Now that Zack and I are starting to settle into our apartment, we’re ready to show of some of our most prized possessions — the Easy Canvas Prints prints that we got during our favorite concert photography contest. The canvases are beautiful and our sad little digital camera doesn’t do them justice. They almost look like paintings — particularly Austin Writes Music’s winner Sarah Vasquez‘s Little Lo photo. Now just let us paint some walls and finish unpacking before y’all come over and see these in person, eh? Check out Zack’s post about Chad Wadsworth’s (Win)ning shot here.
Happy Monday morning! I managed to move a boatload of stuff over the weekend, and I’m officially all up in Zack’s apartment now. Our treat for ourselves last night was looking through all of your photo submissions, and we had some really beautiful shots to choose from that definitely made it a tough decision.
For the Austin bands contest, the photo that ultimately won our hearts was one taken by blogger extraordinaire Sarah Vasquez, over at So Many Bands. It’s a gorgeous photo of Ian and Stephanie from Little Lo, bathed in stage light. Little Lo are not only one of our favorite local bands, but they hold sentimental value for Zack and me, because we saw them on our first date. It’s also a complimentary photo to the one we picked for the Festival Crashers contest. So congrats to Sarah, and we’ll be sure to post a photo of the canvases when they’re up on our wall!Read More...
Before the SXSW Music Conference was even officially underway, there were all kinds of amazing live performances to catch around Austin. I spent my Tuesday night with Glassnote Records at La Zona Rosa, dancing up a storm to all of the electronically infused pop they could offer.
Ueber-openers Bad Veins were the only non-label act to make the set. The crowd totally ate up the duo from Cincinnati; lead singer Benjamin Davis was the perfect balance of nerdy and flirty to win over the audience’s fresh-faced demographic. Personally, I wasn’t so keen on Bad Veins. They were a touch too cutesy for my tastes, with all-too-familiar lyrics and no unique spin to speak of. But Bad Veins were definitely the opening night winners, based on fan reaction.
I prefer the more experimental sounds of Knoxville’s Royal Bangs, though the crowd at large was less receptive. I’d initially seen the trio perform at SXSW 2010, and watched them totally win over a hip New York crowd at CMJ 2010. The band performed a mix of old and new tunes; the standout was the catchy jam “War Bells,” which has an addictive synth bass line. The star of this show was definitely drummer Chris Rusk, who is a beast. Watching his limbs fly as he bangs out rhythms at breakneck speed is addictive — his face is controlled, emphasizing his precision, but his arms appear to be everywhere at once. The guys ended on a new tune that will be included on their upcoming LP, and it shows their country roots much more than anything they’ve done in the past. It’s an exciting and interesting direction to see the band take, and feels like a natural and necessary progression.
When Ireland’s finest electro-poppers finally took the stage, the crowd made it clear it could’t have been too soon. The love in the room for the band was delectable, and the band ate it up (it is, after all, good for you). It was the band’s first headlining gig in Austin, and they ripped the roof off straight away with “Cigarettes in the Theatre.” The band is as pitch-perfect live as they are on record, and the most stunning piece to their puzzle for me is always lead singer Alex Trimble’s gorgeous, angelic voice. It is the textbook definition of sweet, and when Trimble sings in a live setting, he clearly has complete control over his instrument. In between songs, bassist Kevin Baird takes the helm, flirting with and pumping up the crowd in equal measure. Sam Halliday is the quietest of the founding band members, choosing to let his guitar work speak for him. Newest addition Glen Thompson has become the band’s glue, pumping out their fast-paced drum beats like a machine.
The biggest crowd-pleasers of the night included bright-and-quick “Undercover Martyn,” earworm “Do You Want It All?” during which the founding trio pass around vocal duties at the chorus, power-of-positive-thinking anthem “Something Good Can Work,” and the encore performance of “I Can Talk,” which inspired more dancing and pogoing than at any other point of the night, rising the room to a fevered pitch before letting people leak out into the night.
Overall, it was a fun night with great energy all-around, and a fun-yet-gentle way to ease everyone into the madness of South By Southwest. The Irish gents will finish up their North American tour at Coachella in April before they head back to Europe, so if you’re looking for a dance party, catch ‘em while you can.
As promised, here are some photos from Fun Fun Fun 2010. Check out our Facebook page for more!
Royal Forest kicked off my Saturday FFF experience, and they rocked. Their big-sounding, guitar-heavy rock music filled the open field and sent a surge of energy into the morning crowd. Kudos!
I’m always a fan of a band with a female drummer. Woven Bones were gritty and garagey, and definitely had me bouncing around for a little while. I was happy to finally see this Austin staple.
I enjoyed JEFF the Brotherhood, although I wish they could find a stronger lead singer. Their drummer stole the show in my eyes – he was full of energy and super talented. I’m definitely a fan of the bluesy, raw rock coming out of Nashville these days! (See: the Ettes, everything Jack White does.)
Only in Austin could a trio of interpretive dancers be as beloved as Little Stolen Moments. I first saw these folks perform at South by Southwest in 2009; they really do light up a stage.
The Antlers were definitely one of my favorite performances at FFF 2010. They were dreamy, soundscapey and just enjoyable to take in. I love that the keyboard player (below) was performing in his socks.
Wavves. Meh. Nathan complained a lot about technical difficulties, so they kinda lost me. I do like their album, though!
I was definitely disappointed in how quickly MGMT rushed off of the stage at the end of their set, but let’s be real – they’re fun to look at (as evidenced by the league of pretty people standing around me, trying to squeeze closer to the stage to get a glimpse).
Austin poet Thax Douglas was everywhere during FFF; he kicked off my Sunday by introducing Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s with a poem.
I love this band on record, but live, I’m afraid they only came off so-so. Margot was just too bummed out for a Sunday morning at a festival.
Aerial Pink’s Haunted Graffiti didn’t do it for me. Too much show, not enough substance.
Bethany owned the stage and won the day with her sunny, sweet vocals and her couldn’t-care-less laid backittude. Plus, once again – female drummer! Love it.
Austin Writes Music is now on Flickr, and we”ve uploaded photos from SXSW 2010! (There were close to 250, which is why it took so long – sorry, playisrangs people!) Click on for photos of Local Natives, Royal Forest, Freelance Whales, Brazos, Miike Snow, JBM and more! (Coincidentally, the shot above is from a Radiohead show in Berlin circa 2008.)