Category Archives: SXSW

SXSW 2015 Saturday Recap

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I think it was Amanda who said SXSW is all about the small miracles.  From stumbling upon your new favorite band to feeling hungry and wandering into a party with free food to constantly running into your friends, SXSW is just a magical place where everything seems to go right. This year has been particularly generous with the miracles. Today’s manifested itself in a last minute set from our new favorite Irish rockers, Walking on Cars. We were devastated to miss their final show so when a friend had a band cancel a showcase, we helped reach out to Walking on Cars (thank you twitter!) and somehow, about an hour later, the band was on stage performing for us. Dream come true!

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After this unexpected glory, the rest of the day was just gravy. The sky drizzled, but the weather held fairly well as we spent the early afternoon wandering around The Rainey Street area. We sampled parties such as the Culture Collide/Hard Rock event, The Noisetrade Party, and the Closets for Causes event which featured some pretty amazing Australian yogurt. Other band highlights include the incredibly fun and infectious Taymir and Nashville’s Colony House. I had seen Colony House before, but I had forgotten just how hard the band can rock. They made me very excited about their upcoming tor opening for NEEDTOBREATHE.

Our final day party was at Lucky Lounge, our first real venture to the west side all week (!). We went to see Irontom.  I’ve seen this LA band countless times, but there is something special about seeing a favorite band at the end of SXSW on the brink of delirium. Everyone was exhausted but still having the time of their lives. The band didn’t even blink when the audience demanded an encore and they launched into their high energy cover of Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.”  This will go down as one of my top sets of the week…and not just because we got a song dedication.

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Saturday night, I tried to get in as many sets as possible, seeing artists I’d missed earlier in the week. I finally got to see a full set from UK rock outfit, Mallory Knox. I also was thrilled to catch bits of Rueben and the Dark, Not In Your Face, Air Bag One, The Two Tens and Steve Smyth. However, more so than discovering new music, the end of the evening became about spending some last moments with friends, both new and old. I kept running into people on the street which is an amazing feat considering the flood of pedestrians on Sixth Street. The midnight set of Mini Mansion brought out quite a few familiar faces. It was an experience seeing some of the musicians I am used to seeing on the stage, being in the audience and completely geeking out over live music.

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The end of SXSW became like the end of any good show with that slow walk to the door becoming a slow walk to the hotel, taking time saying goodbye and goodnight to everyone. Lots of hugs. Always lots of hugs. I interviewed the singer from Colony House earlier in the day and asked what he learned from his SXSW experience. He mentioned the importance of hugs. I think he knows what’s up.

So, there you go. SXSW, all about miracles and hugs. I already can’t wait for next year!

 

If you are still around Austin, Stubb’s is hosting a great party today. Stellar line-up including several of our SXSW 2015 faves. Check it out here: http://consciousimmaturity.org/

 

~ Kristen

SXSW 2015- Friday Recap

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Although Kristen is still running full steam ahead (however exhausted she might be) I’m beginning to tap out mentally and physically in a way that is not very enjoyable for me. That being said, today was another wonderful day of music even though there were some slight detours and changes along the way.

My day started a little later than I would have liked because I was up until 5 am doing a write up for High Volatage and getting up before 10am was not in the cards for me. After I finally got myself moving, I went on a quest for some breakfast but apparently a girl can’t find any breakfast at 12:30 in the afternoon. I wandered aimlessly around and down 6th St looking for something to occupy myself while I waited to meet up at 1pm for a thing. I heard this wonderful sound but could never figure out where it came from and who was playing.

SXSW: 1 Amanda: 0

Not to be deterred, I did stop for a minute to listen to a band called The Miseries, according to the signage out front of the venue. I thought I would stop for a carnitas bowl at the Wahoo’s stand which I have visited twice already. it’s been a handy thing to have but for some reason, they were not set up despite it being lunch time and the line for Chi’lantro was 10 people deep. No way was I going to make the meet up time with that happening. I blamed it on the impending rain.

SXSW: 1 Amanda: 0 Rain: 1

I decided to hang at the meeting spot and grab a caffeine fix while I waited to meet up with everyone. There was a coffee shop inside the Hilton that served Starbucks coffee. I ordered a black tea lemonade and after realizing they also had almond milk (yay!) I ordered a chai latte. However, the cashier forgot to ring up my lemonade tea and ended up giving me a pass so score for a free drink and serving almond milk!

