SXSW 2016 – Saturday Recap

Well, I’m tired and my face is as red as a lobster, but I still can’t help but smile at all the music I was able to see today. We started out with a series of interviews for High Voltage. I chatted with new band love Judah & The Lion and SXSW 2013 faves, The Virginmarys. It’s always a treat to get to know a band outside the hectic and noisy club.

After interviews we took a free car (thank you Mazda!) across town to Whole Foods. The Quantum Collective party, I must reiterate, booked some stellar acts. Today we caught Green River Ordinance, Great Caesar, and The Arkells – there was plenty of dancing. I unfortunately missed Wild Feathers, but that was in order to bounce across the street to the Waterloo day party to see Kaleo. My how this band has grown since I saw them last summer at Make Music Pasadena! Kaleo melts the heart and stirs the soul. The play both gorgeous falsetto heavy ballads and down and dirty rockers. It’s the dichotomy that really fascinates, but it totally works!

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My evening’s schedule presented itself with quite a few tough choices so I made the decision to walk 20+ minutes from Whole Foods down to Shady Grove to see a late afternoon set from The Virginmarys. Amanda was such a trooper and came with me and we met up with a couple of friends to witness what had to have been the hardest rocking set ever at the outdoor burger joint. Sticks went flying as the UK band busted out a few new tunes from their forthcoming album, Divides, as well as some old favorites (sing: “hey girl, lay off my dead man’s shoes”). Afterwards, the band was gracious enough to give us a ride back downtown. My take-away from that adventures is that I’m very glad I’m not driving through Austin during SXSW.

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After picking up some free food at the South Bites area (chips and guac, spicy pulled pork mac n cheese), I ventured to the church for what was my most anticipated set of the week – Judy Collins + Ari Hest. They opened with their duet of Ari’s “Strangers Again” which just filled me with such joy and nostalgia, it brought tears to my eyes. They have an album coming out and played many newer songs, but busted out a few of the oldies that Judy is known for.

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More difficult decisions lead to an evening of sampling. And while no band quite reached the “Graham Bar” for new discoveries, I do have plenty of additions to my must see list. The most fun was probably had during Mainland’s set at The Sidewinder where dancing was an absolute must. From there we ran up the road to catch Drowners, but left after a couple songs (the place was packed) to make it to the McDonald house to see The Score and have an ice cream sundae. While walking up to the venue, the band starting playing the song I wanted to hear (“Oh My Love”) which I took as a sign that I was in the right place.  Due to some set time switches we wandered aimlessly for a bit before settling in at Ester’s Follies where we caught a promising new act from Los Angeles called Runaway Saints. The night (and the week) then ended with one of my recently discovered new favorites, Dreamers.

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And that was all she wrote, folks. Another SXSW down. Tomorrow we’ll catch a few more bands to ease out of the madness, wait it out at our favorite cafe for some Mad Mud, and see what else Austin has for us after the masses depart.

Thanks for reading!

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~ Kristen

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