SXSW Top 10 Live Acts
Is anyone else just a little bit sad today as we wrap up another amazing SXSW Festival in Austin? I know we here at ATH are as depressed as anyone to head back into the real world today. Gone are the carefree days of roaming around downtown in search of the best music and the best parties with free red bull and vodka. While still nursing our hangovers and mending our bruises, we would like to share with you the best live acts that we caught this past week. You may have heard of most of these bands or they may be completely new to you, but regardless, these bands brought the noise at SXSW. We tried to be fair and pick the acts that either lived up to a certain hype or just rocked our faces to the floor. Follow the jump for our top 10 live acts of SXSW.
10. Black Joe Lewis
So we really needed a local act for this list and Black Joe just seemed like the obvious choice. We caught Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears at the outside stage of Paste’s Radio Room on the first day of music for SXSW. Of course the band rocked out and Black Joe did his best Little Richard/James Brown impersonation. If you still haven’t seen this band live, make a point to do so before the rest of the country picks up on the greatness. -RR
This one girl I knew told me that this little set was going to be ridiculously good, as she had seen them the day before. Skeptical, I sat back to watch the three piece bring their space-dance melodies to the decently sized audience at Emos. I couldn’t have agreed with my new friend more, as the band brought catchy tune after catchy tune to my Lone Star filled hands. -NL
8. Ruby Coast
We really love this band, which is precisely why we wanted them to play our showcase during their first ever venture below the Canadian border. Their combination of keyboard and catchy guitar had everyone in attendance dancing about the room with the band, and I do mean the band, as they jumped off stage to join the dancing, encouraging everyone to fall for our new favorite Canadians. -NL
We caught this band at Bill’s place (which turned out to be one of our favorite crazy SXSW venues) on Friday night after much debate about where to go. We were happy we found the venue and were even more excited about the solid lineup in Bill’s backyard. Highlight of the evening came from throwback to the 60s band Golden Animals. We were familiar with the band’s material prior to the show, but were excited that the band also delivered a nice live set. Golden Animals provide a bit of White Stripes guitar stylings along with some old school Jimi Hendrix wah pedal to produce a sweet garage/psych-rock sound. -RR
This band really should be higher up on the list, but seeing as I had no idea who they were, they didn’t quite make it to the top. I was resting, recovering in fashion from an absence of water in the system, and all of a sudden I was moved to my feet. The band resembled a more organic Arcade Fire, but their combination of electronics made the set all the more moving for me. Having only heard the name of this band before, I now consider them contenders for one of my favorite acts. -NL
5. M. Ward
To be honest, we weren’t terribly excited when we saw that M. Ward would be playing the Radio Room indoor stage without a backing band. Normally we want to be rocked out, not serenaded with just an acoustic guitar and some vocals. M. Ward may be one of the few artists who can create such a full sound and quiet an entire room of people with just his guitar. Somehow, the guy can create a full sound with bass, percussion and picking/strumming with just his guitar in hand. Raspy quiet vocals mixed in perfectly with M. Ward’s band like guitar work to create a truly incredible solo set. Who needs Zooey? -RR
I’ve seen this band many many times before, but they have a new drummer nowadays, not to mention a highly anticipated new album heading our way soon. They played a few new tracks, as well as a few oldies. Rocking fast and hard, as they always do, the band blew through their set. The new drummer sounded great, and I made friends with the energetic MTV legend John Norris as we played dual air guitars through the entire lightning paced set. Thanks for being my friend John. -NL
This band has been lauded as the next big thing all across the land of the blog, but I never really bought my ticket to the hype show. However, I just bought one this past week because this was by and large one of the best shows that I saw, the second best to be exact. The blend of classic psychedelia with pristine pop elements and feedback made this band everything they had promised to become, or bloggers had promised. Just add them to the list of bands who will be releasing highly anticipated albums this year. -NL
I can only go on about this band for so much longer before you all get sick and tired of hearing about them, but seriously, have you heard this album? It’s amazing, and it was just as amazing live. While I would have liked for the female vocals to go up a bit live, I still enjoyed the fact that their sound trasnferred perfectly to the live setting, and they seemed rather jovial to boot. Everything I had hoped for with regards to this band came my way, and my ears and heart were better off for it. -NL
GO SQUARE GO! If you didn’t feel that shit hit you right in the face at Mohawk on Thursday, you better check to make sure you’re alive. Glasvegas are winners of the award for most hyped band that really produced at SXSW. We’ve been hyping this band so much since last summer that we were sure we’d be let down by this show. Not the case. Glasvegas showed up and packed raw emotion and tight musicianship into a sweat soaked and intense set. Most in attendance said that the Scotish boys stole the show from the true headliners of the day Trail of Dead and ATH can’t disagree with that. Even better, lead singer James nabbed an ATH sticker from us and flashed it while walking off stage (anybody get a pic?) completely exhausted from being a rock star. Please come back to Austin and give us a proper show sometime soon. Here we fucking go. -RR
So obviously we only went to free shows so we missed out on Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, etc. We just couldn’t be everywhere at once so shoot us a comment on what band we left off. Who impressed you the most?