Thursday, March 28, 2013

Three Days at Disneyla- I Mean SXSW.

This was my first South By Southwest (SXSW) experience, and definitely not my last. I'm just going to throw this out there: SXSW is a music aficionado's version of Disneyland. Why did I come up with that idea? Well, there's overpriced greasy food, fearless fans snapping pictures with musicians/celebrities left and right - & WHO COULD FORGET ABOUT THE LINES to get into the venues? This brings me to my first bit of advice, INVEST IN A SXSW WRISTBAND. Also, the later you arrive to SXSW, the more people you have to deal with fyi (so, come early.)
It felt like there was a showcase taking place at every corner, bar, church, parking lot, and that is because there seriously was. What takes place in Austin during the music portion of SXSW is so far from reality that it's practically perfect. SXSW isn't just a festival, it's a dreamworld 

Let me repeat myself, there's some form of live music everywhere you go.
DAY 1 (Wednesday)
I had a bit of a late start on Wednesday, but that didn't stop me from catching a bit of AntwonCharli XCX, and most of the Brainfeeder showcase where PBDY, Azizi Gibson, and The Gaslamp Killer (featured below) were at. 
The Neighbourhood put on a great show over at Club de Ville and even performed a few new tracks from their forthcoming debut I Love You (release date: April 23rd!) Afterwards, Charli XCX hopped on stage to deliver an energetic performance at 1:30 in the morning. Homegirl's level of energy is honestly unreal.   

DAY 2 (Thursday)

Started off at Hype Hotel where I caught St. Lucia ending their set with one of my favorites "September." 
Next up was FLUME aka Harley Streten. He's a 21 year old electronic music producer from Australia. I've been listening to his debut album on a daily basis, and to finally see the man behind it all was incredible. It was awesome to hear chatter amongst the crowd about the album as well (seriously you guys, give it a listen.) As Streten brushed the surface of his original work including "Sleepless" and a few remixes I noticed more of a groove in his presence. Streten appeared to be pretty shy on stage but very appreciative as he often smiled when looking out into crowd. BIG things are coming his way, I can feel it.  
After Flume ended, it was time for CHVRCHES! 
What a surreal moment it was to see this trio from Glasgow in person after being exposed to them through a computer screen for several months. They started off with the powerful "Lies" (my favorite) & played a handful of new songs as well as "The Mother We Share" & their latest "Recover." CHVRCHES recently announced a tour through the US this spring and you can click here to check if they're coming to your neck of the woods. 
P.S. Tickets go on sale tomorrow Friday March 29th! 
AUSTRA was next, and I was very excited that the team was there 100%. I had heard from a friend who saw them recently in Dallas when they opened for The XX that the Lightman twins (who provide backing vocals for Austra) were absent and believe me if you've seen any live videos of them... they are an asset to the performance! 
The first song of the set was the newly released "HOME", which is one of the best songs that Katie Stelmanis has written in my opinion. I was very pleased when Stelmanis had mentioned that they wanted to play as much of the new album as possible, but unfortunately was cut short due to set times. This didn't keep them from playing "Beat and the Pulse" & "Lose It" which are both crowd favorites from Austra's debut album Feel It Break. I'm crossing my fingers that they headline a tour through the US soon, because 40 minutes was not nearly enough (but beggars can't be choosers right?)   
I quickly peddled out of the Hype Hotel and over to mtvU Woodies just in time for HAIM (another band that was a must-see on my bucket list.) Words can't explain how much admiration I have for these three girls from California. Not only are they extremely talented, but there were moments in the set where it was only Este or Alana singing & boy was I mesmerized by their vocal capability. From what I've listened/watched of HAIM before SXSW, I've only witnessed Danielle on lead vocals. Right in the middle of the set Este shouted on the mic something along the lines of "I think this is the part of the set where we jam?" From that point on - my mind was floored as they jumped into one hell of a jam session that centered around Alana's sultry vocals. It also happened to be Este's birthday, and it wasn't long before the entire crowd was singing Happy Birthday to the oldest member of HAIM. It was an unforgettable set by far. 

Later that night I found myself over at Holy Mountain to catch a short but sweet set by Baths aka Will Wiesenfeld, and I must admit I was on cloud nine when he played his latest track "Miasma Sky." Hey Will, even though you continued to apologize for being a bit under the weather throughout the set, you sounded GREAT. 
TOY (at Hotel Vegas) 
It was midnight & at this point I was borderline exhausted, but making the trek back out to Hotel Vegas was a great decision to catch this psychedelic/indie rock four-piece from the UK. Since I've been home I can't seem to get myself away from their self-titled debut album released last September. Take my advice and grab their self-titled album here on iTunes.   

DAY 3 (Friday)

ON AN ON exceeded my expectations.. I mean honestly, this four-piece isn't even a year old and I would have never assumed that by their performance that day. These guys are going to go very far & if you haven't purchased/listened to their debut album Give In ... WELL WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Be sure to check out Give In on their website or over on iTunes ASAP! 

I must admit... while navigating through Hotel Vegas once again to checkout The Mallard, I had no idea there were three different stages at this location. While my friend and I wandered the premise we stumbled into a crowded room to find Dent May in the middle of his set. Minutes after stumbling into the room, "Best Friend" started to play, can you say perfect timing? Definitely.  
This was the finale for my SXSW adventure, and it couldn't have ended any better. Believe me when I say that these boys from Chicago tore Republic Live down. When they dropped "Flexin & Finessin" a track they produced for Iggy Azalea ft. Juicy J - it was game over for me. 

Now that I've been to Austin, I understand the hype about this amazing city in Texas. My experience was a great one, and if you haven't made your way here... definitely make plans to attend next year. Hope you guys enjoyed this lengthy post, and in case you didn't know - LET YOUR EARS DECIDE TURNED A YEAR OLD LAST WEEK! Thanks for the love and support on here & also on the Facebook page 

SXSW 2013: I came. I drank. I discovered. I left. 
P.S. Special thanks to SideCar for hooking up everyone in ATX with free rides all week!

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