SXSW

SXSW 2014 Recap

By Will Oliver, March 22nd 2014

Chromeo

It’s rather unfortunate that SXSW 2014 will be remembered for the unforgivable actions of one fool. The lives lost as well as those who were left injured in the accident is a truly horrific tragedy that cast a dark shadow over what was supposed to be a fun – and safe – festival. I hadn’t commented on the accident prior to this, but I just wanted to say that my thoughts and wishes go out to all of those affected by the senseless accident that occurred. Hopefully swift justice is served on that idiot behind the wheel.

Festival attendees tried to go about their business the best they could, and although it was a somber mood throughout the week, we still tried to make do. I saw quite a few great shows at my 2nd SXSW, and wanted to share some of the best with you in this little recap in case you’re too lazy to scroll through all the posts.

I’ve also attached some of the best photos I managed to take throughout the week. So without further ado, here are the best shows that I saw at SXSW 2014:

1. Ty Segall/Ex-Cult @ Street-Legal Guitars
2. Future Islands @ Hype Hotel
3. Hundred Waters @ Red 7
4. Damon Albarn @ Fader Fort
5. Coachwhips @ Beerland
6. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart @ Red 7
7.Chromeo @ Hype Hotel

Ty Segall has done it yet again. Although I’ve seen him a few times now, his show at a guitar shop space was wild and intense, the most thrilling show I’ve seen yet. Ex-Cult played with them and were just as money. Based on Future Islands performance at Hype Hotel, and all the chatter about them throughout the festival, this is their year. They absolutely killed it live, transcendent in every way of the word. Hundred Waters put on the most elegant and thought provoking performance of the week. I finally got to see the legendary Damon Albarn, who played some solo stuff, Gorillaz stuff, and brought out quite a few guests, including the one, and only, Snoop Dogg. I saw John Dwyer’s old band Coachwhips go nuts at a bar, and somehow saw a full set from Chromeo in a tiny place. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have a new lineup but rocked out just the same.

Also, a special shout out to all the fellow bloggers and friends who I hung out with at Austin. It was great to see all of you guys. Keep on doing your thing!

All in all, SXSW 2014 was a great time.

Future Islands:

Future Islands

Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn

Ty Segall

Ty

Ex-Cult

Ex Cult

Protomartyr

Protomartyr

Avi Buffalo

Avi Buffalo

Julian Casablancas

Julian

Albert Hammond, Jr.

AHJ

Perfect Pussy

IMG_7827

Pure Bathing Culture

Pure Bathing Culture

Mo

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains

Coachwhips

Coachwhips 1

Hundred Waters

Hundred Waters 1

[SXSW]: Coachwhips @ Beerland (March 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 22nd 2014

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Late Saturday night I figured catching the final set from John Dwyer’s pre-Thee Oh Sees band Coachwhips would be a good way to end my second SXSW. The reunited trio only had the small set of SXSW dates, so who knows if this is it for them live. If so, I didn’t want to be kicking myself for missing them. Thank god I caught them, Coachwhips put on an amazing show.

As Destruction Unit finished their set, it was nearly 1:15. The supposed set time of Coachwhips was 1:15. So it obviously didn’t seem likely for them to stay on schedule (as is with most SXSW showcases). But Coachwhips proved me wrong. Immediately as Destruction Unit ended their set, a noisy clatter began to the side of the crowd. As I peered to a little corner in between the bar and a hall to the restroom, Coachwhips set up on the floor and ripping into their set. They started playing and without a moment of hesitation immediately everyone rushed over to surround them.

Coachwhips dirty, fast paced, garage rock sent the crowd into a panic in the little corner tucked away at Beerland. People were moshing and crowd-surfing, even though it was only a tiny circle of maybe 100 people. It was so tiny many moshers were being sent right into a wood banister that stood directly behind the crowd. Things got rowdy as hell, but it was damn glorious. John Dwyer powered through a furious set with plenty of sweat shared between the band and the crowd. There were a few moments where he had to fight to keep his own spot and balance as things got that crazy around him. Very reminiscent of the Ty Segall set which I saw earlier in the week, which Dwyer also attended.

It was a fantastic way to end my SXSW, and I’m glad I am able to say I saw Coachwhips.

Check out some photos of their performance below. I’ve also attached their track “You Gonna Get It” below. Imagine hearing this bad boy live. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prior to their set at Red 7 for BrooklynVegan’s day party, it had been some time since I had last seen The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. The line-up was completely different as far as I can recall, with Kip being the only member that I recognized from the original incrnation of the band.

This wasn’t an issue in any way, as the new band was sharp as can be, delivering tight performance of all the bands tracks, old and new. The new stuff sounded good, but it was the oldies, “Come Saturday” and “Young Adult Friction” that provided the biggest delights, hitting as hard as ever.

They’re playing Rough Trade next week on March 28, although it looks like that show is sold out. Hopefully they will return for a larger gig sometime soon.
Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Protomartyr @ Red 7 (March 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 22nd 2014

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Protomartyr are a rock group that hail from Detroit. Hadn’t heard of them before their performance, but I dug their sound. Something of a post-punk fury with dry vocal delivery from frontman Joe Casey.

