Category Archives: SXSW

SXSW 2016- Wednesday Recap

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Every day of SXSW is somehow completely different and yet the same. It’s a weird paradox or vortex or whatever that we get sucked into here in Austin but it never fails that there is some kind of theme for the day. Today had two very distinct themes…. awesome parties (yay!) and some major technical difficulties (boo!).

We started our day at Volcan Gas Company to check out Audiodamn! but upon our arrival, we realized they were no where close to being ready to go and we were 15 minutes late in the first place. Not wanting to stand around twiddling our thumbs we walked down to the street to Pandora where we heard a rumor that they were giving away free Chick fil A. I can confirm that was indeed the case a the awesome Pandora party. They also had some swag bags if you participated in some fun little things but I didn’t participate in that because 1) I really don’t need more stuff and 2) I was too busy eating my free sandwich. Priorities.

_DSC2327As there was no music going on at Pandora, we wandered back down the road thinking that things at Volcan Gas Company would be up and running. We were wrong. So very wrong. Audiodamn! didn’t start playing until 40 minutes after their listed set time and from what I saw, the problem had nothing to do with the band. I felt really bad for them because they clearly wanted to play and get the show going. Sadly, they only played 3 songs. From what I can recall (it’s been a long day) the bass blew out during their second song. They finally got it working again but by that point in time, they only had time left for one more song because they had gone so far over time. Such a sad way to start things out. So, we had our first awesome party experience of the day and our first major setback.

 

From there we moved on to the YouTube Music House for some Banners. Let me tell you, that party had it on lock. It was air conditioned, which is important, but it also had juice, gluten free pastries, 6 different flavors of popcorn, free non-alcoholic drinks, seating, and an outside space. In addition to all those perks, there were trays of food that wandered around every so often. I sampled the sweet and tangy meatballs that came out in addition to some fresh home made guacamole. I did see some sliders and I’m bummed I missed them but I was too busy enjoying Banners while those came around. The set from Banners was really enjoyable and I hope to catch them again later this week. Sadly, it won’t include the awesome projection that was going on behind them during their set (and I never love projections, so this was clearly done well) but I think I can manage. Another point for another awesome party.

 

From there we went to see Everything Everything at Barracuda only to discover that once again, the band was no where ready to go. So we went around the corner to the Beehive Party at Swan Dive. There was some free swag including bags, t-shirts, mini shampoo and conditioner, some Kind Bars, and some other things. Although there was no food (Kind bars don’t count) it was still a pretty awesome party and Aurora was on stage and on time! There was a massive crowd for her and I didn’t feel like squeezing around but from what I could hear, I very much enjoyed her. Would love to see her again and really be able to see her. We went back around the corner to Barracuda and Everything Everything was still not on stage. They ended up not playing at all. What a bust. Kristen poked her head outside to catch some Grace Mitchell but I was too comfortable sitting at a picnic table to make the effort. Ah well.

From there we walked over to Rainey St. and caught some Grizfolk at Clive Bar. There was different levels of free swag for doing different things. I ended up with a carabiner and Kristen got a t-shirt. Swag from a party is always good but at this point, hunger was setting in. So down the road we went to the Reeperbahn burger party where we had the easiest check in ever and a free burger with fries. Zero complaints from us. Free food is always good!

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From there, we meandered back to Rainey St. to Blackheart for Sara Hartman and Tor Miller. We were sure getting in was going to be difficult and every place we walked by that had a line we thought was where we were going but alas, Blackheart and absolutely no line. Zip. Zero. Zilch. No complaints here, just some mild surprise. I really enjoyed Sara Hartman and her energy. She was a lot of fun and very enjoyable. One of her songs reminded me of a Jack Garratt song lyrically and I internally amused myself with the idea of them getting together. Also, her drummer did some really awesome and unique things during her cover of a Jamie xx song. Tor Miller was someone I had been looking forward to seeing with a band. I saw him open up for James Bay last year in New York where it was just him and a piano in a very massive space. This is was completely different setup and surroundings so I was curious about the difference. He was just as enjoyable with a band as he was acoustically last year. It was cool to hear a song I was already familiar with (Midnight) with a different kind of arrangement.