SXSW: 1 Amanda: 2 Rain 1

We went to our event but sadly did not make it back in time to catch the very last set from one of my new loves, Walking On Cars or older favorite Dear Boy. Things were not looking good as it was already past 2pm and I had not managed to see a single band yet. It’s also worth noting that at this point, there is a really steady drizzle coming down and I have no form of rain protection on me.

SXSW: 2 Amanda: 2 Rain: 2

This is where the theme of persevering kicks in. Hang with me here. Kristen and I decide to head to the Palm Door to catch something interesting on our list and even though the venue was running late, we got to sit down and access the situation and devise a new plan of attack. The rain was a game changer in the sense that there would be no long walks and we would be hanging around 6th or at least finding a venue we could hole up in for awhile. Charlotte OC took the stage at Palm Door and completely blew me away with her vocal prowess. Such an emotive voice with an obvious passion for her music made her a joy to watch. I hope to catch her again this week if I can!

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After Charlotte, I decided to head to the Empire Garage for the Baeble Day Party to check out Night Terrors of 1927. The rain had picked up by then and despite having an umbrella, I was fairly wet and unamused. After catching a few songs, I had to run back to the hotel to change into something dry and bring out the reinforcements in the form of a poncho, rain boots, and a pleather jacket and hoodie.

SXSW: 2 Amanda: 2 Rain 3

After having changed into something dry, it was time to set out again for more music. The show at Empire had a few more acts I wanted to catch so I walked back that way but not before stopping along the way to listen to Lenka who was playing at the Aussie BBQ. It was hard to not walk in but with the rain coming down and the pull of other artists, I had to more on. I made it back to Empire for the tail end of The Mowgli’s set and I caught a song of Cody Simpson’s before deciding to head over to Swan Dive for a few artists there.

I got in during the tail end of the Royal Teeth’s set (it also took some maneuvering to get my ID out of my bag which was under my poncho) but I got in just in time to finish up the dance party. I really enjoyed seeing them play and thankfully they did because their show was originally out on the patio but they moved it inside due to the weather. I’m just glad they didn’t cancel. See? Persevere!

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That being said, there was a rather large lull between 6pm and 8pm in terms of music. A lot of the options were a good long walk away and that just wasn’t happening so I took the defeat and stopped for dinner and some power up time in the hotel.

SXSW: 3 Amanda: 2 Rain: 4

After the much needed chill time (thanks weather), it was time to head back out. Kristen came with me back to the Swan Dive and we watched a very entertaining guy by the name of Zeke Duhon. Not only did I love his voice, he did a really great mashup of Shake It Off and Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Taylor Swift and Kayne West, respectively. On top of that, we got a recommendation from a friend at the show that we should check out the guy out back, Luke Wade. He was another exciting find! However, they were late to get started and we had other plans in the form of an evening at church with Jay Nash and Josh Day- We Are The Contenders, James Bay, and Jack Garrat. It was a short walk with no rain so score for us!

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SXSW: 3 Amanda: 3 Rain: 4

The evening was not without it’s issues for me though. After a lovely set from The Contenders (+1 Amanda) my attempts to get in to the big hall to wait it out for James Bay were thwarted by the venue changing to “badges only” (after Kristen got in) because they were so far over capacity that no wristband was going to get in and some badges wouldn’t make it in either. It was a tough blow (+1 SXSW) but I decided to head back to the smaller room and hang with Chelsea, just in case some miracle happened. I walked in during the last bit of The Bros. Landreth who would harmonize like no other. I wish I had decided to come back earlier to catch more of their set but that’s the way things happen. Next was Hamish Anderson who had a very different feel from the first time I saw him. He played some amazing tunes, great covers, and had some guitar solos that were beautiful on the ears.

It was time to try my luck again for James Bay, especially after Kristen told me half the church emptied out when the act before him finished. I walked up and they were still calling for badges only. Not to be deterred (must persevere!) they suddenly called for badges AND wristbands so I hustled butt and made my way in just before James Bay started. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is…

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SXSW: 4 Amanda: 5 Rain: 4

The feeling in the room was electric and palpable. There’s something about being in a church and seeing artists play. It was amazing. I wish I had better words to describe it but it was just an experience. After a set that was much too short, it was time to see what this Jack Garrat guy was all about. He was an interesting juxtaposition at the start because here’s a guy that looks hip hop but when he opened his mouth, it was like the voice of an angel came out. He was such an interesting mix of vocal prowess, sick beats, and obvious musical chops. I’m sad that this was the only time I got to see him play, but he’s someone I will be keeping an eye out for.

