Another crazy week of SXSW in Austin, TX is done and dusted for 2014 and we feel we covered the three Bs sufficiently -- bands, beer and BBQ -- to the point it's now time to live on kale salads for the next month.
Some of the highlights included seeing Banks, The Preatures, Arthur Beatrice and Glass Animals on the same bill at Haven where, sound issues aside, we saw the making of some star performers. Other highlights were the stunning performances by St. Vincent at Stubb's BBQ, Norway's Highasakite at Parish and smooth talking hip-hopper Vic Mensa at the Complex party. And Jerome can't stop banging on about the crazy 17 act hip-hop extravaganza he witnessed on the outskirts of the city headlined by Joey Fatts.
2014 saw us hosting our fourth annual SXSW party, this time at a new venue on 7th Street called Holy Mountain. Kicking things off was the undeniable Kirin J Callinan. Anyone who saw Kirin's set at Laneway Festival around Australia earlier this year knows what an engaging live performer he is and he brought the heat to Holy Mountain with tracks such as 'Victoria M'.
As Kirin J was sizzling on the indoor stage, The Creases were getting the day started outside. We've fallen hard for the Brisbane four-piece's insanely catchy jangly-pop numbers and all signs point to a successful SXSW campaign for these chaps. Expect to see and hear more from them in the very near future.
Castlemaine's D.D Dumbo and London's Tourist were up next on the interchanging indoor/outdoor set up and both impressed immeasurably. D.D for his looping prowess and soulful vocals that had the audience swooning with tracks like 'Tropical Oceans', and Tourist for opening his set with his killer CHVRCHES remix and bringing the house-vibes early to get the place jumping, jumping.
SOHN, whose debut record doesn't drop for another couple of weeks, impressed with the angelic vocals and sound production he's quickly gaining a reputation for. Be sure to wrap your eardrums around 'Artifice' and get up to speed if you're not familiar. And the Jordan Lee fronted Mutual Benefit harmonised their way into our hearts as the six-piece crew nailed rousing renditions of tracks from their latest record, Love's Crushing Diamond.
We knew we had some high energy acts still to come on the outdoor stage but nothing can prepare one's psyche for the force that is Bo Ningen. We're still talking about the Japanese four-piece acid punk band's set -- get an idea of what we're talking about here. An act one must experience live, be prepared for some of the most insane hair-flailing / face-pulling manouvers you're likely to witness. Heading indoors, we'd been eagerly anticipating The Range's set as Metal Swing was one of our favourite records of 2013 and we're happy to report he didn't disappoint. Expect big things.
There's really no words to describe Fat White Family so we'll simply use one... mental. The band do an impressive job of summoning up the feral electric skronk blues of The Birthday Party then twisting and distorting it into their own magical brew of offensively awesome punk-rock. It was all over after six songs but what a ride. Be sure to listen to latest single 'Touch The Leather'.
Just as the madness outside was ending we had Forest Swords, visuals and all, bringing the electronic goodness inside. Forest Swords' debut record Engravings received unanimous praise from critics and fans alike upon its release in 2013 so rest assured the English two-piece, led by Matthew Barnes, is well worth your time.
One of the true highlights of not only the Laneway Festival party, but SXSW in general, were Eagulls. The Leeds act are a high intensity post-punk mix of early Clash meets Dinosaur Jr. and mesmerised the packed but intimate crowd as front-man George Mitchell delivered a performance that his vocal chords barely withstood. Watch Eagulls' video for 'Tough Luck' and you'll know what we mean.
Glass Animals were rock solid nailing of-the-moment blog hits 'Gooey' and 'Psylla' with perfect precision. And speaking of perfect, Perfect Pussy (pictured at top of recap) closed out the day's event with the distorted vocals and ramshackle brilliance we'd been hearing so much about. PP are guaranteed to please so be sure to give their critically acclaimed new record Say Yes To Love a few spins.
Thanks to everyone who made it down. We're now busy working our way through the initial offers for Laneway Festival 2015. We're proper excited about next year's festival already. Game on!