By now I would have figured all the technical issues that seemed to be happening earlier in the day at various venue would have been resolved. Well, they weren’t. After walking over to Shiner’s Saloon for Mainland’s 11pm set we discover that they are a full band behind schedule. Instead of Mainland starting, a band from Munich called Kytes were just getting started on their set. They were an enjoyable band to listen to while I sat, relaxed, and did some decompressing. They were fun and I wasn’t mad to be there listening to them. Around 11:45pm/12am Mainland started playing. They were a high energy bundle of bodies and two of the guys decided to come off the stage and into the crowd during the second song. I wish I could have stayed and watched them longer but Rooney was playing down on 6th St. and there was no telling how crazy that line was going to be. There was no line. We walked right in and found some seating while we waited for whatever was happening on the stage to get off. By now, I was running out of gas so I managed to stick it out for 2.5 songs before I had to head back to the hotel and call it a night. I wonder what surprises tomorrow has in store for me.  _DSC2454

 

SXSW 2016 Tuesday Recap

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Firstly, I simply MUST point out how amazing Monday was. To enter Austin at SXSW time is like entertaining a magical land full of surprises where people are happy (albeit tired), food is free, and music is around every corner. Also, SXSW Interactive knows what’s up! I played skee ball, rode a Ferris wheel, took a nap in a pod, collected several cell phone card holders (my #1 swag goal), and had not one but two excellent and very free meals. Frank’s hot dogs for the win!

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The day ended at my favorite SXSW venue, The British Embassy. It was like coming home. I melted a bit listening to Ciaran Lavery and grooved with The Crookes before passing out happy with dreams of the coming week.

Ciaran Lavery

Today we eased into what is officially SXSW music week. Here are my 3 biggest take-aways

1 – It now seems acceptable to don sleep wear to perform onstage. Lukas Graham and Declan McKenna both rocked the white tees and comfy shorts while all girl rock band, Hinds looked ready for bed in over-size t-shirts and what I would term sleep shorts. Bonus points go to the young McKenna for also sporting mismatched socks AND shoes…

Declan McKenna

2 – Sweet potato tots are a thing and they are delicious

3 – Lukas Graham is in very strong contention for best band of SXSW 2016.  I started off the day with Lukas Graham at The Spotify House and the Danes exceeded my already high expectations setting the bar very high for the week to come. Lukas’ vocal, endearing personality and surprising range of songs (think James Bay meets twenty one pilots w/ a dash of charming irreverence) all meld for a memorable performance that will be hard to beat.

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Coming very close to the “Graham Bar” were The People The Poet who wowed with an acoustic set in the Convention Center and simply must be seen again in full band mode and Ben Hazlewood, a young and engaging pop artist from Australia.

The People The Poet

I also quite enjoyed French rockers, Talisco, the aforementioned Declan McKenna (that “Brazil” song!), the always entertaining Soft White Sixties, and The McDonald’s Loft who scored a big win with their sundae bar and primo entertainment (I was able to catch Jared & The Mill and Bel Heir).

Jared and The Mill  Bel Heir

4 – Jack Garratt is a musical genius and must be seen as often as possible. He is even worth staying out until 1am.

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Stay tuned for more tomorrow…

~ Kristen

Kristen’s Top 10 Acts to See at SXSW 2016

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It’s that time again! Monday AM, Amanda and I are headed to Austin to enjoy what will inevitably be my favorite week of the year at SXSW. My goal, as always, is to discover great new bands that I can see again when they come to LA (and of course share with you!). I’ve gotten a decent head start by listening to and ranking all of the announced official artists. I also have done a fair amount of pre-scouting this year so I know who to really prioritize when faced with 50 different band options every hour.  Whether you’ll be joining us in Texas or just want to know what I’m digging this year, here are my top picks for SXSW 2016:

 

  1. Wild Wild Horses

    I heard this British band’s single, “Demon Days (Do It All Again)” and they were instantly granted a place on my list and after seeing them during their Echoplex residency, they jumped straight to the top! One of those rare bands where every single song hits you at your very core.

Watch the entire video…it’s worth it

See them: Thursday 8:30 at Javelina (69 Rainey St)

 

  1. Lukas Graham

This year’s “James Bay” has all the appeal and on the strength of single, “7 Years” gets top marks and the can’t miss distinction.

See them: Tuesday at noon at The Spotify House Main Stage

 

  1. Judy Collins and Ari Hest

I grew up listening to Judy Collins and as a long time Ari Hest fan, this duo, in my estimation, bears the potential to create one of the most magical experiences of SXSW. They have one show announced and you bet it’s highlighted and double starred on my schedule.

See them: Saturday 9pm at Central Presbyterian Church (200 E 8th St)

 

  1. AudioDamn!

Germany’s AudioDamn! play fun and catchy rock songs that are aimed to entertain. I had the pleasure of seeing them a few months ago and their talents extend beyond their 4 song self-titled EP.

See them: Wednesday 1:30 at Volcan Gas Company (418 E 6th St)

 

  1. Tor Miller

Of all the songs on my SXSW mix, it’s Tor Miller’s “Carter & Cash” that gets stuck in my head and won’t let go. I feel like seeing him live will be the perfect antidote to my ear worm problem…or at the very least will have me dancing.

