fence, many drenched in beer), and discovering the band Dawes.

Drew Angus

Drew Angus

I missed a lot too, like Prince, The Flaming Lips, Smashing Pumpkins, and more, but I’m not sad… well, maybe a little bitter about Prince.  Life goes on.

I’ve attended SXSW since 2005. It’s gotten bigger every year.

This year I was supposed to perform. However, the only gig I ended up playing was at 30,000 feet on Southwest Airlines (the most captive audience I’ve ever had).

My gig on the ground got canceled because the venue shut down midweek (not terribly uncommon). This year Third Eye Blind were 2 songs into their set when the cops stopped it (due to overwhelming crowd response from fans on the street).

Westport often has a presence at SXSW, whether it’s bands, blogs or small companies.

Last year, Will Richardson (Staples ‘07) made a splash with his band American Royalty playing multiple shows a day (including a key slot at the Virgin Mobile House.

Westport's April Kry performed at South By Southwest... (Copyright Kirk Stauffer Photography)

Westport’s April Kry performed at South By Southwest… (Kirk Stauffer Photography)

This year, Westport was there in force. Staples ’07 graduates April Kry and Harry Rodrigues (or, as the world knows him, Baauer) were both in town. I caught April at her ZodLounge showcase at Bourbon Girl. For a petite woman, she’s got one hell of a voice and a band to groove hard. She took command of the stage, telling stories through catchy songs and soaring melodies.

Afterwards we chatted. We agreed that while performing at “South By” is great, there’s just so much noise (bands) that it’s more about the networking than the performing.

Baauer, on the other hand headlined quite a few shows. He was a big buzz artist this year. I caught his show at La Zona Rosa, the venue Prince made a surprise appearance at Saturday night (with 7 encores).

Electronic music isn’t quite my jam, but Harry throws down. He came on at 1:10 a.m. and played a 45-minute set straight — no stops between songs. That’s impressive.

The crowd’s dance moves were reminiscent of those during the raves Harry and friends threw while at Staples: intense head and body bobbing, hands thrown up waving to the beat, and some jumping.

...and so did Westport's Harry Rodrigues, known the world over as Baauer. (Look closely; that's him.)

…and so did Westport’s Harry Rodrigues, known the world over as Baauer. (Look closely; that’s him.)

Harry’s excitement and intensity on stage behind a wall of LEDs with rapidly changing shapes and patterns, combined with a killer light show and the deepest, loudest sound system of SXSW, transcended reality. The 3 light guys were all working just as hard as Harry. The light show and music really go hand in hand.

He did of course spin the “Harlem Shake” track.

I caught up with Harry after his gig. He’s still Harry.

When I asked how the whole “Harlem Shake” thing happened, his smile grew. He said simply, “I have no idea. I don’t f—ing know.”

Then — in a great Westport moment — he was ushered off to the illmore party. It was run by another Staples grad: Mike Bowen.

It was a successful week, full of great music, handshakes, friends, and partying like a rockstar. Now it’s time to get back to reality. I have a lot of work to catch up on — and new leads to connect with.

Harlem Shake (And Westport Too!)

First there was “Call Me Maybe.”

Next came “Gangnam Style.”

The latest dance craze video to sweep the world — inspiring a universe of responses, parodies and parodies-of-parodies, ranging from amateurish and juvenile through interesting and amusing, on up to awesome and hilarious — is “Harlem Shake.”

It is so not my cup of tea, I’ll leave it to that great website Pitchfork to explain:

The irresistible appeal of “Harlem Shake” owes almost everything to the type of menacing, world-smashing bassline that would cause even the Cloverfield monster to shudder in his gills. Along with this purely visceral pleasure, it’s hard not to marvel at how awesome those growling-lion samples sound.

This would normally make me fear for the future of our planet.

But — as every “06880” reader knows — everything on our planet has about two degrees of connection to Westport.

Or, in the case of “Harlem Shake,” one.

The song that’s heard in “all 40 million videos” (ABC News may or may not be exaggerating) comes from a Brooklyn-based producer named Baauer.

And Baauer is Harry Rodrigues.

Westport’s Harry Rodrigues.

Baauer, aka Harry Rodrigues

Baauer, aka Harry Rodrigues

His mother — Celia Neiman Rodrigues — graduated from Staples in 1977. Harry would have graduated from there too, in 2007, but he did his senior year at the American School of London.

According to Wikipedia — in prose less breathless than Pitchfork — Harry

produces trap and bass music. He has been producing dance music from the age of 13, mostly making house music and electro. He previously produced a track under the name Captain Harry, which was played by Kissy Sell Out on BBC Radio 1…. Baauer has produced remixes for Nero, The Prodigy, Flosstradamus and No Doubt.

No doubt, that last sentence means he is quite The Dude (in certain circles). In any event, “Harlem Shake” is the #1 dance song in the country right now.

But back to ABC News, which knows as squat I do about Harlem Shake, Baauer and Flosstradamus, but apparently put a 21-year-old intern on the story and then ran it past a 52-year-old editor:

The “craze” (again, oof) has even made it onto Today. Whenever something that originated on the internet makes it onto a morning show, it is sure to become: 1. increasingly ubiquitous and annoying in a very short amount of time, 2. until it implodes and disappears, making way for whatever we’re going to become obsessed with next.

That’s today’s modern culture report. But “06880” is a full-service blog, so — courtesy of ABC News — here are a few Baauer/Harry Rodrigues’ “Harlem Shake” videos, for your enjoyment/amusement/horror:

The University of Georgia men’s swim and dive team do it underwater:

Portuguese TV does it awkwardly:

Firefighters do it heroically: