About Last Night – Thursday, March 16th @ SXSW

Your ATH crew made it out once again into the madness of SXSW festival for a whopping 6th straight day out and about. We cut things a tad bit short due to the incoming weather issues, but we still managed to fit in a solid day of music and fun. As we’ve been doing, each of us will offer a few highlights plus our overall thoughts on what went down. All of that plus some fancy photos after the jump.

RayRay’s Top Bands

Blondshell – The Ballroom stage at the convention center always has impeccable sound and this set truly highlighted how full and clear things can come across with the right set up. It may have been a tad phoned in and not super exciting, but one of the most hyped bands this week did deliver with a tight and well executed radio day time set. Blondshell is one of the busiest bands this week so make sure to add them to your list for today and tomorrow.

Natural Lines – Matt Pond has long been someone I’ve admired and appreciated for his hard work and continued output of thoughtful and emotionally powerful material. His new band played one of their “2nd or 3rd ever live shows” inside at Valhalla and everyone in the crowd thought surely they’d been together for years. We even got a couple Matt Pond PA tunes with “Love to Get Used” and “Still Summer” to round out a set of material from the stellar new self-titled LP.

Teenage Joans – Easily the best stage banter of the week come from this young Australian duo also inside at Valhalla. Between some gnarly guitar riffs with some of the best screaming vocals I’ve heard in awhile, the band joked about hating wine, wanting to see armadillos, and never having said “gooday mate” once in their life. Definitely a surprise find for the day.

RayRay’s Random Thoughts

Thursday was a day to sort of explore things outside of your typical big venue and seek out lesser known bands like the ones at Valhalla or Long Play East. If I had one recommendation for today, I’d suggest steering clear of the big parties downtown and check out some solid lineups at The Ballroom or maybe check out our pals from Graveface Records doing a show and pop up at Kitty Cohens. Things are starting to get busy in Austin friends so make sure you are staying safe, positive and well hydrated throughout today and tomorrow. Crowds will look to be sizeable and rowdy into the weekend so don’t do anything stupid. And after a muggy and gross day weather wise, it looks like we’ll be back to some lovely, cooler things today.

Nathan’s Top Bands

Alien Tango – Imagine if David Bowie decided that he was into the Levitation/psychedelic scene. That’s what you get from this act, with a whole lot of solid entertainment from the frontperson. It’s like space-age crooner pop with a true willingness to push the boundaries of getting weird.

Constant Smiles – I’ve been on a rock n’ roll kick the last few months, so this band was a perfect little calm in the storm of rock shows. The melodies set you in a relaxed mood, whilst still bending into the more expansive elements that make up the band’s catalog.

Nathan’s Random Thoughts

I’ll admit to myself that I’m on the verge of getting too old for this. I’ve been out and about doing 12 hour plus days since last Saturday, so having a place to chill or a band to give some respite is perfect. That’s why I loved Constant Smiles, giving me a little rest from the barrage of reverb and feedback. So, be sure to put something in your schedule that’s either down time to hydrate and chill, or offer a hugely different vibe. Gotta find something that hits different, you know. Be safe out there and bundle up.

BGray’s Top Bands

Abracadabra and Foyer Red get extra credit for bringing the instruments on the road that normally don’t make it. There is something nice about bongos triangles, omnichords, clarinets and chimes that take the edge off the day. I will echo Ryan’s sentiment that the sets played by National Lines and Teenage Joans were very good for reasons noted. Teenage Joans in particular, they totally set us up. We’re lounging in the back, being snarky, as we do, and just as we joke about their mentioning that they are from Australia repeatedly, they hit us with a [paraphrasing] “yeah, we keep saying we’re from Australia, but it’s just because we’re catching up the new people in the room.” Perfect banter, well played, 10/10 no notes.

BGray’s Random Thoughts

Take breaks, take care of yourself. The dreaded festival lung (not covid) has me momentarily on the sideline, but getting ready to get back in the game. Take a Covid test if you feel like crap. Be polite and not cough on your neighbors.

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