Given the huge news we'd been bottling up for months with the intention of unleashing on March 15, we were understandably pretty excited about heading to Austin to stage our third annual SXSW party! Last year's SXSW party was a hoot but we had a different agenda in 2013; celebrating the launch of Laneway Festival into North America, and more specifically, Detroit.
The line-up at Red 7 was all class and featured amazing artists from all corners of the globe including a number of standout Aussie acts. We were chuffed to have ALPINE and Flume gracing the Laneway stages again after their killer performances at Laneway Festival in Australia only a couple of weeks earlier, along with up-and-coming Melbourne singer-songwriter Vance Joy.
NO CEREMONY/// followed on the indoor stage and the British three-piece didn't disappoint the early arrivers with their dark electronic vibes: check out the video for 'Heartbreaker' to get an idea of what we're talking about. Following on from this Vance Joy demanded attention with that wonderful voice of his, and even though XXYYXX was running 30 minutes late for his performance he was able to play a shortened set that really showed us what all the hype us about!Kicking off festivities were the folk-tastic duo Blessed Feathers, the Wisonsin based group eased us into what was going to be a massive day of sounds, sun and crowds. Next up we had the very dreamy Guards, we fell love in love with their sublimely catchy hit 'Ready To Go' earlier this year and they had no trouble delivering the goods live.
ALPINE, with their highly energetic dual vocalists leading the way, brought the heat to an already steamy Austin afternoon, while Flume was building 'em up and knocking 'em down on the indoor stage with tracks such as 'Holdin' On' and 'Sleepless'. We're really excited about all the new Australian talent coming through right now!
What a lovely surprise HAERTS turned out to be, their Fleetwood Mac stylings were a big hit with the Red 7 crowd. Veterans, at least in comparison to some of the other acts on the bill, Merchandise played their own brand of Florida-tinged psychadelia and were perfectly suited to the warm Texan afternoon. The new Merchandise record Totale Nite is getting some solid reviews, it's one worth checking out.
Brooklyn rockers Parquet Courts had a healthy buzz throughout SXSW so it was a big highlight witnessing their firebrand live show first hand. Tracks such as 'Stoned and Starving' from last year's Light Up Your Gold LP were even more insane with 400 up-for-it peeps vibing along. Palma Violets were also super impressive, the British upstarts already have the hits - triple j have given singles 'Step Up For The Cool Cats' and 'Best Of Friends' a royal flogging - and we're pleased to report that the live show is equally as good.
Headlining act CHVRCHES have unleashed a slew of quality electro-pop singles to date - see 'Recover', 'The Mother We Share' and 'Lies' for reference points - and with a bursting at the seems venue reaching fever pitch, the Scottish three-piece took the stage and blew everyone away. Taking out best developing non-US act at SXSW is further validation that CHVRCHES are going to deliver big things in the very near future. If you're not across their current output, what are you waiting for?