This year we sent some of our finest writers to witness SXSW first hand and mingle. there was also a lot of music to see.
Blondfire | Clive Bar (Mood Media Day Party)
Blondfire kicked off our collective SXSW acting as a perfect soundtrack to a typically sunny Austin afternoon. Brother/sister duo Erica and Bruce Driscoll are just the right side of pop without neglecting their alt rock leanings coming across like a younger (hungrier?) Metric.
Bonaparte | Icenhauer’s (Reeperbahn Festival Stage)
We caught Tobias Jundt, AKA the leader of over the top Berlin based rock collective Bonaparte, playing a warm up show for what proved to be a scintillating group performance the following day at the Belmont. Despite being orphaned from the rest of the circus he usually performs with Mr Bonaparte didn’t hold anything back rolling around the floor, getting in his audiences face and spitting his highly entertaining lyrical word plays for all to hear.
Sizarr | Icenhauer’s (Reeperbahn Festival Stage)
One of the authentic surprises of this year’s SXSW hailed from the small town of Landau in Southwest Germany of all places. The young three-piece Sizarr offered a multifaceted performance delivering just the right amount guitar melodies and electronic samples. At a time when bands like Alt-J and M83 are arguably reinvigorating rock music Sizarr fit in nicely representing a middle line between the sonic offering of these 2 acts.
Hands | Parkside (White Iris Records Party)
Kicked off the evening at Parkside restaurant, where the upstairs had been converted to host the White Iris Records‘ party. The venue was slightly underwhelming, but a small crowd enjoyed the good vibes put out by Hands. If Foals had formed in the West Coast they might just sound like this Los Angeles based outfit and their performance proved to be contagious.
Japandroids | Viceland (Jansport Bonfire Session)
Getting to hear Japandroids play “The House That Heaven Built” live once and for all was the only saving grace of this disastrous testament to the failures of corporate sponsorships. Despite Brian King and David Prowse valiant effort to reinvigorate the crowd with their usual high energy performance, including an attempted USA vs Canada chant war, the show was marred by pushy security, long lines and crappy sound; allegedly the result of a last-minute request by the sponsors to move all the indoor concerts to the outdoor stage — because backpacks are an outside thing.
Local Natives | Mohawk (Pitchfork Party)
After the big disappointment of the aforementioned Japandroids show our team reconvened for what was fortunately a radically different aural experience. Local Natives performed the midnight show at what came to be one of my favorite venues, Mohawk , offering stellar energy and a spot on performance. The set closed with a riveting version of “Sun Hands“, so good it gave me chills.
John Talabot |Mohawk (Pitchfork Party)
No better way to end the night than hanging around Mohawk for a radical sonic change thanks to house producer John Talabot– another favorite of the trip — who had the whole place grooving. The Barcelonian‘s polished set wove soulful vocals with dance-worthy electro making the crowd happy to be on their feet even after a long day.