Airborne Toxic Event
Fitz and the Tantrums
Little Green Cars
Family of the Year
Cold War Kids
Hanni El Khatib
987FM will be at SXSW bringing you all the latest news, performances + interviews. This blog is your one stop for anything and everything SXSW. Check out all the highlights and performances from last year here.
Check out the acoustic set The 1975 did for us at the #1031iHeartAustin broadcast space!
Canada’s METZ, a riotous trio playing noise reminiscent of, well, the ‘90s, nearly caused a fistfight at their SXSW showcase. They didn’t do it on purpose; it’s just that their music is the kind that makes guys start shoving. HARD. The sound harkens back to the infamous Amphetamine Reptile days, when bands like the Jesus Lizard and Shellac ruled the college airwaves. METZ was thunderous, with just a guitar, drums, and bass roaring underneath the aggressive vocals of Alex Edkins. The crowd got rough almost immediately, and there is always one guy in the pit who takes things a little too far… which is what caused the band to stop the show and Edkins said, “Hey man, be good to each other. Dancing is alright, but you gotta stay cool to each other.” Good vibes plus intense rock equals great band.
“I stole some drink tickets from backstage, who wants them?” And so began the Chelsea Light Moving showcase at SXSW on Friday night, as Thurston Moore attempted to entertain the crowd during a sound check delay. Once everything was good to go, the band took off with “Burroughs” from their debut self titled album, and the crowd, already charmed despite the delay, was officially in love. Moore’s talent of finding the melody in the dissonance was on full display, as Chelsea Light Moving has less of that chaos factor which characterized Sonic Youth. Jangly, poppy, noisy, fun, and, well… Moore.
The Rubens came highly recommended from several Southern Hemisphere residents, as they are sellout artists and critical faves back home in Australia. Their short set during the Aussie BBQ was a low-key affair (everyone was tired by the last day of the festival), but evoked images of late sixties soul psych like the Animals or much less aggressive Black Keys. Slightly retro, but still very much of today, these three brothers and a childhood friend have been together just over a year but had the rooftop filled to capacity, with plenty of onlookers filling the staircase too, trying to catch this potential next big thing.
Brazilian dance party, anyone? With a couple laptops, microphones, blow-up dolls and more energy than a 2 year old after eating a box of Frosted Flakes, the foursome of Bonde do Role came onstage wrapped in animal costumes (penguin, lizard, kangaroo and parrot) and proceeded to throw one hell of a rager. The enthusiastic rapping and singing, from the band and the crowd, matched their electro beats and funk. The audience limbo-ed under their mic chords, traded dance moves with blow-up dolls, and left in a better move than they had arrived.
Parquet Courts, a skuzzy New York garage band, played in a sweatbox full of curious onlookers (very shortly after they “opened” for Kendrick Lamar a few blocks away). The first couple tracks were a bit in the Pavement family, but they soon took it up a couple notches, with dueling vocals and fuzzed out guitars. It’s great to hear a “punk” band that understands melodies, and has lyrics both smart and snotty enough to not turn anyone off, and these guys pull it off.
For some sweet folky fun, Jenny O. delivered. Alternative airwaves are filled with “folk” music these days, but Jenny O. does it in a more earthy, seventies style, not sparse but sweet and uplifting, with some boogie so you can shake your denim clad ass to it. The band is super groovy too, so don’t expect a Joni Mitchell outing. There are smiles and a little bit of soul to this singer songwriter’s sound, all a good thing.
I had to go see Big Freedia. I had to. The queen of sissy bounce, that N’awlins booty poppin’ music, was playing in a little club with no ventilation and, even worse, no water (by the end of SXSW, you find out what venues planned well and which ones didn’t). Big Freedia compensated by tossing water onto the steamy crowd, who were enthralled by her pop and lock dancers, and more importantly, all the aforementioned booty. Her rapid fire electro rap of “Azz Everywhere” was not kidding – tightly toned high octane ass shaking and dancing was the rule. This party was on fire, and Big Freedia couldn’t have been sweeter about the whole thing. Raunchy and joyous, and ass-tastic.
Around the corner was Beerland, a downtown annual holdout to SXSW with signage basically giving the finger to the festival in no uncertain terms. The Bay Area’s Thee Oh Sees decided to play their last show there, on the “patio,” a tiny sidewalk area with a couple tables. This meant the show was basically in the middle of the street, and people stood on cars, bicycles, hung from awnings, and climbed poles and trees to see the garage rockers thrash loudly. Those who couldn’t see could still feel, and Thee Oh Sees somehow pulled the last reserves of energy from a crowd that had been on its feet for days, and in the wee morning hours of the conferences last night. Adios, SXSW!
oh and Green Day showed up...no big deal or anything
Man oh man we had TONS of artists pop by to perform some acoustic sets for us. Check out all the stuff below!
