Happy Tuesday. I am in a dazed sort of fuzzy state, having gone to the mega-est music festival ever, SXSW, from Wed-Sat. I am extremely privileged that I get to go there as part of my job, which is pretty amazing. When I go, my priorities are 1) meet up with bands and artists we work with and see them play, 2) meet up with friends and people that I work with and hang out, 3) check out great new bands, and 4) go with the flow.
There a bazillion things going on at once so you kind of just have to let the festival come to you, rather than the other way around. I never really check out the biggest artists because that's not the reason I'm there (although it is pretty amazing for fans that you can see some huge artists in small venues). I meet up with artists I work with and also check out tons of new acts. There's so much to take in.
Here are some artists that I really enjoyed checking out, in no particular order. This is not an exhaustive list, I saw many other good artists but I can't list everyone! Some of these artists I know personally but trust me that I am including only performances that really were solid:
This guy absolutely killed it in this big warehouse full of people who were there to see Arab Muzik. I had bought a 12" of his a long time back and thought he fell off. I was wrong, he really renewed my faith in live hip hop shows; the recorded music does not do justice to his live show. Also his hype man is amazing.
This dance-rock outfit is extremely talented and puts on a great performance. Passionate is probably the best description. Also the songs have a really strong structure to them, there's some real attention to detail.
This is an electronic/vocal act, although live they play with 2 drummers. Just a great time, they go all out and know how to rock a party. I had never heard of them before seeing them there.
These guys are a San Francisco-based two piece, saw them at the Android party, they sounded great, perfect band to see during the day. The singer Adam Stephens really has a unique voice and they generally capture an audience's attention. They can go from folk to hard rock in an instant, and sound like a full band. The emphasis on lyrics and storytelling is refreshing.
This duo was ridiculous. I randomly caught their set and it was amazing, the way they can move the crowd is sensational. The video doesn't quite give you the real flavor of their music and live show, although it's a good start. Apparently they got a lot of press for this song because it played on loop at Paris Fashion Week. Go figure. I'm happy for them.
This is another San Francisco band, they just have a really great brand of bluesy rock and roll. Also everyone in their band plays multiple instruments and sings and they switch off on each song. They are extremely tight live and put on a good show.
Reid Speed is a bass/dubstep/drum n bass DJ, of which there are a lot right now, but she has been doing this for a long time and rocked the party. Not exactly what I listen to in my spare time but in the right setting with the right sound system, it's phenomenal.
Kush (DJ/Producer) is a great friend of mine but I had never seen him perform with Brazilian/Brooklyn vocalist Zuzuka Ponderosa. Some international baile funk goodness, the live show is worth seeing. I hope they get to do some serious touring together, they played about 9 shows out in Austin! Kush Arora has a deep catalog in his own right, some innovative stuff.
Experimental pop is how they describe themselves. I guess it makes sense. They were good. Apparently they recently added a female singer/multi-instrumentalist to the group. Having never seen or heard them before, it was hard to compare, but she was awesome. They are on this record label called hometapes, which provided free nachos at their party. Hard to lose me with free nachos. But I digress.
Couldn't find a way to link the video but check out their site, tons of stuff on there.
Many of you probably know these guys, Oakland hip hop at its finest, coming from the Quannum crew. But neither group has really played consistently together for the past 4-5 years. I caught some of both their sets. Freaking amazing. Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Lyrics Born are lyrical geniuses...and they were all ON POINT.
Here's the new Latyrx single: http://soundcloud.com/latyrx/latyrx-call-to-arms
Classic Blackalicious track -
This Mexican indie-rock/pop outfit was pretty adorable. Solid music too. One of the things I love about SXSW is randomly seeing bands you never heard of and had no expectation of seeing, and liking them.
If you have never seen a metal band, or a Japanese metal band (or as they describe themselves, a brutal orchestra that turns classical music into metal), you should definitely come out tonight to the Independent in San Francisco and see Vampillia. I think the ZZZ's (Japanese girl punk band) are touring with them. Let me say that seeing Vampillia for 15 minutes at SXSW was life changing. Go! Tonight!!! Their live show is indescribably amazing.
Which brings us to Japan, and OPENING DAY right around the corner!
Dump your links, and please do share other bands/artists/tunes!