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All in all, despite the rain and a few setbacks, the day was a win. As illustrated by the scores below.

SXSW: 4 Amanda: 6 Rain:4

 

A few options for your SXSW Saturday:

1:45pm- Taymir @ Container Bar
3pm- Colony Hose @ Blackheart Outdoor Stage
4pm- Civil Twilight @ Little Woodrow’s
6pm- K. Flay @ The Brew Exchange
10pm- Mallory Know @ Red 7 Patio
1am- Not In The Face @ Holy Mountain Backyard

SXSW 2015 – Thursday Recap

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Man oh man, I am loving SXSW 2015! My feet are killing me and my memory is foggy, but I’ll do my best to relay the glories of my Thursday in Austin.

The rain held off for another day, but the morning heat was a bit much to deal with. After a breakfast of fruit and bagels at the Planet Quebec Mixer, I found myself standing in the sun, dripping with sweat, waiting for James Bay to take the stage. Thankfully, by the time he got there, I had squeezed my way into the shade of the speakers so I could fully enjoy his set. I keep seeming to miss James but his song “Move Together” is in regular rotation in my head radio. I was thrilled when he played it. Thrilled! If the audience at The Spotify House is any indication, this guy is going places.

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Most of the afternoon, Amanda and I spent running from set to set sampling as many bands as we could. We danced with Misterwives and Whiskey Shivers, ate McDonald’s French Fries with Yukon Blonde, and chilled with The Ballroom Thieves and some Boston-ites at the Berklee Music Party. Today also had some slower grooves. Paper Aeroplanes at The British Embassy sounded like a breath of fresh air after walking down the noise of 6th street. I also really enjoyed Thrice frontman, Dustin Kensrue showing his softer side with just his voice and acoustic guitar.

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At some point, we found our way into the convention center meandering around the Gear Expo and Flatstock, an exposition of poster art design. The later was like an art museum. It was fascinating to see the different styles and techniques. We also had run-ins with a couple bands we saw and enjoyed yesterday, Buffalo Sunn and Mallory Knox.

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The evening began with the Nylon Party at The W Hotel where we were entertained both by the bell-bottomed rocking Zella Day and a photo booth where people could pose with pink Nylon guitars.  Then it was on to dinner and dancing. Dinner provided by the King’s Hawaiian food truck at Rachael Ray’s Feedback Party (desert courtesy of Jeni’s ice cream) and dancing with Rubblebucket at the IFC Fairgrounds and Jared & The Mill at The Feedback Party. The highlight for me was Jared & The Mill’s harmonious “Breathe Me In”.

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We capped off the night with a one two punch from Frank Turner and Butch Walker. After seeing the pair at The Hotel Cafe a couple months ago, having them play back to back seems the most obvious thing in the world. Frank incited the room at The Red 7 Patio, playing hit after hit, joking about his struggles to keep the drinking to a minimum, and swapping shirts with a fan onstage. Butch took it down a notch next door at Red 7, singing songs off his new album, Afraid of Ghosts, and telling tales of his SXSW experiences. The man knows how to hold an audience. The cries for an encore did not move the venue to adjust their schedule, but on the bright side, it meant home and in bed just that much sooner.

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We had one on the street random run-in with Taylor Hanson and thus ended Thursday SXSW 2015.

 

~ Kristen

 

If you’re in Austin, here are a few acts we recommend for tomorrow (Friday 3/20):

1:55 – Walking on Cars at BD Riley’s (Great Irish Breakfast)

2:30 – Charlotte OC at Palm Door Indoors (UMG Experience)

3:15 – Clockwise at Brush Square Park

4:30 – Young Rising Sons at Palm Door (UMG Experience)

6-9pm – Dotan, The Mowglis, and Charles Hamilton at Republic SX Compound

8:45 – Laura Marling, Foreign Fields, Leon Bridges, James Bay, and Jack Garratt at St. David’s Church (go for the whole night and stay out of the rain!)

SXSW 2015- Wednesday Recap

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In true SXSW fashion, Wednesday was chock full of maddening conflicts and as usual, everything magically worked out in the best way possible for a wonderful day.

Consequently, today is also Kristen’s birthday (Happy Birthday!) which is why I’m bringing this post to you. It was full of LMN favorites as well as some new discoveries. The day started at Holy Mountain with Walking on Cars and I immediately fell in love. No joke. They were my favorite band of the day and I’m really looking forward to seeing them play again.