They will release their new album Under Color of Official Right on April 8th, 2014 via Hardly Art. Listen to a track from the LP titled “Scum, Rise!” After that are some more photos from their set. Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Hundred Waters @ Red 7 (March 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 22nd 2014

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Hundred Waters delighted with an utterly captivating performance at BrooklynVegan’s day party on Saturday. Their set was highly articulate and well composed of their songs that are just plain beautiful. They take their time to build, but once they do..whew. It’s a joyful thing to watch the songs unfold live

They played both of their new tracks “Cavity” and “Down From The Rafters.” Both were stunning to say the least, as was the rest of the material that they played from their debut.

They got one of the better crowd reactions that I saw during the festival, and based on these new songs, I think Hundred Waters are in for a big breakout in 2014. They certainly deserve it.

Find some more photos from their set below.
Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Ex Hex @ Red 7 (March 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014

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Ex Hex, the new team up of Wild Flag’s Mary Timony with Betsy Wright and Laura Harris played as a part of BrooklynVegans day party at Red 7. I only caught a brief part of their set but what I heard sounded good. Lovely guitar rock with some 90s inspired hooks. I can dig it.

Hope to see them again soon. Find some photos of their set shared below.
Read the rest of this entry »

Julian Casablancas and The Voidz @ Cedar Street Courtyard (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014 — with 2 comments

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I had high hopes for Julian Casablancas’ new solo stuff. I guess it’s more so him and his new band, The Voidz, but who are we kidding? It’s all his. Although after witnessing one of their first live shows together at Cedar Street Courtyard for SXSW, Julian may want to opt for the project being more of a group effort.

I, for one liked his debut solo record Phrazes For The Young. Sure, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but as a solo effort, it was very solid with a few standout tracks that would have done just as well – if not better – than a lot of the latest Strokes songs. I figured that his follow-up record would build upon what he did on that record, but based on what I heard in that cramped Cedar Street Courtyard, he took things into a questionable new direction.

It didn’t help that he came out 25 minutes late, or that his band was a boring cast of characters that just looked like dirtier versions of The Strokes members. The songs that he played screamed out at the crowd “HEAR ME, I AM COOL” but all I heard was a dull sketch of various ideas that never hit their stride. A song or two hit pretty hard, but even the highlights were forgettable when compared with his performances of The Strokes’ “Ize Of The World” or “River Of Brakelights” from Phrazes. These were the clear highlights, as they were the only songs the crowd was collectively enjoying.

For the most part during his new songs with The Voidz, the crowd looked puzzled and bored. I thought it was just my own judgements being projecting on others, and that it was 1 a.m. and we were all tired, but then I saw the sad reality that the songs just weren’t that good. The new stuff sounded heavily produced, so maybe it will all sound great recorded. Though none of that matters right now, as we are judging the songs based on how they are performed live, and I hate to say they were quite disappointing.

The next day at Fader Fort he performed his Daft Punk collaboration “Instant Crush” live. He was supposed to perform that at the show I attended as well (based on the setlist that a fan had), but he decided not to play it. He didn’t seem to be too into the performance, and either did the crowd. I love The Strokes, and I love Julian, but the show was a massive disappointment that only lasted 8-songs, and felt way shorter in memorability. Not a good sign.

Find some photos of the show plus the setlist, posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Damon Albarn @ Fader Fort (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014

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After all these years, I finally saw Damon Albarn live. I never got to see him in the many groups he performed in over the years (Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & The Queen), but I can’t complain as I finally got to see the master at work. His Fader Fort set was not to be missed, as it contained songs from all over his incredible career with these various projects.

He used most of his time to perform tracks off his upcoming solo album Everyday Robots, including many we are familiar with already such as the title track, “Lonely Press Play”, and “Heavy Seas Of Love”. There were also plenty new ones such as “You and Me”, “Hollow Ponds” and a lively cut called “Mr. Tembo.”

He also made time for his other projects, such as The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s “Kingdom Of Doom” (one of my favorite songs of his). Then there was also many Gorillaz songs, such as “Tomorrow Comes Today”, “On Melancholy Hill”, and “El Manana.” He brought out some friends to mark the occasion, including De La Soul for “Feel Good Inc.” and the original team that recorded “Clint Eastwood” (for the first time ever live): Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Dan The Automater. At the tail end of that Snoop Dogg came out to drop a verse from “Drop It Like It’s Hot” to send the crowd into near pandemonium. It was pretty damn cool.

It was an epic set in every way, and totally worth how long I waited to finally see the truly great Damon Albarn. I’m looking forward to his upcoming set at Governors Ball this summer.

Find some photos as well as his setlidt posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

Mø @ Fader Fort (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014

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The first (and last time) that I saw Danish rising star , was at a small show (that I helped put on!) in loft in Brooklyn during CMJ 2012. So it was a big leap to see how command the Fader Fort stage down as SXSW, but a well deserved change. She’s come a long way. Mø just released her debut LP No Mythologies To Follow and took over the stage with the same confidence and swagger that I remember from her performance at CMJ

From what I saw, the crowd ate her up, and I continue to believe that big things are on the way for her soon. All is well deserved.

She has a few upcoming New York City dates including Glasslands on May 22 and Mercury Lounge on May 23.

Check out pics from her Fader Fort performance below. Read the rest of this entry »




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