Honestly, I’m not sure where to start this post. It might be due to exhaustion, lack of mental focus, or the blur that has been the last 5 days Honestly, I’m not sure where to start this post. It might be due to exhaustion, lack of mental focus, or the blur that has been the last 5 days catching up to me. All I can say for certain is that I had an enjoyable time.
Since I’m a little bit groggy, an in depth chat of the day will not be had. It started with Rachel Ray’s party with Bob Schneider and Imagine Dragons. It ended with an impromptu Daniel Beddingfield show (although I think Semi Precious Weapons was the proper ending). What happened in between was a blur of dancing and laughing with friends featuring bands such as; The Silent Comedy, Gary Clark Jr., K Flay, War on Drugs, Hey Marseilles, Jukebox the Ghost, Semi Precious Weapons, Husky, Ramona Falls, Graffiti 6, Nico Vega, Viva City, Tournament of Hearts, and Semi Precious Weapons again. All aforementioned bands are worthy of your attention. Let the pictures do the talking.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some sleeping to do before driving straight back to LA in the morning.
It’s 3:30 am (again) and despite having droopy eyes, I’m somehow awake (again). I’m not complaining mind you. I’m just making a statement about life during SXSW. Today was the unofficial start of the festival if you will. This is a day filled with long lines, wristband and badge pick up, hustling, waiting, and all kinds of running around. It isn’t till the evening time that the music really starts. And that, is magic.
Somehow I’ve already amassed 4 wristbands, 3 badges, and a bag of swag. Also managed to score a wonderful free veggie dog from the Hot Dog King cart courtesy of @girlshbo. And this is only day 1. Tomorrow promises to be even crazier but tonight was an excellent start.
Our musical night started with He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister playing as Rain Bro at Bayou Lounge as part of the ATN showcase. Following that was Viva City at Chuggin Monkey (dance party!), and was topped off with a healthy dose of Saint Motel at Treasure Island. It was great to finally see He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister and what better time than at SXSW?! And I must say, it was lovely to have that dance party with Viva City. A year is far too long to wait. And what can I say about Saint Motel other than what a great way to finish off the night. It made my night complete. Also, they have a free download if you head to their site!
I bet you thought I forgot all about this! Well, the truth of the matter is… I haven’t been home to write and when I am home, I’m sleeping. I’ve been out making new musical experiences for 2012! As such I’m giving you three more of my top musical experiences and I promise the top 2 won’t be far behind.
5.SXSW- I don’t really know how to describe SXSW to anyone other than calling it a musical orgy of sorts. There is so much to see and do whilst in Austin, Texas that it’s hard to keep your head on straight. Last year was my first year and I hope to be going every year after. The cool thing about SXSW is you really only need money for a place to stay and some food. We never went to any official shows (which is what badges are required for) and we had a hard time keeping up with all the musical options out there. During our time at SXSW we saw; Fierce Creatures, Viva City, Purple Melon, AWOLNATION, Neon Trees, The Head and The Heart, The Kin, Dead Sara, Fitz and The Tantrums, Tailor Made Fable, Keaton Simons, Liam Finn, Atomic Tom, Ivan and Alyosha, Queen Caveat, The Gallery, Sabrosa Purr, The Greenhornes, The Silent Comedy, Mother Mother, Agnes Obel, Brian Wright, Brooke Fraser, Cary Brothers, Holly Conlan, Jim Bianco, Joey Ryan, Kenneth Pattengale, Laura Jansen, Little Red Radio, OK, The Milk Carton Kids, Deluka, Hugo, Meriwether, My Cousin The Emperor, Sinai, Taylor Locke & The Roughs, The Good Natured, Augustana, Doll and The Kicks, Empires, Lenka, Twin Atlantic, and The Stone Foxes. Well, you get the idea…
4. Blink-182- I was never a huge fan of Blink. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t change the radio station when their music came on or anything but nothing about them made me have a burning desire to see them live. In 2011, I saw them not once but twice and they will always have a warm spot in my heart. The first time I saw them was for the Honda Civic Tour. I was working with Kevin and Rebecca Joelson and doing some shooting of the event which means I was in the pit for the first few songs and was able to be side stage for the rest of their set. I was surprised at just how many Blink-182 songs I knew and Rebecca and I sang along from the sidelines. What really blew my brain was when they ‘finished’ their set and this giant rig comes down from the batons where all the lights are. I had been staring at it all night trying to figure out what it was. Well, it was a giant arm with a drum set attached! Travis got on this rig and was taken out over the audience while he played a solo for a few minutes. The rig would tilt down, back up and move around. It was mind blowing!!!! Needless to say, I was a fan after that.