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After that lovely set, we caught a little bit of Until the Ribbon Brakes before jetting over to catch Dear Boy’s set at 96 Rainey as part of the Buzzbands Showcase. We stayed for the full Dear Boy set, which was very enjoyable. After making some new friends there, we had a lovely time catching up with Ben Grey, finding out the best place for BBQ and acquiring hugs before stopping down the road to catch some Hamish Anderson at Clive Bar. That beautiful bluesy guitar was hard to walk away from but the pull of the impending Fatherson show at Latitude 30 was just too strong to ignore. A small bonus for the day was the free food inside! Mac and cheese and salad for all! Score, right? Actually, the score was getting to see Fatherson after missing their set yesterday. They had such a strong and killer live energy which made them a really enjoyable band to watch. Also, a band with a smiley drummer. What’s not to love?

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There was a strong pull to stick around for Mallory Knox, but we had a friend in line at Maggie Mae’s for Dead Sara and when word came that the line was short and moving reasonably well, we booked it over there and hopped in line. Totally worth it. It’s been awhile since I, Amanda, had seen Dead Sara and holy cow…. They’ve only gotten better. They played some new material as well as some old classics like “Lemon Scent.”

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Next there was some bouncing around which included checking out The Black and The White at Buffalo Billiards, Matthew Mayfield at Chuggin Monkey, and Marlon Roudette back at Maggie Mae’s At this point in time, my feet are not at all happy with me so I made Maggie Mae’s my hangout spot for a few acts like Young Rising Sons and  a song or three of Halsey.

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Feet somewhat rested, I wandered over across the way to catch a few songs of The Highly Suspect before making my way up to the church in the hopes of getting into the Brandi Carlile show at the church. This is when the magic happens… Things aren’t looking good for you in terms of getting in but you decide to stick it out, just in case and just like magic, you are whisked into the venue with a few other hopefuls behind you. I only stayed for a few songs of what can only be described as a magical set but I’m so very glad I went. Everything was completely stripped down and acoustic, which combined with the acoustics of a church makes for a very memorable and moving performance. I only stayed for a few songs even though I wish I could have stayed longer because I was really looking forward to Jared & The Mill at Esther’s Follies. I’m so glad I went! The venue was great because there was tons of elevated seating all over as well as a pit area for people to dance in. Taking another load off my feet, because you need to take advantage of that opportunity when you can, I settled in for a wonderful set. Unfortunately, I had some rather chatty neighbors that joined me part way though the set and thought it was a good idea to interrupt and chat with the girl who was seriously enjoying the music. Guess that means, I’ll have to see them again for an uninterrupted set. Oh darn. Not really.

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The night finished off with a double whammy in the form of Plain White T’s and Irontom at Red Eyed Fly. Plain White T’s were playing outside before the Irontom set, so I caught a few songs including some old goodies (pre- “Hey Delilah”) as well as some new tunes from an upcoming record. I bounced back inside to catch some Irontom and just because I could, went back outside to catch some more Plain White T’s because I haven’t seen them in at least 5 years. Probably way more. There was some more Irontom dancing to send me on my way. All in all, a great night and the craziness is only just beginning….

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Picks for Tomorrow:
1pm- James Bay @ Spotify House
2pm- Misterwives @ Des Moins Embassy
4:20pm- Night Riots @ The Blind Pig
5:40pm- Colony House @ IFC Fairgrounds
6:55pm- Cody Simpson @ W Hotel
11:30pm- Traink Turner @ Red 7 Patio

SXSW 2015- Tuesday Recap

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Today being the official start of music means we would normally spend our day picking up wristbands and credentials and then sampling some bands later in the day. That did not hold true for SXSW this year as today was Convergence Day, a brand thing here where people from film, interactive, and music get to co-mingle, talk, and share ideas.

The day started at a podcast mixer full of the best kinds of nerds. We met someone who works for a company with a watch-like device where it records audio on a continual one minute loop and if you tap it, it will save the audio. I guess for parents who want to save precious moments it’s a cool thing but I can only imagine people saving some of the dumb things that come out of my mouth. That’s what Twitter is for, right? Anyway, after chatting with some interesting people at the mixer, we wandered over to pick up our Hype Hotel wristbands and the sky decided that it was going to not really rain or mist but it was going to just spit on us. Interesting. After picking up the wristband, we wandered over to Spotify House and picked up some snacks while we waited for the first act, Vérité, to start playing. Next up, we had BØRNS rocking the stage.

