Win, Will, Regine and Marika: A lesson in Haiti

I felt somewhat guilty about attending Arcade Fire’s talk about Haiti. I had always felt happy that a group of artists I admired so much were so passionate about what seemed to be a worthy cause, but I’d never really researched into Partners in Health, or read about why Haiti needed so much assistance, or tried to understand on a deeper level what Win Butler, Regine Chassagne and their cohorts were up to. It was merely a feel-good fuzzy moment at each concert, and kinda ended there for me.

So when I found out that my amazing friend Lisa had managed to score tickets to a lecture on Haiti by the band, I knew I wasn’t going because I was jazzed to hear about this little country. I was going because I am so in love with the music of the group, and how Win and Regine come across as people in interviews, that I wanted to do anything I could to learn more about them and get closer to them. It made me feel embarrassed, almost — knowing that these people I admired so much were hoping to talk about something they cared about, and I’d just have to nod along, not really savvy on the issues.

Luckily for me, Win, Regine, Will and Marika knew what they were up against, and they were OK with it. During their lecture, Win explained, “I don’t know if you’re here because you’re interested in Haiti and want to learn more, or because you’re a fan of the band, but either way that makes us connected and that makes us grateful, and we’re glad you’re here.”


Young the Giant dive into night one at Stubb’s

Photo by Amanda

Maybe it was the smell of BBQ emanating from the soil inside of Stubb’s on Saturday night, but I swear Young the Giant single-handedly ushered in summertime in Austin, Texas. Between their catchy melodies, soaring, sparkly waves of guitars and Sameer Gadhia’s lion’s roar of a voice, Young the Giant sounds as if they can command nature. From a raucous but smaller-scale performance at Buffalo Billiard’s during South by Southwest last year to now, the band has garnered so much onstage confidence that it seems they were destined for sold-out-show status as quickly as they have achieved it, and musically, they have certainly earned it. Their first full-length release is solid from start to finish, with softer, breezy songs and wild, heart-pumping rock jams that weave together seamlessly.


The music, the madness and a whole lotta the Drums – SXSW 2012 Reviewed

All photos and video by Zack Teibloom

You’re walking briskly through the dark, a slight wind whispering through your hair, as tree roots present themselves like a Disney cartoon, seemingly meant for you to hop from one to the other as crunchy, fallen leaves collect and form a path leading you downtown. You no longer remember what day it is, and time is only meaningful as a marker for where you need to be, and what band you’re about to see. You’re so exhausted that other people and structure are flying past you in big blocks of color, but you just keep walking, determined not to miss that next band that you just really, truly have to see.

This is South by Southwest. It is constantly flitting from one show to the next on an almost-empty stomach, grabbing free breakfast tacos here and there when time permits. It is a creature with such a short lifespan, that you devote yourself, mind, body and spirit to it so that you can get the most enjoyment out of it as is humanly possible. This is what the festival brought me this year, and despite seeing fewer bands than I normally am able to, I feel that it was one of my most successful fests to date.


SXSW 2012 – Bands to See

It always creeps up on me. One minute, my friends and I are lamenting the fact that South by Southwest is over, and we have to wait a whole year before we do it all again. The very next, it”s time for a constant barrage of music, libations, and general merriment. And so, here we are again, poised on the edge of greatness (or a great catastrophe, depending on how organized you are). What”s that, you say? You don”t even know who is playing this year? Worry not, o yon procrastinator! That”s what I”m here for. I”ve scoured the SXSW lineup this year and have come up with the below suggestions of bands you really can”t miss. Per our usual format, you”ll find below the name of an incredible band, a brief description of what they”re like, a video of a song that encapsulates what they”re about, and the venues & showtimes where you can actually find them. Some are new to me, some are old favorites. Either way — buckle up. It”s going to be a bumpy ride.


Radiohead rocks, the crowd is stupefied.

Photo by @griffinshot - Tim Griffin, c/o Brooklyn Vegan

Radiohead has never made happy music. From their first hit “Creep” to now, they have always been a band to explore themes of political unjust and despair, of the downfall and conforming of the human race, of the end of the world. However previously, despite these dark themes, layers of guitar managed to keep a sense of warmth running through the songs. No matter how distorted, the familiar sound of six strings shouting out has helped audiences to jump, throw fists in the air, and forcefully rock out with a sense of unity. Even the saddest songs from the band”s pre-King of Limbs era (see “How to Disappear Completely”, “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” “All I Need,” et al.) had a sweetness to them that made them gently sad. Perhaps only “Fitter, Happier” was an indication of the kind of anguish we would be exposed to on King of Limbs.

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