Skinny Lister-Rolling Over
The Rubens "Lay It Down"
BOY "Little Numbers"
RDGLDGRN "I Love Lamp"
Check out The Features acoustic version of "This Disorder" at this years SXSW
The Neighbourhood talk about how their SXSW has been to far and who their fave artists are right now!
Check out their acoustic performance of Sweater Weather
SXSW Thursday Wrap Up
As lines still proved the norm, and crowds filling the street to hear the overflow is proving to be the “new” norm, I had the countless day parties (and the artists who played them) to thank for checking some acts off my list. As the official showcases become harder and harder to get into - no matter if it’s an impressive baby band, a headline act, or someone no one has heard of yet – the growing list of day parties has definitely stolen some thunder and given others a chance (badgeholders and non) to see some quality music.
UK’s Bastille is currently one of the top selling acts across the pond (having just scored a number 1 album), and the crowd checking them out was 50/50 aware of whom they were. Those aware were feverishly yelling out song titles, while the unaware were simply trying to determine if this new act was the next Coldplay or Stereophonics. Earnest “songs about real life” were traded with poppy love songs as the band bounced around the stage, crawled up the lighting fixtures, and leapt from the drum risers. They closed out with their UK hit “Pompei” while melodramatically clinging from the staircase to the thrill of the Anglophiles in attendance.
Charli XCX, another British import, filled the stage with synth beats and edgy girl pop vocals while her drummer kept some serious beat. Her music is more geared towards a club show than a broiling Austin afternoon, but she danced about amiably even if the crowd seemed a bit confused by the vibe. Charli XCX had a great energy and presented a strong case in favor of electro bubblegum pop.
From New Zealand and currently living in London, momentary Jack White signing Willy Moon was the next artist to attempt not getting a sunburn or heatstroke while performing at SXSW. His skinny retro suit only heated things up more, as he busted out his particular form of modern swamp boogie on the crowd, covering “I Put A Spell on You” and also crowd pleasing with his singles “Yeah Yeah” and “Railroad Tracks.” He threw cold water over a steaming crowd after yelling, “Put your cameras down a moment!” although his midday theatrical performance definitely turned up the temps.
San Cisco kept things breezy with their diminutive indie pop from Australia. Jangly and sweet, the four piece played the small room as if it were filled with their best friends, making the crowd feel welcome to the get together. Their particular brand of indie pop works best on the Belle and Sebastian crowd, but is charming enough to not be precious.
The Neighbourhood, mysteriously appearing on the LA music scene barely a year ago, is about ready to release their major label debut and has developed the skills to back it. Their live show has become magnetic, watching the band prowl about the stage to their seductive rhythms. Kicking off with the sinister yet sexy “Let It Go” and ending with the soulful sweetness of “Sweater Weather (playing some new tracks in between) the crowd was enthralled. The Neighbourhood takes the best parts of, say, Depeche Mode and Usher, while adding sweet harmonies… and that makes this band appealing on many levels. The row of women swaying in front of the stage would agree.
The sisters Haim are stealing SXSW. Even playing the larger capacity spaces didn’t guarantee entry, and despite lines at most venues, the lines to see Haim were particularly intimidating. They played a large, outdoor, corporate event that they trated just like a hometown show (in this case, home being the San Fernando Valley), rocking their hearts out more than their music would make one think possible. Even taking a break to sing happy birthday to one of the sisters felt intimate despite the huge crowd, as they got teary eyed and hugged one another afterwards. The music was soulful and fun, filled with sexy grooves, ferocious percussion and shredding guitars. A woman in the crowd yelled, “Rock my face off!” They did that, in a playful and melodic way that everyone loved.
Big Black Delta = a singer controlling the keyboard, a bass player, and two seriously talented drummers in case the beat wasn’t heavy enough for you. Singer Jonathan Bates’ sometimes electronically treated baritone was just another instrument for this LA band, seducing the crowd with that and his sultry dance moves. The music has a sinister goth club sound, synth industrial and tribal, but enough upbeatness to it that the frat boys in the room weren’t afraid to get down.
Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes brought their big band all the way from Melbourne and could hardly fit the stage given to them. In fact, they didn’t, as singer Brown and her sax player stood on the floor in front of the stage while the rest of the band and the back-up singin’ Rackettes filled the actual stage. One of those retro yet modern acts, Clairy has a booming soulful voice with that edge of an Amy Winehouse and a garage band flavored soul revue type band backing her up. It’s definitely a show, and a party, and one worth crashing for the good times.
MONA lets us know what has changed the most from their last album and how they deal with disagreements in the band.