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After catching a few songs from BØRNS, we ambled over to Cheer Up Charlies to catch a few songs of LMN favorite Dear Boy at their first set of SXSW. Despite having just arrived in Austin, they played an awesome set. Although we didn’t stay for the entirety of it, some dancing happened. And it was good.

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From Cheer Up Charlies, it’s was a mad dash down to the Rainey Street area to the StubHub/Culture Collide event at Clive Bar. We made it inside 3 songs in to the Irontom set and danced the rest of the set away. We even got to hear a new song from them called, “My Body.” Pretty rad.

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Hellos, hugs, and love ensued followed by schedule chats, events to see and the like. After that, it was time to check out a panel on music and the brain, “Music As Personalized Medicine.” It was a very intriguing discussion of how music is medicine for each of us in a unique and individual way and the steps being taken to study just how that works in the brain. Something that I personally loved that was said during the panel was that music can cross bridges and do different things for different people. So true.

Pre-dinner was grabbed from my personal favorite food truck, Chi’lantro, which consisted of pork bulgogi kimchi fries. Best. Thing. Ever. It was just as amazing and I remembered it. And yes, I had to share a photo of it.

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Next up was Red Eyed Fly for a taste of Holy Esque before jumping down to Yahoo’s Brazos Hall for James Hersey. That was by far the best venue of the day. Large space, power outlets for charging, free ice cold canned water (weird, right?!), and ample space to sit on the floor. We also really enjoyed the set from Buffalo Sunn there as well. Can’t wait to catch another set from them this week!

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The evening was rounded out with Catfish and The Bottlemen at Latitude 30 for an all around stellar day.

 

It only gets crazier from here and there are so many amazing bands to see tomorrow! Some of our top picks for the day are…

12:30pm and 1pm- Walking on Cars and Until the Ribbon Breaks @ Holy Mountain
2pm- James Bay @Radio Day Stage ACC
3:50pm and 4:40pm- Fatherson and Mallory Knox @ Latitude 30
7pm and 8pm- Jamestown Revival and Misterwives @ Republic SX Compound
9:45pm- Dead Sara @ The Des Moines Embassy
10pm- Highly Suspect @ The Trophy Club
12am- Jared & The Mill @ Esther Follies

Top Ten Acts to See at SXSW 2015

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re not talking about Christmas, but SXSW! We’re back! We got in this morning and the experience has already been quite magical. Of course I have my 20 page “schedule” of bands I want to see, but even that can be quite overwhelming. To help with your show picks, here are our top selections this year.

1. Dear Boy

LMN band love Dear Boy is back in Austin. This band doesn’t get out of So-Cal that often, so it’s imperative to catch them here at SXSW.

Where to see them:
2pm Wednesday at Buzzbands Showcase (Bar 96)
9:30 Thursday at Red 7 Patio

 

2. Brandi Carlile

Just listen to this song. She’s only playing one show. It’s a can’t miss.

Where to see her:
11pm Wednesday at Central Presbyterian Church

 

3. Fatherson

I pressed play on an unfamiliar song entitled “James” and immediately fell in love with this Scottish band.

Where to see them:
3:50 Wednesday at The British Embassy (Latitude 30)
8:30 Sunday at The Conscious Immaturity Charity Showcase (Stubb’s)

 

4.Mallory Knox

One of the best aspects of SXSW is that is brings international bands that you may not otherwise get to know in a live setting. Mallory Knox sits at the top of the list of bands I’d like to get acquainted with.

Where to see them:
4:40 Wednesday at The British Embassy (Latitude 30)
10pm Saturday at Red 7 Patio

 

5. James Bay

I have been in love with the music of James Bay for a while now. I anticipate big things so I’d like to catch him in an intimate setting before it’s too late.

Where to see him:
1pm Thursday at The Spotify House (901 E 6th St)
11:45pm Friday at St. David’s Church

 

Also on the must see list:

6. Irontom

7. Highly Suspect

8. Jared & The Mill

9. Walking On Cars

10. Taymir

 

~ Kristen

Top Ten Sets of SXSW 2014

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Well SXSW might be officially over but we are trying to keep the magic alive here at LMN. And can you blame us? It was an amazing good time full of great acts, good friends, much love, and lots of fun. So in the spirit of keeping things going, we present to you our top acts of SXSW 2014. This list is in no particular order because let’s face it, that’s too hard to do. Instead, think of this list as the acts that affected us the most. There will be familiar names and new names but all of them got to us at SXSW.

