Kristen’s SXSW 2019

In my near decade going to SXSW, this is the first year that the music festival got the better of me and I had to miss a day+ of programming due to food poisoning.  The ugly setback meant missing several must see acts, but the week in Austin still provided plenty of highlights. Here’s what I gleaned from my SXSW 2019.

The Playlist:

5 Takeaways:

  1. Donna Missal SLAYS – my favorite set of the week was Donna Missal at the VEVO House, but every time Donna takes the stage (including at a 7am radio show), she commands the audience with a vitality and passion that emanates from every fiber of her being. A woman on a mission and with a message, Donna uses her platform to preach the importance of inclusion, togetherness, and women working with, instead of against, one another.  More please!


  1. Charlotte OC

    The future of music is female – at the close of the day on Tuesday, I realized that every single act I saw that day (save one) had at least one woman on the stage! My list of favorites reads like a list of rising female singers: Angie McMahon, Samia, Robinson, Minke, Charlotte OC, ROE…all acts I’m super excited to follow. Despite one depressing conversation with a music business guy about the struggles of women in the music industry, the future of music, to me, looks decidedly more female.


  1. Welcome back to Austin, Dear Boy! – One of the best parts of SXSW is seeing one of your favorite local bands in a different city. This year, that band was LA natives, Dear Boy. Armed with a smashing new EP, The Strawberry EP, (which includes one of my favorite Dear Boy songs, “Limelight”), the quartet returned to Austin ready to shine. And they were greeted with open arms, finding new fans (and bringing out long-time supporters) with every show.  Welcomed indeed.


  1. Sam Fender

    Everyone’s going to be talking about Sam Fender – With lines out the venue for most of his sets, one of my fave SXSW 2018 artists returned this year with much more acclaim. For someone so young (Sam’s in his early 20’s), his songs show a maturity and political awareness that can deeply resonate with contemporary culture. Hopefully as his fame rises, he’ll learn how not to swear on the radio and figure out a better way to keep his vocal cords fresh than drink so much water right before a set that he wants to end early so that he can run to the restroom…


  1. Acoustic sets for the win – I saw plenty of amazing rockers this year (Reignwolf, Quiet Company and Black Pistol Fire leap to mind), but many of my top sets were bands who chose a more acoustic route. Jamie N Commons, who knows how to rock, came to Austin with just a keyboard and guitar…and I loved it! Second Play stages afforded me the opportunity to see two of my new faves, Robinson and Apre, play more stripped down, intimate, and memorable sets (as I curled up on a couch and gave my feet a much-needed break). Finally, an early morning radio show hosted both X Ambassadors and Judah & The Lion whose acoustic versions of “Unsteady” and “Pictures” overwhelmed me with the most emotion I felt all day (if not all year).

As for the rest:

Best 1 AM Set: Jared & The Mill –  if you haven’t already, you need to check out their new album, This Story Is No Longer Available.  This band keeps getting better and hearing all the songs at 1 in the morning just made them feel even sweeter.

Best Dance Party: Pip Blom – they know how to party in the Netherlands!

Best use of one song 3 x’s:  Sir Sly (“High”) – The LA faves wanted to play more songs but didn’t have enough rehearsed so they played their hit single three times…

Best Venue: British Embassy (Latitude 30) – Although they got rid of my Biffy Clyro poster and still don’t have anywhere to sit, they bring in the BEST lineups, day and night, hands down.  A trip to the British Embassay will never end in disappointment. Top acts seen there include ROE, Sports Team, whenyoung, Thyla, Saint Phnx, and Anteros.

Morgxn at VEVO House

Best Party: VEVO – for two nights in a row, I planted myself for a time at the VEVO house. They had excellent food (plus ginger beer), a chill atmosphere which fostered good conversation, and, despite the awkward stage angle, the party seemed to bring out the very best in their awesome lineups (highlights include Donna Missal, Sam Fender, and Morgxn).

