The Wheeler Brothers were one of the most anticipated acts of Utopiafest weekend, and I was sad that we had to head out just barely into their set. Lucky for me, the guys are playing Antone’s this Friday. It’s their first headlining gig, and promises to be a good one.
The five-piece, combined of three actual Wheeler brothers and two close friends, put out their debut album Portraits over the summer, and followed that up with their first national tour. Now, they’re about to embark on another three month-long trek, kicking it all off in their hometown of Austin.
The Wheeler Brothers’ sound is reminiscent of the Band of Horses, with beautiful vocals layered over rocked-out folk. It’s an infectious sound that fills any venue with ease, and performed by guys who clearly love what they’re doing. Beyond their musical talent, the Wheeler Brothers are a generous band, allowing other Utopiafest musicians to crash at their ranch, and currently hosting a contest through their Facebook page to send one lucky fan “Home for the Holidays.”
If you want to see what all of the fuss is about, make sure you check out the Wheeler Brothers this Friday at 9pm. Want to see ‘em for free? Post a comment on this story, sharing a personal holiday memory. I’ll pick a winner Thursday for a ticket plus-one.
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 was a weekend of rollercoaster emotions and perceptions. That sounds like the introduction to some terrible cliche teen drama, but it is what I lived through this weekend. Blame it on cloudy perception from a lingering cold (which I’m still not over — damn you, festival dirt!) and imminent exhaustion coupled with various Nyquils and Sudafeds, or blame it on being 24 and trying to navigate my adoration of music, my desire to make it myself, and my sense of responsibility to my day job. Whatever it is, my brain was all over the place, taking in the new setting of the Auditorium Shores skyline, comparing and contrasting new Fun Fun Fun with old, trying to experience new music while staying true to my favorites, and realizing I’m starting to enjoy being with my friends more than being alone at a set only I want to see. It’s all a balancing act, and it all gave me a lot to digest after a weekend of awesome music, dusty nostrils and strange music fan realizations.
Photo by Melissa MontesRead More...
Saturday, November 5
The Joy Formidable
We took it easier Saturday, in part because I woke up feeling as crusty as an old, burnt piece of toast, and in part because nothing in the early morning really called to us. But we were determined to get to the fest in time for the Joy Formidable, and we made it in plenty of time. The Welsh trio was a ray of sunlight, and immediately blew anything and everything we’d seen the day before (except for Spoon) out of the water. First of all, the band is fronted by a guitar-wielding woman with an adorable blonde shag of hair. Their drummer grins widely at the audience during most songs, egging us on to clap and sing, and the bassist is energetic and equally joyous. Live, they really did remind me of the Silversun Pickups, but dancier. The crowd adored them, and when they went in for the kill, finishing their set with their breakout hit “Whirring,” two fearsome-but-cute inflatable cat heads blew up on either side of the stage, with their mouths opening and closing like some creepy carnival game, and lead woman Ritzy Bryan went to town on a gong that had heretofore sat unplayed at the back of the stage. I was sold — my blood was pumping, I’d forgotten I was sick and 4 other lady friends and I decided we were starting a band called Pizza Party (you may not steal this idea from us we will find and injure you. Injure you bad. Real bad.)Read More...
Sunday, November 6
Sunday, I was dead. I had an appointment at 2PM, which was my excuse to sleep in late and avoid the dustbowl until close to 5PM. I was sad to miss all of the exciting bands I’d never heard before, but I was just too sick to make it down. I decided to take it easy, see the one artist I was dying to on Sunday, and then get home early to write, like a responsible little journalist.
Fun Fun Fun Fest crept up on me so quickly this year that I haven’t had time to scour the lineup the way I normally do. Thus, I have decided to highlight my favorites below that I already know and love – and apparently, they’re all mostly playing the Orange Stage. But my absolute favorite aspect of Fun Fun Fun Fest is the fact that I discover so much new music to love. It’s like being a college DJ all over again. I intend to hit up my top picks, but I also plan on wandering wherever my ears take me. So ultimately, that is my suggestion. Be brave, go to a stage you didn’t think you’d visit, keep an open mind, get dirty and have a blast.
For another excellent preview, check out Zack’s at Festival Crashers.Read More...
I have come a long way from my days of all-pop, all-the-time. When I was younger, I adored sunny tunes that got my feet shufflin’. Now, I prefer darker, more intricate stuff, so my old pop go-to’s only get played when I’m feeling nostalgic. So when I was set up with a ticket to see the Postelles at the Parish, I was a far cry from their younger fan base that surrounded me. Older, hardened to the world, jaded — ok so maybe not that extreme, but definitely a little harder to impress.Read More...