 

Amanda’s Picks:

1. Morning Parade at Palm Door (The Universal Music Group Showcase)

One of the things that makes SXSW so fun is the opportunity to sample new music and discover your new favorite band. Morning Parade was a band that I wanted to casually sample. You know, stay for 3ish songs and go see someone else. That was my goal for the day. However, Morning Parade threw a wrench in my plans for the day. I was so enamored by them that I stayed for their entire set and was left wanting more from them. They had their fans dancing, heads bobbing, and feet tapping the whole time, mine included. They played new stuff, old fan favorites and I loved it all. Give me more! IMG_0036

2. Beware of Darkness at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Wahoo’s Music Showcase)

The show that nabbed the title for the craziest rock and roll experience ever was Beware of Darkness at Wahoo’s. I had only seen Beware of Darkness a few times beforehand but those shows were nothing compared to this wonderful insanity. I’m not really sure what inspired the frequent guitar shredding trips into the crowd or the standing on a table rockstar moments from frontman Kyle Nicolaides but all of it was amazing. Truth be told, I wasn’t even going to attend this particular show because fatigue had set in, I wasn’t feeling well, and I was already in the hotel but I knew it would be my only opportunity to see some familiar faces so, I made the trek. The set was short but absolutely crazy in the best way possible. Definitely an experience that will be hard to repeat.

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3. Dear Boy at Rusty’s (Swing House Austin Occupation)

I think there’s something really special in being able to support a band out at SXSW who is there for the first time. File the relatively new band Dear Boy under that category. They had a rather light show schedule at SXSW so it was imperative for me (well, us) to make sure we caught this particular show at Rusty’s. It was their best show of SXSW, which was impressive considering it was a day show and on a very tiny stage. Their set was far too short (isn’t that how it goes at SXSW?) for my liking but they had a great energy and were really into their groove. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

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4. The Silent Comedy at The Tap Room at The Market (Official Showcase)

Seeing The Silent Comedy play at SXSW is always a good time. It’s an even better time when it’s at 1am, you’re tired from being up till 3am the night before, you’re in a small venue, and the stage is way higher up than you expect it to be. Sounds like a possible disaster, right? Nope. This was a crazy good time filled with some old favorites like “Prince,” “Gasoline,” and “Road Song” as well as some new tunes like, “Always Two” and “Avalanche.” Justin Buchanan, banjo and mandolin player extraordinaire gets an extra shout out for his crazy shenanigans, which involved leaving the stage to go play with the folks who thought it was safe to sit upstairs. You were wrong. I’m willing to bet there were a few folks in the crowd who fell for The Silent Comedy that night and really, who could blame them?

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5. Semi Precious Weapons at Rusty’s (Crave Online Showcase)

Semi Precious Weapons make me feel sexy. There. I said it. They were on my top picks last year and they are back again for putting on an even better show than last year. Since this was their only set at SXSW it was extremely important that this event not be missed. They had this really infectious energy about them that just bled into the audience, which kept growing and growing. The tight space gave me less dancing room but I didn’t care because being backed against a wall made it that much better. Their set included new/old favorites like “Cherries on Ice,” “Free Booze,” “That’s My Friends,” and “Drink” as well as two new songs “Vegas” and “Hands Up.” I’m happy to say that all of those songs will be on their forthcoming full-length album, Aviation. There was even a surprise visit from Lady Gaga herself who watched from the side stage. Needless to say, I left this show feeling Aviation High.

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HM: Robert John and The Wreck at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Wahoo’s Music Showcase)

As it goes with SXSW, you tend to meet new people at shows and chat about similar musical interests and swap names of bands worth checking out. Well, I met this guy outside of Wahoo’s when I was wandering back to my hotel and stopped by to hear the beautiful noise from the venue. He told me their name was David and Olivia and I should come see his band play there later that week. When he said his band was Robert Jon and The Wreck I immediately recognized the name as someone The Silent Comedy had mentioned they were playing with and had seen it on the bill but had never seen them before. I promised to catch their set later that week and I’m really glad I followed through. When they started playing I changed from a walking zombie of myself to an alert toe-tapping individual who was ready to do some dancing. Although I failed to nab a picture of them playing (there was a sleeping Trina on my shoulder), they were really enjoyable and I look forward to seeing them play again sooner rather than later.