(HM: Communion Showcase: always a winner, the church environment was perfect for the lineup that included Novo Amor,  Minke, Celeste, Tamino, Angie McMahon, and Dean Lewis)

Most Seen Act: Dean Lewis – gotta see him now before he becomes too big for me!

Biggest Misses (by me) – The Amazons, The Howl & The Hum, Briston Maroney, King Princess, the last Dear Boy and Jamie N Commons sets, Fatherson – my SXSW was going to end with the one, two punch of Dear Boy and Fatherson at Lamberts. I even tried to make it out figuring I’d sit in the back and just listen, but the smell of the BBQ was nauseating, and I couldn’t last more than 20 minutes. Darned food poisoning. Next time!

Top 10 New Discoveries:  

  1. Robinson
  2. Angie McMahon
  3. Apre
  5. ROE
  6. Ferris & Sylvester
  7. Minke
  8. Saint Phnx
  9. Wolf & Moon
  10. Sports Team


~ Kristen


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5 Highlights of San Diego Music Thing 2014

I know I’m the LA half of LMN, but I too love the music community down in San Diego. One of my favorite annual events is the San Diego Music Thing. It gives me a chance to catch up with what’s happening with some of my favorite SD bands, venues, and fellow music-lovers. I didn’t go down so much to cover as to enjoy, but I wanted to share some of my experiences, thoughts, and of course, new band discoveries! Here are my 5 highlights from SDMT 2014.

  1. New Band Love: Colony HouseP1550121

The block party on Saturday was full of musical gems but I was particularly impressed by this band from TN. Colony House delivered in both performance and sound which reminded me a bit of Ivan & Alyosha (probably due to the fact that the singer was wearing an I&A t-shirt). They have a fun dance-able indie pop sound with catchy melodies and pristine vocals, but what really drew me in was the band’s rock flavor. They are not afraid of throwing in a fun guitar riff or head-banging moment. This was more evident in their live performance, but you can get a taste in their single, “Silhouettes”. You can catch Colony House on the road with Knox Hamilton who played before them at the block party and are also worth a good listen and follow.

  1. Best Food Discovery: City Taco

Friday was such a crazy day, getting dinner didn’t really happen until way past dinner time. I got lost trying to find The Irenic where Justin Furstenfeld was surely putting his audience in a music-induced trance and I ran into Amanda instead, realizing that perhaps this was my subconscious telling me to eat something. The San Diego food expert took me to City Taco where affordable gourmet tacos were the order of the day. I don’t know if it was my extreme hunger or the quality of the chorizo asado taco (with caramelized pineapple!) but the food was so tasty we ended up going back the next evening where I sampled an equally enjoyable and slightly less messy pollo asado taco complete with raisins and almonds. Delicious!


  1. Feels Like Home: Friday Night at U-31

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Usually, I’m more inclined to run around and sample bands, a few songs here, half a set there, but the lineup and people Friday night at U-31 kept me pretty glued to that venue. I walked in dancing to LA staples, The Janks (pictured right). They were followed by the very last show of one of my favorite SD rock bands, Deadly Birds. Although the singer of Deadly Birds had been in an accident and was unavailable, the rest of the band delivered a rockin’, more jam-y set, as bassist Johnny Rey stepped up to the mic. They brought up a guest vocalist, Jacob Underwood, who before whaling into the mic, revealed he was a member of the MTV-crafted pop group O-Town who I subsequently gathered has recently released a new album. After the Deadly Birds finale (sadness!), my beloved rockers Queen Caveat (pictured left) took the stage to share with an eager crowd the new music they have been working on. Per usual, singer Lauren Little, got the crowd going and despite a minor broken bass issue, the set was one of the best I caught that weekend. I’m loving the new Queen Caveat tunes. One of the highlights of the evening happened between the sets catching up with so many people including friends from Hunnypot Unlimted and Badass Bands Blog. I was surrounded by so many friends, it really felt like home. Dead Feather Moon closed out the evening with a late late set. I had to leave before I got too sucked in. Sometimes sleep > more music.


