One of the most anticipated times of the year is upon us again and we're not talking about the beginning of the AFL season. That's right, we're in Austin, TX for the annual smorgasbord of emerging music that is SXSW.
Touching down late Tuesday we had the red carpet rolled out by local legends Matt Hickey from High Road Touring and his wife Lisa. Things started the right way at fabled Mexican eatery Fonda San Miguel with the Spinning Top, EYOE and Lunatic Entertainment crews, including the fresh-off-the-Laneway-2015 tour Peter Bibby.
Musical highlight of the day was Songhoy Blues at Buffalo Billiards, where of course we also ate buffalo wings and played some highly competitive games of pool.
Our 5th annual Laneway party was on again/off again this year so after finally settling on hosting it there was a mad scramble to book a line-up two weeks out from SXSW. We were pleasantly surprised being able to secure one of the hotter line-ups in Austin this week and get an up close look at a bunch of killer acts in the intimate surroundings of Red 7.
Kate Tempest literally blew us away with her unique flavour of spoken word and hip hop. Moving stuff, so moving in fact an unnamed burly Scotsman in the audience was moved to tears. Raw, honest and overwhelmingly compelling; consider us big fans.
Other highlights included the charming indie stylings of Spring King and the electronic pop of Sweden-via-Australia's Kate Boy, whose latest single 'Higher' has been on our office playlist since its release. One-man band supremos Jack Garrett and East India Youth also knocked it out of the park delivering sets that won't be quickly forgotten and dazzling everyone with their technical prowess.
The indoor stage grew more and more face-melting as the day wore on. An epic back-to-back lineup of METZ, Girl Band and Viet Cong meant the queue to get into Red 7 quickly spiralled out of control and the folks inside were reaching for their earplugs. Massive shout out to the VC boys, they pushed through despite their drummer Mike suffering a suspected broken hand the night before and drumming one-armed.
Our new favourite fella Peter Bibby stopped by to play a couple of impromptu acoustic sets in the courtyard and had the audience in raptures with the best modern Australian story telling this side of Paul Kelly.
Wrapping up the Laneway showcase on the outdoor stage was Laneway 2015 almni Mansionair, followed by Son Lux. The record-label-sharing artists are at the forefront of the next wave of sophisticated electronic indie emerging from around the world and we can't wait to hear what they both have in store for their next releases.
Non-Laneway party music highlights included Leon Bridges -- transporting us to the halcyon days of classic soul/RnB, check out his track 'Coming Home' to get familiar -- and a quick stop at the Communion party at Blackheart Bar to catch Catfish and the Bottlemen and hang with our pals from the UK.