3. Bonnaroo- In 2011, Bonnaroo was what Coachella should have been lineup wise. If you’ve ever been to or know about Coachella, think of Bonnaroo as the cooler sister who is both hippie and hip. Bonnarro is also held in a giant field and while it lacks the artistic attractions like the wandering robot and the giant hand that can kill a car, it has yoga and it’s own post office. Bonnaroo also has this giant fountain which I’ve been told gets painted different colors every year but it’s a great way to stay cool in the heat. Coachella doesn’t have that. Granted Coachella is easier to get to, but flying out gave us the chance to hang out in Tennessee and check out Nashville for a day or two. Our highlights from Bonnaroo were already posted on this site but we had a blast watching Eminem, The Head and The Heart, Portugal. The Man, Neon Trees, Kopeckey Family Band, Mumford and Sons, Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons, Alberta Cross, The Black Angels, and The Decemberists. Bonnaroo is a new tradition in my book and I can’t wait to see the lineup for 2012!
This year’s SXSW experience was a little different than in years past (ie I actually got to GO instead of my usual just listening to all of the artists). Still, I wanted to maintain the spirit of my annual SXSW Mix being a list of artists that are mostly new to me that I somehow discovered or was inspired to write about due to my SXSW experience. I am so excited about every one of these artists/groups. I can’t wait for them to come through LA and play!
For a hot minute, Electric Touch was in LA and I discovered their music here. Then they moved to Austin, so I had to wait ’til SXSW to see them again. Now, they’ve played Coachella and seem to be doing a bit of Warped Tour this year. Keep your eyes open for this band, ’cause your ears will be happy if you do! Here are some tunes including my favorite, “Dominos”.
Ok, I saw this band at The Viper Room well before SXSW…but they were there and this is the perfect excuse I’d been looking for to mention how much I enjoy them. Check out their album, Living Like Kings in Confined Spaces.
Phildelphia’s golden boys, SINAI, gave one of their rare performances at SXSW this year. It was one of my most anticipated performances of the week as I’d been waiting to see this band, comprised of some of my favorite musicians, play since they announced their formation. They certainly didn’t disappoint. I love this video for “American Dream” because quite a bit of it was taken at their Austin performance.
UK’s Viva City was in town all last week playing shows at The Viper Room, Saint Rocke, and Silverlake Lounge. They also put on a killer DJ set at Bardot Friday night as well as a highly entertaining appearance on Friday’s Brit Bitz program on Moheak.com. Bottom line: there was a lot of dancing going on this past week. This week, I’m suffering from a bit of withdrawal, so their CD, Phobia, has been on heavy rotation. Hence the song of the day: Viva City’s “Brother”
This week, electro dance pop group, Viva City, are in town all the way from the UK. These boys played an important role in my SXSW experience in Austin this year and even made my list of top sets. I’m quite excited to have them back in my life for a week. If you’re in the mood for some dancing, come to The Viper Room on Monday, Saint Rocke on Tuesday, and The Silverlake Lounge on Thursday. Added bonus, Monday and Tuesday my friend Eli James will be joining Viva City performing his unique set behind his one-of-a-kind light-up drum kit. The makings for a great dance party indeed!
Lots of good shows this week. Here’s my list:
Monday: Eli James, Viva City, That Noise at The Viper Room (8pm)
ALSO: Taylor Locke and The Roughs FREE at Silverlake Lounge (11pm)
ALSO: KT Tunstall with Charlie Mars and Meiko at The El Rey (8pm)
ALSO: Dom Liberati at Bar Lubitsch (8pm)
ALSO: Ivan & Alyosha at The Autry (7pm)
ALSO: Cage 9 FREE at The Troubadour (10:45)
ALSO: Chris Robinson Brotherhood at The Echoplex (8:30)
ALSO: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 (9pm)
Tuesday: Viva City and Eli James at Saint Rocke (8:30, 9:30)
ALSO: Alberta Cross at The Satellite (10pm)
ALSO: Pinback at The El Rey (9pm)
ALSO: Red Circle Underground at Silverlake Lounge (10pm)
Weds: Semi Precious Weapons at On the Rox (10pm)…FREE with RSVP (email@example.com)
ALSO: Beatnik Jr. FREE at 3 Clubs (10pm)
ALSO: Leighton Meester and Kevin Devine at The Hotel Cafe (7,9:30)
ALSO: Agent Ribbons and Le Butcherettes at Bootleg Theater (9,11)
ALSO: The Greenhornes at The Echo (10pm)
ALSO: Colin Hay at Largo at The Coronet (8pm)
Thursday: Viva City at Silverlake Lounge (10pm)
ALSO: Brian Wright at The Hotel Cafe (9:30)
ALSO: Hayes Carll at The Troubadour (10pm)
Friday: The Creepshow at The Hotel Cafe featuring Ferras, Daniel Bedingfield, Shawn Hlookoff, etc. (10pm)
ALSO: Love and a .38 at The Roxy (10pm)
ALSO: The Kills at The Music Box (8pm)
Saturday: The Other Side of Morning CD release at The Loft (9pm)
ALSO: Andrew Ripp and The Daylights at The Hotel Cafe (11:30)
ALSO: Peter Bjorn and John TWO sets at The El Rey (8,11)
Sunday: Jake Newton and Schuyler Fisk at Saint Rocke (9pm)
ALSO: The Black Angels at The El Rey (9pm)