  1. We Are Perpetual Scholars – The SDMT Conference

SDMT is more than watching music, it’s a conference designed to gather together the local music community to help them grown and learn more about the business they are in. Panels on both Friday and Saturday made experts available on all kinds of topics from legal issues to social media, PR, and management to music writing and blogging. Witnessing the eager participants networking with each other and getting valuable advice to help them advance their careers is inspiring. Saturday, I sat in on a few panels just absorbing information. I love conferences. They make me feel like what I’m doing with my life is bigger than just me, more important I guess. As a bonus, in between panels and mentoring sessions, the day stage hosted some talented musicians like Dani Shay and Josh Damigo. Another bonus, the several pools located around the Town & Country Resort where the conference was taking place. Work doesn’t feel so much like work when it’s done next to a pool.



  1. Set of the Weekend: Meg Myers

I am a fan girl when it comes to Meg Myers. There is something about the power and intensity behind every performance she gives that just makes me giddy. Saturday at the SDMT block party Meg and her band were on point.  She dominated that stage playing many of my favorite off her newest Make a Shadow EP and even breaking out a song so new she needed a lyric cheat-sheet. The set was relatively early in the evening and I almost feel like the rest of my night was spoiled because of it as no one else could possible top the Meg Myers high.


~ Kristen

Warped Tour Pomona 6/20/14

Living in Los Angeles, seasons are not demarcated as much by changes in temperature or what is falling from the sky. Instead of spring, summer, winter, and fall my seasons are SXSW, festival season, Rocktober, and end of year music mix-making season.  Currently we are smack dab in the middle of festival season. Finances are restricting my full participation in this most joyous of seasons, but happy circumstance and good friends lead me to the Fairplex at Pomona last Friday for one of my favorite festivals, Warped Tour! This year felt a bit different for me. Instead of running around in the hot sun like a maniac trying to catch every single band I sampled and found promising, I focused on a select few. It was a year of celebrating firsts and lasts and I wanted to share a few highlights.


My favorite first: Queen Caveat 


My LA band love, Queen Caveat knows how to rock so it makes sense that they would find themselves invited to take the Warped stage. I have experienced several firsts with this band and I did not want miss seeing them play their first Warped tour. The trek out to Pomona and suffering through the heat, crowds, and a few questionable musical offerings was all made worth it seeing the crowds mesmerized by the four-piece, particularly fierce front-woman, Lauren Little who drew people  in by offering to share her water (smart move on a hot day).  My favorite new fan had to be the front man for Japanese band, One OK Radio who had just played the adjacent stage. After greeting some fans, he stuck around and watched Queen Caveat’s entire set from backstage. Can we say One OK Radio/Queen Caveat tour through Japan?!?



My last dance with Anberlin

P1530762After Warped Tour, Anberlin are doing one massive farewell tour and then are calling it quits. I saw Anberlin play Warped Tour back in 2007 in Atlanta and remember after their set standing in a looong line to get their album, Cities, signed.  I’ve seen them a handful of times, but that moment, was one of my favorites. I found it fitting to see them one more time at Warped Tour. The band came out blasting “Feel Good Drag” and I was instantly reminded how incredibly dynamic and infectious they are. I smiled ear to ear as they played several of their older tunes, brining me back to ages and Warped Tours past. I’m really going to miss this band…


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The end of the moshing era

P1530701Signs prominently displayed on all the major stages emphasized the seriousness of Warped policy against moshing and crowd surfing. While I certainly appreciate this effort (and yes, it was enforced), it definitely changed the dynamic of the event which in my mind has always been closely associated with massive circle pits and rowdy crowds. While I still observed a few crowd surfers, there was no band that egged it on. Gone are the days of trying to set records for crowd surfing or mosh attendance. Although I didn’t really see any of the uber aggressive hardcore bands, I’m left wondering how those fans are celebrating that music, if not by shoving into one another…


Other notables from the event

K.Flay – I’ve been a fan of this Bay area indie hip hop artist for a few years now, but when I heard her new album Life As A Dog, I started craving another K.Flay show so I was thrilled that she was on the bill for Warped this year. Her unique style which, as best as I can describe, is a slowed down vibey hip hop, is a great fit for Warped which, despite what some people might think, does a great job at covering an array of genres.

