As expected, I had a blast at SXSW this year even though I didn't get to see some of the artists/bands I really wanted to catch. I was happy to hang out with some great touring bands, including Eliquate, Alabaster, Fight The Quiet, King Loses Crown, and Death Valley High, plus stayed with my wonderful friends Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, who blow me away with their talent, generosity, and hospitality. The best part was that I won tickets to see Green Day live at ACL Live/Moody Theater, as well as to the screenings of both their documentary films Broadway Idiot and Cuatro through their Idiot Nation fanclub! Did I mention I caught Billy Joe's hat!!! Seriously the BEST Green Day show I've experienced, plus having San Jose band Stickup Kid as opener gives me hope that Pounders will make it someday!
Here's a list of some of the bands I saw and why I enjoyed them:
Fitz And The Tantrums - great high energy band that gets the audience going with their pop-rock meets soul sound, so I was bummed that I missed the first half of their set; might just be my favorite set of the festival.
A Silent Film - I'm a sucker for UK indie bands that bring back that classic 80's new wave sound, plus the vocalist hits all those notes perfectly live. I met the band after their set and they were so stoked I bought their new album that they autographed my CD and gave me the best hugs. I love a band that knows how to make a fan feel special!
On An On - a new discovery from a SXSW playlist on Spotify; a bit too mellow for my mood at the time, but still very beautiful to experience live.
The Limousines - couldn't miss the chance to see these Bay Area favorites showcase music from their new album Hush; not only did I love all the new songs, I also loved the venue's well suited lighting and ambiance that fit perfectly with this duo's electro-pop sound.
Death Valley High - my SF boys did a great job rockin' the Texas Rockfest outdoor stage playing songs off their forthcoming album; I especially loved their cover of "F**k The Pain Away" by Peaches.
Fight The Quiet - these Arizona alt-rockers have made Nashville their new home and just released their new EP The City Below; sadly the venue's sound gear wasn't up to par, but the band handled it like champs and still had the audience lovin' every moment of it!
Alabaster - my Seattle friends showed off their new songs that are fresher and catchier than anything Paramore is putting out these days; makes you wonder why they haven't broke into the mainstream yet.
The Material - memorable female-fronted LA band that grabs your attention with powerful vocals over their power rock sound, yet with a touch of emotionally charged ballads in the mix.
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades - this talented Austin duo will blow you away with songs like "Space Jam" that will not only make you laugh, but amaze you with KG's harmonica playing and Nate's charm; their the new Tenacious D!
Eliquate - honestly didn't see them play at SXSW as I wanted to, but have seen them play in the bay, so it's only fair I give this Santa Cruz hip hop band credit for being all around amazing guys with great songs!
Later this week I'll post about the bands I wanted to see but missed!