top 5 shows at SXSW
After a grueling week at SXSW Interactive, I had to stay around to catch the Music portion of SXSW. My buddy Hosey flew in from Wheaton to join me and Sally for a week of music. It was so evident that the crowd had changed dramatically as Interactive came to a close and the shows started up. The nerd population declined and there was an evident influx of Brooklynites and hipsters alike. I can’t say I welcomed the change with open arms as I was just growing accustomed to running into mobs of startup folk at Interactive but the music made it all worth it.
I think it’s fair to say that the Hype Hotel was one of the hottest venues at SXSW. The line was crazy every night. Sally and I were fortunate enough to snag Industry passes from our lovely friends at the Hype Machine. Thanks, guys! Oh yes, this meant that we queued up in the VIP line with the fancy music industry folks. It saved us a ton of waiting time.
We didn’t see everyone that we wanted to see, including The Shins, M. Ward, Of Montreal, and Waterville natives, Black Taxi. However, of the bands that we saw, here is my top 5:
I’ve always liked Chairlift and I knew that they would kill it at SXSW but their show at the Eventbrite Arcade Party was easily my favorite show of the week. I think a lot of it had to do with the venue, an old converted auto garage with a relatively small capacity (~200 max). She seemed so into the show and it was a really great crowd.
We saw Tennis perform at the Stage on Sixth, where he had gone to see Apparat and to our surprise, Tennis went on shortly after. Tennis is a husband/wife duo from Denver and they are amazing. Stage on Sixth was a pretty small venue and they sounded great.
We caught Fanfarlo twice, once at the Hype Hotel and the other time at the Brooklyn Vegan party, which was an outdoor venue. They are a London-based band. Sally was familiar with them but I had never heard them before the show. I really dig Fanfarlo and I’m definitely looking forward to jamming to them in the future.
We saw Brooklyn-based Friends at the Hype Hotel and their lead vocalist, Samantha Urbani, was incredibly entertaining, pulling her friends up on stage from the audience and just being quirky in general. Stereogum named them a “Band to Watch” and described them as “ESG-style polyrhythmic post-disco on a tropical-pop trip, with some Lykke Li in the mix.”
- Saint Motel
Sally and I were walking down the street to catch a show and I heard “Puzzle Pieces” playing from outside of a tiny bar. We obviously checked it out and caught Saint Motel playing in front of a crowd of less than 50 in true SXSW form. Although, we only caught Puzzle Pieces, it still made my top 5 of the week.
So there you have it, my top 5 shows of SXSW. We did see Miike Snow that week at the Hype Hotel but I have to say that I wasn’t impressed. Animals was solid but they seemed tired and unenthusiastic about playing. Needless to say, you should just check out the aforementioned bands in my top 5 and even try to catch them live.