KVRX Fest 2019

Last weekend, we welcomed a new comer to the Red River Cultural District in the form of KVRX Fest. While KVRX has long been a staple in our Austin music scene, this was their first go round of a festival of sorts and they came in hot, booking 40 bands across two stages to tout the title of largest College Radio music festival. Brian and I served as emissaries for the ATH crew and ventured out for both Friday and Saturday of the festival. Follow the jump to see some excellent (as always) photos from B.Gray and some general thoughts on the first run of the fest.

Stand Out Performances

Omni, Omni, and I can’t stress this enough, OMNI. The headliner for Friday night and Atlanta natives brought their three piece act to the outside stage at Cheer Ups and completely killed it. They had the crowd dancing with their jangly indie rock and the intense delivery of front man, Philip Frobos, who sings his dead-pan parts with eyes wide and body moving. Even a small and good-vibes-only pit opened up towards the end of the set, everyone in front of the stage gently bumping into each other.

Local darlings Daphne Tunes brought their quiet bedroom pop / folk to full potential in the live setting–as Brian and I discussed, they can really jam it out with a 5 piece band and we love seeing them each and every time.

Street Sects ended my Friday night on an unusual, but deeply memorable, note–their loud industrial electro rock completely enshrouded (totally smoked out the inside of Cheer Ups) in fog really intensified the listening experience. For the first few songs, if you listened carefully, you could hear the nonstop hissing of fog machines expelling enough smoke to warrant a slight worry that the fire department would maybe show up. I may not have been able to see the band, or someone a foot in front of me, but this effect matched the dark music and made for a dance party of sorts.

Saturday we had the great back-to-back-to-back lineup of Caroline Says, Why Bonnie, and Blushing, all of which really killed it at Symphony Square, drew attention from street passerbys who lingered for more than a few songs, and made me very grateful to live in a city with such incredibly talented bands of various genres. Former Austin turned LA band Mamalarky served up some rock n roll vibes on the outside stage at Cheer Ups, Abhi The Nomad was a crowd pleaser with his rapid fire lines, live guitarist and great stage banter. Being Dead filled the inside of Cheer Ups with their simple surf-meets-metal quick tunes that are easy to jam along to.

General Thoughts

All in all, this was a pretty stellar two days of tunes that brought out the best of the Austin scene as well as some pretty solid touring acts. Sound was great on all three stages, and crowds filled in as the days turned to night. Symphony Stage was a nice place to chill out, refuel on some Torchy’s and sip a beer while you sit and watch bands across the moat, but the distance between artist and crowd and only seated crowd space made it feel maybe a little too chill at times for the youthful attendees.

Cheer Ups played host to their usual two stages as well as a few booths of sponsors to check out. For the low price, high quota of great bands, and small, intimate scale it was a lovely time and I’m hopeful that KVRX Fest will continue in the future. Several times a member of a band would step forward during the set and offer their own gratitude to the station, explaining how they used to work there during school and how they owed their group of friends or overall involvement in the music scene to KVRX, which was warm and reinforced the intimacy of our great scene. Well done, KVRX.

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