 

Kristen’s Picks:

1.  We Met Tomorrow at Karma Lounge (Official Showcase)

I discovered some great talent at this year’s SXSW, but one of the most exciting for me is this young Swedish band called We Met Tomorrow. Their set at Karma Lounge was particularly sweet because I had tried and failed by mere minutes to see them earlier in the week.  This band is instantly captivating with their genre-defying sound and unique set-up. Sans drummer, beat duties are divided between singer, Rickard, who works a bass drum and snare and bassist, Emil, who takes on a foot-pedal crash cymbal.  The energy of the band easily transitions from heartfelt country/folk to frantic blues/rock making every song a new surprise.  In a week packed with new sounds, We Met Tomorrow presented something different and exciting and that, for me, elevated them above the rest. New Band Love.

P15201582. Meg Myers at Red Eyed Fly (Official Showcase)

I adore Meg Myers. Her songs have a tantalizing mix of hard and soft that give them an addictive quality. I saw her at first opportunity Wednesday at The Empire Garage, but her set was way too short and left me craving more. Suddenly, I felt the compulsion to see Meg at every possible opportunity. I rearranged my schedule and was able to make it to her Wednesday night set at Red Eyed Fly. I think I was left unsatisfied at the previous occasion because Meg didn’t end her set with the gut punching “Heart Heart Head”, a song that just leaves you devastated in the best possible way.  The set at Red Eyed Fly included more of the hard-hitting tunes like “Go” and yes, “Heart Heart Head”. I felt cleansed.

P15101903. Sam Smith at St David’s Historic Church (Communion Showcase)

I didn’t think this show was going to happen for me. Friday night, I wanted to get to St. David’s for Hozier’s set at 9:45, but I was running late and the line for badges was the longest I’d seen that week. I camped out in the Church Chapel enjoying some Yoshiki and Gungor. Afterwards, I was just going to leave, but walking back past the main hall of the church, the line had whittled down substantially and within minutes I was ushered into the church. There was no more room on the pews, so I sat myself down in front of the stage. This casual looking band was in the middle of a song. They would have easily been mistaken for a garage band had it not been for the angelic voice coming from the man on the microphone. 20 seconds in and I was so mesmerized I swear my heart stopped beating so that I could listen all the more intently. I only caught 2.5 songs of his short set, but that was enough to make it one of my most lauded performances of the week.

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4. Parade of Lights at The Brew Exchange (The Green Room by Beautiful Buzzz and The Most Definitely)

Parade of Lights is my break-out band of SXSW 2014. I ended up seeing them 3 times over the week. It would have been four had they not had to cancel their super late-night set on Thursday. I am a long-time fan of this band, but SXSW 2014 proved to me that they have really gotten to a place with their line-up and their tunes that has elevated them to be worthy of the big leagues. They are so electric! You see them once and you simply must see them again. The Parade of Lights set at The Brew Exchange was the first I caught that week and really reminded me of my band love.  I was surrounded by friends, all dancing and falling in love with the music. The moment was perfection!

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5. Queen Caveat and The Kin at Whole Foods Rooftop (Quantum Collective Party)

I’m not cheating here including two bands in order to get more of my favorites mentioned on the list. Although both Queen Caveat and The Kin are longtime loves, what made this a truly unique and spectacular SXSW moment, was the pairing of favorites I would not expect to ever find on the same bill. Another standout feature of this “set” was the audience. The rooftop was full of families and fans who really seemed to connect to both bands. Queen Caveat drew in a bunch of younger girls looking up to rock star frontwoman, Lauren Little, in complete awe. Then I spent quite a bit of time post-show chatting with newly minted The Kin fans who were enraptured by the Aussie brothers’ vocal harmonies and ear candy tunes as well as percussionist, Shakerleg’s unique hands on approach to creating a beat.

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HM: Heymoonshaker at Trinity Hall (French Tech Party)

This band gets the award for most unique act of the week. They are a combination beat-box/blues band. Seriously, let that sink in for a minute. The duo not only has a unique and very compelling style, but they have serious stage presence and get additional points for audience participation (there was some hard core hip-shaking going on).  This particular set was also special due to the SXSW miracle that needed to occur for me to get in to see it. Let’s just say I owe huge thanks to my new “friend” who was standing at the door.

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