Last Night Rocker Stalker Said…: SXSW 2014 Recap

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Entries
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Late but worth the wait, here is the Rocker Stalker recap of SXSW 2014!

My sixth SXSW was just as exciting and insane as my first.  A  jam-packed week of music, walking, eating, and very little sleeping.

My first day out (3/11/14), I took a walk to enjoy the sunshine I had been missing in NYC for the past 6 months and wound up at the Oklahoma City Showcase.  I walked in unaware it was an official show, but I’m super glad I did.  OKC’s indie, electro-rockers IndianGiver were onstage posessing onlookers to wiggle and groove in the middle of the day with their infectious riffs and pop catchiness, quite a challenging feat! Down the street at Oil Can Harry’s, a “locals” showcase was underway, highlighting Austin’s own, one-man band Walker Lukens and Latin-infused indie, percussive rock from the Migrant Kids.  Power walking down 6th street, I made my way to one of my favorite Austin venues, Hotel Vegas (home of one of Rocker Stalker’s showcases a few years back!) and enjoyed the sounds of  folky rock artist,  Stewart Gersmann and Brooklyn’s rocker/ serenader,  Joseph King.  My SXSW veteran status came in handy when I took the “Catch a Chevy” free car service down to the middle of nowhere on South Congress to check out jazz-infused indie rock band The Bushwick Hotel at Lunar Mattress (It was actually a furniture store!). The giant inflatable slide/obstacle course outside the store was definitely a perk! Closing out night one, I witnessed one of my favorites of the week, ultra-soulful, LA-based rhythm and blues act Vintage Trouble at Empire Garage.  It’s been a while since I got to experienced such showmanship.  Lead vocalist Ty Taylor ran amongst the crowd, encouraging every aspect of crowd participation possible, wowing listeners with his range and voice that called on some of Motown’s greatest.

Scope out the photos from SXSW Day 1 here!

Day 2 of SXSW was in my tops! Not only did I acquire an incredible farmers’ tan, but I saw an amazing bevy of bands!  I kicked of the day at FILTER Magazine’s Party  slightly off the beaten path, featuring blues-rock trio out of New Orleans (I had heard them on the Walking Dead soundtrack and HAD to see them live!),  Baby Bee, Boston’s folky-pop quintet AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, and rambunctious, dancy, soul-rock boys out of Venice Beach, Terraplane Sun.  Continuing my LA nostalgia, I trekked to Red 7 to check out the punky together PANGEA  who blew my mind and were definitely a highlight band of the week.  Around the corner, Long Island, grunge rockers The Montauk Project, Americana/rockers from San Diego, The Silent Comedy, Austin’s quirky singer/songwriter Danny Malone, artsy Brooklyn-based, rock trio  Bugs in the Dark, dancy electro-pop craftsmen, Miniature Tigers, my favorite NYC-turned-LA pop/rock act Semi Precious Weapons (Lady Gaga was even in attendence to support her friends and long-time tourmates!), and lady-fronted synth band Super Water Sympathy at Rusty’s for the CraveOnline/Effective Immediately PR Showase.

 Check out day 2’s photo gallery.

Halfway throught the festival, I wasn’t slowing down and started my day at Paste Magazine’s party at the Swan Dive.  Walking in,  Santa Barbara’s spacey indie rock 5-piece, gardens & villa and Yellow Ostrich.  A day of dancy bands, I arrived at No Shame’s showcase at The Blind Pig to catch ethereal and hypnotic Incan Abraham out of LA, and Brooklyn’s BLACK TAXI, who, after 6 years of seeing them play, never fail to deliver a fun, energetic show and stellar tunes. My evening took punkier rock turn at Carousel Lounge, the place that is keeping Austin weird,  with buddies and Rocker Stalker favorites out of New Jersey,  Hot Blood and The Battery Electric,  along with lady-led punk rockers TV Tramps. Joining the line-up were Rocker Stalker’s pride and joy, hard hitting  Dallas/Fort Worth  The Phuss at the Little Dickman Records Showcase.

Take a look at the photos from 3/13/14!

Day 4 started with Vancouver’s lady-led, soul/blues rock quartet  No Sinner, UK-based Magic Numbers, featuring two sets of siblings creating sythy pop hooks, Nashville’s straight-ahead rock ‘n rollers, The Heavy Heavy Hearts, Portland, OR’s progressive heavy-hitters, Ape Machine, and Nashville’s punky, party rockers Diarrhea Planet at Rusty’s/Swinghouse Showcase.  I took a walk and caughtAustin’s  pulsating electro-noise rockers Beth Israel (ha!) and indie rock band out of Brooklyn  Parquet Courts at Brooklyn Vegan’s Showcase at Red 7. Heading back to Rusty’s, LA, lady rock quartet The Cold and Lovely and one of my favorite blues guitar masters, Jared James Nichols, at the Swinghouse Showcase.

 Check out my fourth day at SX here.

My penultimate day of music in Austin covered a lot fo ground.  Arriving early at the Palm Door, I caught Tacoma, WA’s charmingly nerdy pop band Oberhofer, Leeds, England’s noise-rock group Eagulls. On the outside stage, one of the highlight bands of the week had taken the stage, Toronto’s gritty yet simultaneously smooth bluesy, alt-folk  group July Talk, whose chemistry between vocalist/guitarist Peter Dreimanis and vocalist Leah Fay was almost palpable. Inside, Atlanta’s loose, rootsy and punky rockers The Black Lips were packing the venue to the gills. Heading over to my home away from home, Rusty’s, it was go time for Effective Immediately PR’s day show with back-to-back variety:  The Bushwick Hotel (see above), alt-folk/pop out of Fort Collins, Fierce Bad Rabbit, indie pop-rockerst from Connecticut, Ula Ruth, Brooklyn’s noise-pop lady trio, Sharkmuffin, Irish-turned-Brooklynites, punk-tinged pop/rock quartet, Von Shakes, and Brooklyn-born grungy blues rock group, Graveyard Lovers.  I took yet another trip far south on South Congress to join friends  Hot Blood,  The Battery Electric, TV Tramps, and The Phuss along with Dennis Lyxzén’s (of The Refused) new band INVSN for an off-the-wall gig at Red Shed Tavern (A barn transformed into a venue!).

Day 5 in photos here!

The final day of SXSW was short but sweet. After a tattoo appointment for my long-awaited Zeppelin tribute, I made my way to Metal and Lace for an afternoon punk rock show,featuring Austin’s  Shitty Advice and a someone unplanned appearance bylegendary NYC hardcore punk band Urban Waste at Metal and Lace.

Last day of SXSW captured here.

Overall an amazing week that makes me miss ATX every day I’m away from it.  Can’t wait to see what next year has in store!

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