SXSW 2013: Blue Hawaii @ Elysium – RA Showcase 3.13

Posted March 15, 2013 in
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Blue Hawaii created a lot of buzz with their chilled and dreamy set at SXSW. Photo: Esther Merono

Give a musical equation that describes the band's sound.
(Purity Ring – trip hop elements) + (Grimes – annoying baby voice) + a rainy day, dreaming about the beach

If you had to marry one band member, who would it be?
I feel like this would have to be a polygamist marriage, and not just because singer Raph Standell-Preston was wearing a long, pioneer skirt and Alexander Cowan was in socks. Most of the set, Standell-Preston spent at the side her bandmate, staring at him intently and singing as if she was trying desperately to get his attention. There were moments when she would lean in and smile and whisper something, and then break apart from him to jump up and down. At one point, they started jumping around together in what almost looked like a tickle fight. I don't think anyone could get in the middle of that bond––look at the cover of their latest album, Untogether, and you'll see what I mean.

If this band were a vegetable, what would they be and why?
This band would not be a vegetable, they would be a fruit with added toppings. Standell-Preston's vocals and stage presence are sugary sweet, and the music manipulated behind them is crisp and chilled, like fresh strawberries with a dusting of sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.

Where would you want to see this band play in SLC?
These guys are definitely too unknown for The Depot, too soft for the loud drunks and fast dancers at Urban, and I don't think they'd go anywhere near State Street. They would be perfect for the intimate setting of Kilby, and maybe it was how kind and sensitive, yet down to have a good time they seemed on stage, but I think they'd do really well at Velour. However, they WILL be at Urban Lounge, supporting Purity Ring on April 10. Just get up real close to the stage and have a few drinks so you don't mind all the chit-chat that will inevitably drown them out if you're anywhere near the bar.

What was the crowd's reaction?
I think all of us were mesmerized by their chemistry, to begin with, they just seemed so (un)together. The set started out slow and soft, but about halfway through, the beats sped up, Standell-Preston's looped vocals seemed more vibrant and everyone's energy picked up. The smoke machine behind them released a cloud in our direction, and Standell-Preston playfully whooped and laughed into the mic, making us all laugh in return. It was a really great, memorable set. I look forward to seeing them again.

Blue Hawaii created a lot of buzz with their chilled and dreamy set at SXSW. Photo: Esther Merono