ALSO: Eisley at The Troubadour (10:15)
To Keep in Mind:
May 20th: Curtis Peoples at The Hotel Cafe
May 21st: Saint Motel at The Roxy
May 27th: The Script at Club Nokia
May 27th-29th: Sasquatch Music Festival (Washington)
June 2nd: Manchester Orchestra at The Music Box
June 6th and 7th: Band of Skulls at Bootleg Theater
June 7th: Death Cab for Cutie and The Lonely Forest at The El Rey
June 9th: Adele at Hollywood Palladium
June 9-12: Bonnaroo (TN)
June 13th: Florence and The Machine at The Greek Theater
June 15th: Augustana at The House of Blues Sunset
June 17th: Nico Vega at The House of Blues Anaheim
June 29th: Brooke Fraser at The Music Box
July 11th: The Head and The Heart at The Hotel Cafe
July 26th: The Indigo Girls at The Troubadour
July 28th: A Perfect Circle at Gibson Auditorium
August 12-14th: Outside Lands in San Francisco
August 18-20th: SSMF
September 22-24: Hotel Carolina (South Carolina)
I’m still working on my annual SXSW Mix. It’s shaping up to be mostly new artists that I’d never heard of before or that really came to my attention at SXSW this year. As excited as I am about all my new discoveries, it occurred to me that some of my very favorite experiences of the festival aren’t represented. As such, I was inspired to make a separate list of my top 10 sets of SXSW ’11.
It was their first set at SXSW and I was just SOOOO excited that they were there and that I was there and that everything was happening. The venue itself added the additional bonus of watching Lauren masterfully deal with an awkwardly placed banister AND allowed me to watch all the people walking past, stopping, and being drawn to the window by the music…LOVE watching new people fall in love with my favorite bands! It was a SXSW moment for sure.
I saw The Silent Comedy more than any other band at SXSW. Each set they did was slightly different but their final show at Antiquiet’s The Axis of Audio showcase was the most unique, featuring some new tunes as well as other songs not found in their typical setlist. It also helps that the set was dedicated to me (and Amanda and our TSC gang).
Empires was one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing play. They had grabbed my attention when they played in LA with Biffy Clyro and seeing them in Austin reminded me why I loved them so much. The way the band, especially singer Sean Van Vleet connects to the audience, drawing them in with an intense energy…it was one of those sets in which I became completely lost in the music.
After a solid day of amazing music, it was incredibly difficult for a band to completely knock me off my feet (as many highly anticipated bands failed to do). Yet Dead Sara had me head banging and rocking out with their 1am set Weds night (or I suppose Thursday morning) at Lipstick 24 like no other. I think this was the hardest I rocked out all week…
You know I love The Kin. Their performance at Antone’s was one of the most memorable of the week. I finally got to hear some of their new material, the audience was completely enraptured especially when they got off the stage to come sing a song on the floor, and Isaac managed to “re-create” his didgeridoo using some sort of pipe that could be found out in the street. When they played “Waterbreaks”, I was SO happy to be seeing them play again (it had been awhile…they’re based in NYC), it brought tears to my eyes.
I had NO CLUE that Doll & The Kicks was even going to be at SXSW, let alone be playing at the British Invasion showcase I was attending on Thursday. It was the best surprise of the week! Their new song “Skeleton” is fantastic and must be downloaded now…!
I had never seen AWOLNATION before, but I’d been enjoying their tunes. I liked the band, but what really gets this set on my top 10 list was the intensity of the audience. I love being swept up in that kind of energy…it was insane without me ever feeling physically threatened. The perfect audience. When they played “Sail”, I was taken to another place…and I couldn’t even really see the stage!
Most of the bands on this list are ones I’d seen (or at least known) before SXSW. It’s easier to really get into a set if you know the songs. But Twin Atlantic I had never really heard of before arriving in Austin. I had come across one of their tunes and that was enough to put them on my watch list. By the end of their set at Antone’s, they were my fave new discovery from SXSW.
9. Viva City at The Dart Music International House
Tuesday afternoon, before the music festivities officially began, we gathered to go see Viva City at The Dart Music International House. I saw this UK act several times over the course of my stay in Austin, and each time it was a crazy fun dance party, but this very first set marked the beginning of my SXSW experience and it will never be forgotten.
That whole evening at St. David’s Sanctuary (one of the Hotel Cafe showcases) was quite magical (see story), but I think my favorite set of the bunch was Brian Wright’s. It’s hard to describe why the set moved me so much. I have seen Brian play plenty of times, but something about this place and time and my specific mood really elevated his performance and songs. It was truly a perfect SXSW moment.