SXSW recap – all the rest

Last week I was lucky enough to go to SXSW for Alt AZ. As the stations music director I believe it’s important to see bands live. It really helps me to figure out if a band has what it takes to be on Alt AZ. Some of the stand out performances were from ,Iggy Pop, Barns Courtney, Kaleo, and Lewis Del Mar. I’ve already dug into Day 1 (Wednesday) and Day 2 (Thursday), in previous blogs. So lets get into Day 3 (Friday) and Day 4 (Saturday). I apologize for not being a very good at this blogging thing in advance.

The day kicked off with a quick breakfast meet up with a bunch of other radio people. From there we went to hear some new songs off of Beck’s new album!!! Yes! Beck’s new album that is coming out in 2016… they hinted a single might even drop by May/June. One of the songs we heard was called “wow”, and it is what I was like to call a visual song. The reason I say this is because it literally gave me strong visuals. Just do a google image search on burning man. When you look through the images you will see larger than life words sitting in the middle of the playa, art cars, fire, people in vibrant outfits, and so much more. Burning man can bring together a series of images that don’t feel like they shouldn’t belong together but somehow out on the playa they all make sense. The point is “wow,” made me visualize that. The lyrics, the slide whistle…. oh you are going to love that slide whistle, the peaks and valleys in the song, it is a musical adventure. We did get to listen to another Beck song which was a bit more of the traditional “Beck sound” but “wow” was the track that really left an impression. I did try to explain my visual experience to some of his management but they might have thought I was nuts. Burning Man is very hard to explain to people that haven’t been…. anyway, I digress. After listening to those new beck tracks we were off to a panel in the convention center about the state of alternative radio. This is all industry stuff and I won’t bore you with it. My cliff notes version of it is hits are important, some people really miss “heavier” guitars, and mostly people forget that all the great alternative songs end up on top 40. I listened to nirvana and green day on top 40 when I was growing up. After that I went off on my own to see some unsigned bands, watch some street musicians, and get some pizza. Then I met back up with the radio friends and had a fascinating conversation with Barns Courntney about the non-traditional instruments in his song “Glitter & Gold.” Next up was Lewis Del Mar… they were one of the big surprises to me at SXSW. They were really good live and I pushed my way all the way to the front. I suspect this band is going to gain a lot of fans on the road. You’re probably going to hear or have heard Alt J comparisons, the single Loud(y) definitely has that vibe, but after seeing them live I realized they are truly their own pretty freakin amazing thing. The lead singer has swagger and his harmonies with the keyboardist were fantastic. Check out their song Wave(s), it’s much less “alt J.” After Lewis Del Mar, was a 10 minute pedicab ride to see The Kills. Their new songs they played were absolutely on the next level. It’s as if the fire inside Alison has only gotten bigger, brighter, and stronger. Then we hopped another pedicab, narrowly missed getting soaked in the storm, and took some time to grab some food. I attempted to see Grace Mitchell, but her set was cancelled due to the rain. So more walking followed, some line waiting, and then Haelos. If you like the XX, you will probably like Haelos. From there I went to the reverbnation party to see some unsigned musicians and a chick who I am calling mini BANKS. She probably would hate that comparison and I’m sorry, but she does remind me of BANKS and she kind of looks like her too. After that it was pretty much game over for me… SXSW can really kick your ass.

This day was much shorter as I had to leave on a flight that afternoon and I’m not sure I would’ve survived another full day. Adulting while Concerting is a lot. LOL. But I did manage to squeeze in some pretty awesome bands. First up was Riot Horse Royal from LA. Their back and forth style of singing was captivating. From there it was a pedicab ride to Kaleo, who was by far and away the highlight of the day. This band is going to do big, huge, household name type of things. At least that’s the feeling I got after seeing them live. The front guy’s vocals are butter. His voice has the power to reach into you and touch your soul. I’m not joking. But Kaleo is so much more than the voice, they got the crowd into their set, they brought soul to their set, and they brought real guitar playing to their set. It was truly awesome. Then we were back on a pedicab headed to see Blondefire, I hadn’t seen them in about 2 years and they managed to upped their stage presence significantly. Closing it all out before the rush to the airport were The Strumbellas acoustic. It was a nice way to wind things down before venturing back into the real world where there aren’t bands playing all day and all night. After all of that awesome sleeping was the most important thing left on the to do list, and sleeping in on a Sunday never felt better.

Thanks for reading…. check some snapchat video proof below. Follow me at “christytime” – XoXo CT