Towards the end of SXSW, we accidentally found ourselves at the Good Land Records showcase far from the festival (we were trying to catch the Josh Berwanger Band’s final SXSW set). The Wisconsin-based label showed off the best of their acts, including Archie Powell and the Exports.

Our first pleasant surprise came when we realized that The Noise FM’s Alex Ward played guitar in this band (and quite well, might we add). The second pleasant surprise came when we realized how well this band rolls with the punches.

First off, it’s very clear that Archie Powell and the Exports love fun. Not only is their energy sky-high onstage, but their attitude is infectious. It feels like a band of buds who hang out all the time anyway, even when they’re not playing shows.

During the third song (video below) of their set, the band blew the power. Ward immediately raised his hands triumphantly and exclaimed “We did it!” and the rest of the audience followed suit. Powell then lead the audience in a handful of sing-alongs using only an acoustic guitar, while the rest of the band enjoyed a break with drinks in their hands. So when the power was finally restored, everyone was in a fantastic mood. Blowing the power may have actually worked in Archie Powell’s favor in this instance, because it made for a memorable event that showed off just how smoothly the band operates when things go off course.

In this day and age, it’s very hard to market white boys in flannel who play guitar. The scene is littered with them, and they’re about a dime a dozen. But Good Land Records does it marvelously. From what we saw at their showcase, it’s clear that the label knows exactly what appeals to the people and how to keep positive attitudes rolling.

Here’s a clip from Powell’s set when the power was finally restored.

Words and photos by Fally Afani

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Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 15 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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