See him: Wednesday 9pm at Blackheart (86 Rainey St)

 

  1. Ninet  – Ninet is an Israli superstar for a reason. I saw her last week and the woman knows how to rock!
    See her: Saturday 10pm at Scoot Inn (1308 E 4th St)
  1. Barns Courtney – undeniable voice. Just listen to “Glitter and Gold”
    See him: Saturday 11pm at Latitude 30 (512 San Jacinto)
  1. DNCE  – making crazy fun pop songs one “Cake By The Ocean” at a time
    See them: Thursday 3pm at Waterloo Records (600 N Lamar)
  1. The Virginmarys – UK faves returning to SXSW in front of a new rocking album
    See them: Saturday 5pm at Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs Rd)
  1. Rooney – I watched The OC along with everybody else…
    See them: Soho Lounge Wednesday 1am (217 E 6th St)

Top Ten Sets of SXSW ’15

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We saw a lot of awesome acts during our time at SXSW thought we don’t have enough time and energy to share with you all of the awesome act we saw, we though we should share with you the highlights of our time in Austin.

Amanda’s Picks:

1. Walking on Cars at Clive Bar

I’m sure you’re already familiar with our Walking on Cars story but just in case you aren’t, I’ll break it down for you… caught half of their first set at SXSW, second set conflicted with another, missed the third (and final) set after literally running there by just a few minutes and lamented them not playing more shows. And then…. the SXSW Magic happens. A band pulls out of a show that a friend is booking, ask them on Twitter if they’re free and want to play another show, they say yes! Like I said, magic. The thing about Walking on Cars is that there’s something really special about them musically. They have a sound that I can’t even begin to classify or describe but I can tell you that I feel their music in my heart and my soul. And it’s a pretty special thing to get a full 30 minute set from a new band love while being around friends who are also dancing along and loving the band you love. this show will forever go down in my personal SXSW History as something so magical and lucky that I still have a hard time believing it actually happened.

2. James Bay at St. Davids

Where to begin with James Bay? I mean, the guy is a guitar and lyrical powerhouse of songs that just pull at your heart and all those emotions you don’t always like to think about. He only had a few shows that were doable schedule wise and one was completely rained out to boot. I only caught half a set at Spotify and that just wasn’t enough James Bay for my taste. The opportunity to see him in a church with those kinds of acoustics is something you’d be hard pressed to walk away from. Truth be told, I almost wasn’t able to get into this show because earlier the showcase had been declared “badge only” and I, the lowly wristband wasn’t allowed in. However, after patiently waiting and enjoying some other music just down the hall, I circled back to try again and as luck would have it, I made it in. The air in the church was palpably electric and the whole room was filled with this charge that went right through your body. It was a feeling that I won’t forget anytime soon. Even though James didn’t play as long a set as he did at Spotify, I can let that go in favor of the story telling behind the song Scars and the feeling of being a part of something really unique and special.

3. Royal Teeth at Stubbs

So this show technically wasn’t during SXSW “officially” but it was still during the week and was kind of a wrap up show. After catching only 2.5 songs of Royal Teeth at the Swan Dive earlier in the week, this was my last opportunity to see a full set from them. The band didn’t disappoint and somehow managed to still have a wonderful amount of energy for the end of the week. Their infectious pop energy was enough to prop me up and keep me going even though I felt dead on my feet. Even though I (sadly) wasn’t familiar with their tunes, it didn’t matter because everyone was bouncing along. I’m not sure what the most memorable part of the show was… when singer Gary Larsen jumped off stage and got into the middle of the crowd for some drumming or maybe when the confetti went flying during their last song and everyone looked so blissfully happy. Regardless, that show was something special.

4. Zeke Duhon at Swan Dive

Truthfully, I don’t know what pulled me to the Swan Dive for Zeke Duhon. I didn’t know him or any of his music but this little voice in my head told me to make sure I made that show and I’m really glad I listened. Zeke was a surprise I hadn’t been expecting and especially after already seeing so much music and reaching a point where it all begins to blend, he was someone who managed to really stand out and make me stop to listen. Probably my favorite part of his set was when he started talking about covering these two different songs and he couldn’t decide which he liked better so he chose to do both. This ended up being a super awesome mashup of Shake It Off and Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Taylor Swift and Kayne West, respectively. I mean, seriously.

5. Colony House at Blackheart

I was so bummed about missing Colony House when they came through San Diego with Sir Sly but I was so happy to see their name on the list for SXSW. Sadly, all their showcases conflicted with something or were just too out of the way. But on SXSW Saturday, I made it a priority to see them and it was especially meant to be because they were just down the road from where I was that morning. Colony House completed slayed at Blackheart on a day that had proved difficult for other bands due to the weather. But some drizzle wasn’t going to stop vocalist Caleb Chapman from hopping onto this box in front of the stage with his mic stand and guitar and then getting some air while jumping back down to the stage, several times I might add. Their whole set was a powerhouse of rock energy that just didn’t let up until they got off the stage. If that’s how they played at the end of the week, I can only image how they are when fully rested, locked, and loaded. Whew.

