For those who aren’t in the know, SXSW is a conference in Austin, TX. It’s a place where folks in the technology, film, comedy, and music worlds come together and share ideas. The music portion is the primary reason why I come down, because it gives you an opportunity to see a large amount of music, often crossing dozens of genres, all in intimate venues all across town. This year, I feel like I “took it easy” and managed to see 32 different bands during the week (I saw Lizzo and Bleached both perform twice. You’d want to, too, if given the chance).
Without further ado, here are my thoughts on all 32 bands that I saw, in venues ranging from a donut shop to a lakeside amphitheater.
Kitten are, hands down, one of the top 10 live bands I’ve ever seen. Frontwoman Chloe Chaidez is the most fearless woman I’ve ever seen take to the stage. Sometimes I’m amazed that she is still alive, considering the type of torture she puts her body through on stage. This is their first time in the Bay Area since the release of their first full length record (after three excellent EPs). Their eponymous debut is a fun collection of synth pop songs with infectious hooks, and I highly recommend it. Although the live show is really the bread & butter with this band.
There’s always that one show you always kick yourself for missing. In the span of our lifetimes, some end up more important than others. Yes I still kick myself for missing that second night of Portishead at The Warfield back in 1998. Oh, I’ll catch them next time they come around I said. No big deal I said. 10 years and another Portishead show later, I vowed not to make the same mistake.
In 2009, Still Light, Still Night was one of my top 5 records of the year. They played Bimbo’s and what did I do? Lazy Raffi took over for some reason that night, and I laid still. Oh, I would see them next time. What idiot misses three girls playing three keyboards! Four years later I wasn’t going to miss that opportunity again.
Yes. Lionel Richie. Everyone needs to see Lionel Richie before they day. I saw him in Austin a last year, and he killed with a high energy, two hour set that started at 11:30 at night. Every song is a classic, and he’s one of the finest performers out there. There is nothing more fun you could do this night than dance all night long. (all night)
Paramore’s “brand new eyes” was a one of the best albums of 2009. It was a glorious peace of emotionally dynamic guitar rock. However, I didn’t know how deep those emotions ran until learning that half the band left during the tour for the record. It required Paramore to take stock if itself, and managed to take four years to produce a follow up. What we got was one of their most aggressive and ferocious record to date.
There is never any reason to do anything other than Treasure Island Music Festival if you are in town the weekend of said festival. It is the best music festival in America. Of course, you should read this for maximum enjoyment! The best part is that there is no overlap. So you don’t need to decide between Animal Collective and Sleigh Bells or Tricky and Atoms For Peace. It’s the best value for your festival dollar.
I bet you forgot about The Sounds. They’ve put out several wonderful records filled with Blondie-inspired dance rock, and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping. Just because radio station programmers have decided to stop getting behind these wonderful Swedes doesn’t mean you should. I think you should be shaking your booty at The Fillmore tonight, because Mondays are hard, so your Monday night should be pure bliss.
It’s official. There are now more original Beach Boys touring with Brian Wilson than touring in the actual Beach Boys. This show is, essentially, an extension of last year’s epic Beach Boys reunion tour, only instead of Mike Love, we’ve got guitar legend Jeff Beck. Which means that this show might actually be better than last year’s tour.
This is what my street looks like today. Waiting on the results of the Mehserle trial. A little scared.
Well, I’m sitting in my apartment in downtown Oakland, looking outside, waiting for all hell to break loose. And, if the entire city doesn’t burn to a crisp tonight, I’m going to check out some of these shows!