Bayside– Bayside is one of those bands that take me on a journey through memory lane. I only caught a bit of their set, but I love their high energy performance.

The Acoustic Basement– The Acoustic Basement is one of my favorite parts of Warped Tour. I was slightly dismayed this year when I realized that I wasn’t the only one with that sentiment. Just about every time I wanted to sample an artist in that tent, I could barely even see the tops of heads through the crowd. If I could do multiple days of Warped, I would spend one just sitting in this tent all day. I discovered some great new names this year including Nick Santino, Rob Lynch, and Front Porch Step. And as long as we’re discussing acoustic acts, I also quite enjoyed This Wild Life.

One Ok Radio– These guys played right before Queen Caveat so I caught most of their set. They were great, but what really surprised me were their fans. For a band I hadn’t heard of before, they had quite the devoted audience.



And here are a few more pictures:

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Show Review: Terraplane Sun at Hollywood Palladium (5/30/13)

It’s no easy task being a local supporting act for a sold out show where the majority of the audience consists of screaming and barely legally able to drink females. This was night #2 for Imagine Dragons at the Hollywood Palladium and the kind of show where the audience is so passionate about the headliner that they would just as soon skip the openers and dive
straight into the main dish. So the Venice Beach, CA five-piece Terraplane Sun had their work cut out for them when they took the stage at 7:30pm to an already packed room. That said, Ben Rothbard, Johnny Zambetti, Cecil Campanaro, Lyle Riddle, and Gabe Feenberg had no problem making  the room and the people in it their new BFFs with their Delta blues swagger and California sun. It’s as if the Doors, Johnny Cash and CSN decided to shack up, musically of course. What’s obvious is that these guys are accomplished musicians: everything from guitars to lap steel to keys to a mandolin to a trombone made an appearance during their set. What’s not so obvious is how they manage to seamlessly fuse what have to be many various tastes and influences, making vintage tones sound fresh and lively: somehow they do. Collectively they looked as comfortable on the large Palladium
stage as they do in club settings (even if you don’t know who they are, they’re hardly new to the game) and performing with a natural ease and showmanship to where, if you looked around the audience you were sure to spot a girl or two falling a little in love with at least one band member. Their set was short, but sweet and effective as they served up “Funnel of Love” and “Ya Never Know” highlighted by the lively steppers “Tell Me I’m Wrong”  (folks just loved Feenberg’s trombone solo) and their ode to going after what you want, their single “Get Me Golden.” Rothbard’s lead vocals were fortified by quality harmonies, Zambetti showed off his solid lead guitar skills, as rhythm sections go, Campanaro and Riddle were joined at the hip and Feenberg is probably that secret weapon that every band needs. When it was over, the applause and yells of approval spoke for themselves. As did the scramble for the EP’s that Rothbard tossed into the crowd.




review brought to you by our dear friend Trina N. Green (@dharma69) pictures by Trina and Kristen

HoHotel Cafe Holiday Benefit Show- Night 2 Recap

The annual Hohotel Cafe holiday benefit show is always one of my favorite events of the year. Hotel Cafe artists come together to play a mix of seasonal tunes and originals in a rapid-fire manner, each taking the stage for only a song or two, playing solo or inviting up friends to fill out a make-shift band. The two day event featured the likes of Cary Brothers, Butch Walker, Priscilla Ahn, Meiko, Joe Purdy, Laura Jansen and SO many more. This year, I was only able to make one of the two days, but the night will go down as one of the best evenings of music I experienced all year.  It was one stellar act after another with many fun surprises and special guests. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Over and over again. By the end of the evening, even before Butch invited his friend Alecia Moore (AKA Pink) to the stage, I was so overwhelmed, my continuously blown mind seemed to be leaking out of my eyes. Seriously, the beauty and magic of the music had moved me to tears.
Going into detail on the evening would take a book, so here are some pictures. Put your cursor over the pic to more details or fun stories: