Your friendly neighborhood ATH staff members have emerged from SXSW week and I think we’re all finally ready to reminiscence on what transpired. As we’ve done in the past, it seems like a perfect time to hand out some awards for the festival with superlatives that we made up like 5 minutes ago. Keep in mind we saw a lot of bands, had a bit to drink, and ventured out to more venues than we can possibly remember. So buckle up, hit the jump and see who we deemed worthy and deserving of our very prestigious awards.
Our friends, The Spook School have been on tour with Great Grandpa and Diet Cig. Winter tours can be fickle things, especially if you run through the southwest, shorts and a t-shirt to parkas and snow boots. In speaking with the band’s spokesperson, aka Niall, he shared a few tour anecdotes as he was warming up pre-set in his customary vest and boxer shorts. House party shows, sold out gigs, long runs cross country, actually paying rent while on the road, things are on the up for the band. We are huge fans and love their songs, their message and their shows. Though The Spook School played first, they were our headliners.
Click through for pics of the set and some notes on the bands sharing the stage…
I don’t hide my love for Night Drive. They are friends and good people. They are fans of photographers here in Austin and the photographers are fans of theirs. +1 and I were long overdue for a date night/dance party.
Agenda: Empire for Emme, Moving Panoramas and Night Drive. Click through for a few thoughts from the evening along with a gallery ripe of fam.
Blushing‘s latest EP, WEAK, was released to the public last Friday and with it, we had an excuse to take over a venue and feature some favorite bands to celebrate. Cheer Up Charlies played host via The Nothing Song who added Ringo Deathstarr, Single Lash and All In The Golden Afternoon to fill the before and after spots.
I focused on spending time with friends, so the gallery is very Blushing-centric, but it was the EP’s brithday party.
Click through to view some scenery…
Free Week is great. The concept of having people fill venues so bartenders and stage crews have a little cash in their pockets is totally a get-behind theme. Now, my epic level of cynicism that creeps in from time to time means that I will give the evil eye to anyone mad about one-in-one-out at a venue. These bands are playing all over town, all year long and sometimes opening for a touring band you would think is too expensive to go see. #value Let’s go, Austin, spend that twelve bucks.
My Free Week rant is over. Let’s get on to some notables and photos. A. Sinclair is a constant fave for rock and or roll. Abram Shook lends credibility to any music catalog. That performance had two-thirds of Feverbones; they are wicked excited for the new record, naturally so are we. Tres Oui‘s invisible bass player had a killer set (#sarcasm). Space-sparse of Soft Healer was a reset. I got to see The Infinites at Beerland as a full band. I do miss a little of the DIY nature of looping to fill sounds, but the layered gazy post punk sounded really rad with guitars filling the room. Fave thing of the time I spent Red Rivering.
Peep the gallery. I spent time taking photos of friends and the people that make Free Week go. I even used a flash. Crazy right?
I love y’all.
Bauhaus was a genre defining band. BUT, it was Love and Rockets, Bauhaus minus one Peter Murphy, that I really fanned out about. And then, Tone On Tail, Love and Rockets minus one David J., that created and whole new thing to one-up friends. The curious case where a group minus a member could improve or be a complete thing unto itself was on full display last Thursday night at The Mohawk when Poptone, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins with Haskins’s daughter Diva Dompe, brought songs to life that I never thought I would get to see live. The fuzzed out basslines, the distant nearly monotone vocal, the ringing twelve-string or echoed out saxophone – this was as important a show to me as Belle and Sebastian would be to Nathan.
Click through for the rest of my thoughts and so many pics of not just Poptone, but the opener Geneva Jacuzzi and her girl in the bubble performance. …and holy crap it was cold.
We interviewed Cloud Nothings several years back during Fun Fun Fun Fest, six whole years back, and several albums ago. They were a highlight, winning best drummer award, as I recall.
I last saw Japandroids open for Iggy Pop. That was pretty nuts. They even knew they were speed-bump on the way to the spectacle.
Click through for a few thoughts and the photos.
We all shed a tear when we learned that Sound On Sound was cancelled. We have a lot of good friends that put so much effort into making this year’s festival amazing, a quantum leap over last year.nnWe will not debate the valor of their efforts to save the festival or lament the missed opportunity of seeing Iggy Pop surrounded by a Ren Fair here.
The thing we may not understand about the festival circuit is that bands are on tour and need to use the festivals to home base around a few stops nearby before and after. Knowing this, the SoS team was able to schedule a few makeup shows to accommodate the travelers. One such show was for Lindstrom, a guy from Norway that was travelling a long way to hang with us. This set was high on my list for standing in a field with friends vibing. We replace the open spaces and axe-throwing for the friendly confines of Cheer Up Charlie’s.
Hopefully, you know the feeling you get when you are on a good team, when all types of different people come together and get things done. Now, my fellow Austin music photographers weren’t shooting for the same outlet. In fact, we mostly compete for your views, but the reality is that each in the group takes care of the other. Whether it is an extra water, pepto tabs, pickle run or a spare memory card, it makes festival life awesome. Truly talented and happy to have them as colleagues and, more importantly, friends. When the Sound on Sound announcement landed, we were crushed, not just for the organizers, but also to lose that chance to just be together all doing what we love.
…and bitching about something the whole way.
Today’s gallery features Deap Vally, Melat, Middle Kids, Charlotte Cardin, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Whitney, Caitlyn Smith, DRAM, First Aid Kit, Run The Jewels, Portugal. The Man and Gorillaz.
I got photo coverage started with a little gallery in our ACL Weekend One Recap. For me, Weekend One was all about the head down grind of chasing photos. Modern problems, I know, but it is hustling from pit to pit, sweating, lining up to make sure you gain access, attempting to keep everything clean enough and not have dirt ruin “the shot” and not having a panic attack knowing you have three songs to get it all right. It is a strange way to take in a music festival, often oblivious to the actual music as sensory depravation takes over and you enter a tunnel through the viewfinder.
…and loving every minute of it.
The Friday edition includes The Wild Now, Methyl Ethel, (Sandy) Alex G, The Aces, Hamilton Leithauser, Mutemath, Crystal Castles, Lukas Nelson, Bonobo and The XX.