HM: Jack Garratt at St. Davids

Admittedly, I didn’t really want to stay for Jack Garratt’s set as I had just seen numerous other amazing acts at the church and was pretty darn tired with a write up still to do. However, I’m so glad I did because that guy is something really special. He has the vocals of an angel with the beat skills that is sure to make more than a few established artists jealous. He’s a really interesting juxtaposition of soft melodic vocals and hard bass dropping beats that echo through your chest. As someone in our party said, “he has that combination of soft and hard that Sam Smith tries, and fails to achieve.” He really was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Kristen’s Picks:

1. Irontom at Lucky Lounge

Some might say it’s silly to go all the way to Austin to see a band from Los Angeles, but there is something quite special about seeing your favorite bands in a different setting. There is a comfort and joy in experiencing something familiar and a thrill from watching others fall in love for the first time.  Plus, when it’s the end of the week and everyone is delirious from exhaustion, both you and the band are going to have an experience unlike any you would have back at home. This is what made Saturday afternoon’s Irontom set at Lucky Lounge so very special. I was propped up against a wall when singer, Harry Hayes, called out to me from the stage to check that I was okay. He then proceeded to bounce on and off the stage like I’d never seen before, as the entire band gave their all in their final SXSW performance, the third that day. At the end of the set, Irontom newbies clamored for more and without hesitation, the band launched into an encore. It was a set to remember.

2. Charlotte OC at Des Moines Embassy

When I saw Charlotte OC’s name listed as a SXSW artist this year, she flew straight to the top of my “must see” list. Wednesday afternoon, as my friends were retreating back to the hotel for some rest, I insisted on squeezing in one more set when I saw Charlotte’s name on my schedule. I rushed over to the Des Moines Embassy in time to make it up to the front of the stage before she began. She opened with my favorite of her songs, “Hangover”. I knew I was going to like the song, but her live interpretation took the experience to another level. This woman has a presence on stage that goes beyond simply singing her songs. I wasn’t even able to stay for this entire set, but I was so blown away it had to make my list. Fortunately, I caught a full set at The UMG Party at Palm door a few days later.

3. Brandi Carlile at Central Presbyterian Church

Now, this was a once in a lifetime experience! Brandi Carlile took her band of musicians and unplugged them all. They used the venue as another instrument, playing with the acoustics of the room. At one point, sting instruments were placed around the venue and even up in the balconies.  At another time, the band paraded down the aisles with Brandi augmenting her voice via an old fashioned megaphone. I feel like she got through most of her hits as well as several songs off her new album, Firewatcher’s Daughter. When Brandi and the twins broke into my new favorite song, “The Eye”, I wasn’t sure if I was having an allergy attack or if tears were streaming down my cheek because I was so moved by the song in this form.

4. Frank Turner at Red 7 Patio

Frank Turner seems to be a SXSW regular and thank goodness for that! The energy he brings and can create in a room is infectious. I’m not sure that it’s possible to not have a good time at a Frank Turner show. I, for one, was clapping and singing and bouncing along at the one set I was able to catch of Frank’s at the Red 7 Patio. It seemed to be a “play the hits” kind of evening. I would have liked to hear more of the material off his upcoming new release, but it is always great fun being able to sing along with song after song. Mid-way through the set, there was a t-shirt swap with a fan. I hope this becomes a tradition!

5. The Contenders at Bethel Hall

SXSW 2015 offered the first opportunity I’ve had to see this new duo formed by Jay Nash and Josh Day. I was expecting the music to be good (and it was), but more unexpected was the humor and warmth created by the musicians personas revealed through the in between song chit chat. These guys are rivaling The Milk Carton Kids for the award for best banter! The dapper duo captured the audience in the small church hall, delivering a series of sad tunes with happy smiles. At least I had a goofy smile on my face the entire set. I look forward to hearing more from this band.

HM: Young Rising Sons at Maggie Mae’s

I was familiar with their infectious single, “High”, but Young Rising Sons, had an entire set worth of fun and memorable tunes. I’d also call this set a right place, right time kind of deal. I ended up at Maggie Mae’s because there were a lot of great bands at that venue that night. I was tired, but Young Rising Sons provided a perfect pick-me-up. They were fun and easy to enjoy. Sometimes you need a band with good pop sensibilities that can make you dance without thinking. Young Rising Sons came to me just when I needed them and became one of my most fondly remembered sets of the week.

 

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!)