by Ashley Farnie
Assistant Music Director
After spending my night in a soggy tent, I awoke early to begin my second and final day at All Together Now. While I folded up my tent and gathered my belongings to take to the press lounge, I took in the foggy mountain views surrounding the festival grounds.
Although my Sunday schedule was less stacked than the previous day, the performers were acts I had been following prior to my travels to Ireland.
Ezra Williams addressed the crowd with a departure from their preliminary stage name, smoothboi ezra, as they had been playing under that name since they were 14. Ezra’s performance felt intimate and personal. Leading each song while playing guitar, Ezra’s band served to elevate their individual performance.
Ezra’s original stage name is emblematic of the persona they occupied at the time. Serving the internet as a young teen writing songs on acoustic guitar, Ezra solidified themselves as an approachable and vulnerable songwriter. Despite a transition of names, Ezra performed for the first time their first single, “Thinking of You.”
Ezra’s evolution as an artist shows sonically through their progression from their initial catchy bedroom pop track on ukulele. Lyrically and musically, Ezra’s progression portrays their development as a person. Through their onstage performance, an overwhelming sense of confidence radiates, communicating to the audience their certainty in their own person.
Sunday’s performances kept me at the same stage throughout the day, traveling to the press lounge and back to edit photos. Sorry took the stage after Ezra, a band I have been following since editing an article by a journalist reviewing their 2020 album, 925.
Shortly after uploading the article, I attended SXSW – virtually, given the unfortunate circumstances – and watched Sorry perform the Close Encounter Club’s showcase. Check out my article reviewing the day here.
Dressed in star-lined sweatpants, lead singer Asha Lorenz effortlessly shreds her glossy electric guitar. Steady and reciprocal vocals between herself and guitarist Louis O’Bryen fuel the performance, placing the focus on Sorry’s grungy instrumentals through vocal effects and an intricate pedal board.
Sorry’s calm and collected presence makes their talented musicality a mystery. Photos tinged with a green overlay strip color from the band, their focus on communicating through music rather than aestheticism.
Concluding my weekend at All Together Now, I had the pleasure of seeing my favorite Irish band perform for the second time. When the music department received Banshee earlier this year, I immediately put a few tracks into KTSW’s on-air rotation. With a garage indie pop sound akin to Soccer Mommy, NewDad immediately caught my attention as a band whose discography I needed to discover.
After discussing the EP with a promoter and mentioning my upcoming trip to Ireland, I learned that NewDad calls Galway home. Coincidentally, they had been booked to play an Irish showcase at SXSW 2022, which I had the pleasure of covering with press credentials. Crammed in the tiny Velveeta Room in Austin, I approached lead singer Julie and mentioned the All Together Now festival they would be playing in the summer, and my hopes to attend.
A few months down the road and across the ocean, I leaned against the barricade in the photo pit to grab shots of the band. The progression from tiny barroom stage to a large festival stage underneath a big top proved their growth following the release of their second EP. NewDad’s reaction onstage proved their surprise at their own growth, this having been the largest crowd they had performed in front of.
Heading back to the main entrance to catch the bus, my final day at All Together Now concluded with the show I wanted to attend since my decision to travel to Ireland for the summer. Experiencing the climate of a music festival in another country exposed me to the music industry internationally, allowing me to experience its operation outside of the States.
While the occurrences of the festival seemed to function similarly to festivals in Texas I have attended, the energy and demeanor of the crowd reminded me of my temporary stay in the country. Because of the customization of the festival lineups relevant to each country, I think attending festivals while traveling will become a favorite excursion of mine –
but as for now, I have Austin City Limits on my mind…stay tuned for ample coverage from our music staff!
Written by: Hannah Walls
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