SXSW is a fantastic hodgepodge of musical insanity and mass hysteria that could only happen in Austin. And yes, it's hands down my favorite weekend of the year.
Unfortunately I have yet to experience the entire week of music but at least I was able to shove a full schedule of amazing acts into one long weekend.
A late start and inevitable traffic hell on 35 put me into Austin a bit later than planned, but I got to kick off the trip with an interview with the ridiculously talented Hey Marseilles at Maggie Mae's. Check out the interview HERE!
|Matt of Hey Marseilles|
At 6pm most of the official showcases shut down to prepare for the next onslaught of shows that start at 7pm. Of course there is constantly music playing from every crack of downtown Austin but we used the time to fuel up on some food truck goodness and made our way to St. David's Bethell Hall to check out one of my favorite singers, Tori Kelly.
It was a weekend of firsts and I can now say I've watched some pretty kick ass bands right in the comfort of a front row pew. St. David's is a beautiful Episcopal church right in the heart of downtown and it was packed full of people waiting to check out the long list of bands playing that night. I was the most excited to see American Idol alum and YouTube sensation Tori Kelly.
This chick is ridiculous!! Not only are her vocals utterly flawless but at such a young age she's already made a name for herself not just because of Idol, but because of her self made recordings written and produced right out of the comfort of her bedroom.
So we (my lovely husband and trusty camera man) reserved our spots an hour out from Tori's set and just in time to to be completely floored, surprised, enchanted (dot dot dot) by the Brooklyn based duo Lucius.
I love going in completely cold to a band and leaving a fan. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig walked on the stage decked out in matching peplum dresses and two fierce top knots. Fashion aside, as soon as they opened their mouths I was hooked.
Their melodies and vocal harmonies were so in sync at times it was hard to tell there were two voices singing. The band was equally amazing and filled the church from pew to pew. At the end the group played a final song in the aisles bringing everyone to their feet and camera's flashing from every corner of the room. It was truly a unique experience and one I won't forget.
After Lucius I moved up even closer to the stage in anticipation of Tori Kelly. After almost a 20 minute wait the lights dimmed and well, Tori Kelly did not walk out on stage. Something's to be said about SXSW...there will always be one of your favorite bands playing on top of another favorite band of yours, and you will inevitably sit in the wrong venue before realizing you've royally effed up. So after realizing our mistake we quickly headed to the proper venue only to find out she just stepped off the stage. A brief moment of insane sadness and panic was replaced by the chance to meet the adorable young superstar. And thanks to YouTube I'll be able to relive a few songs from her set.
After collecting myself from the disappointment we hopped on our bikes (yes, the only way to explore SXSW - screw walking) and headed to Bar 96 for the Filter party featuring Phosphorescent and Metz.
Keeping with the chill vibe of the evening Indie Folk band Phosphorescent locked the attention of the crowd with tunes spanning over the last 10 years of music including their latest release, Muchacho.
Going from Phosphorescent to Metz was like being punched in the face. Quite the extreme on the musical spectrum that left me a little confused as to why they were paired next to each other. But hey, that's SXSW and reason number 5,665 why this is my favorite weekend of the year.
Metz is made up of Canadian natives Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies and Chris Slorach. When I made my way up to the front, right in front of the speaker, Matt looked at me and said "you might want to back off the speaker a little bit...they play pretty hard." Pretty hard?? From the first strum of the bass and bang of the drums "playing pretty hard" became the understatement of the century. These guys will rock your face off.
I'm not usually into screaming vocals but I was blown away by the sheer ability of Alex Edkins and his gorgeous scream. I literally could not pull my ears away. Once the moshing started...of course there would be moshing...Alex in an almost sweet tone acknowledged the crowd, "I'm all about dancing but please respect each other." Dancing? Yep that's what he called it! I love these guys. So after banging my head around a few times we decided to make our way over to the band I was looking forward to seeing the most, Toro Y Moi!
Margarita in hand we settled down at The North Door for the final two shows of the night. Cloud Nothings, another hard rocking Indie band from Cleveland, Ohio kept the energy alive for their late midnight set.
|Toro Y Moi|
After a full day of travel and music I was the most stoked about South Carolina born, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi.
|Toro Y Moi|
Easily one of my favorite albums of the year Anything in Return has been a staple in my daily music rotation since it's release in January of this year. I couldn't have picked a better group to close out Friday's festivities.
|Toro Y Moi|
|Toro Y Moi|
Great day and amazing night! Thanks Austin!