SXSW

[SXSW]: Ex Hex @ Red 7 (March 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014 — with 1 comment

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Ex Hex, the new team up of Wild Flag’s Mary Timony with Betsy Wright and Laura Harris played as a part of BrooklynVegans day party at Red 7. I only caught a brief part of their set but what I heard sounded good. Lovely guitar rock with some 90s inspired hooks. I can dig it.

Hope to see them again soon. Find some photos of their set shared below.
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Julian Casablancas and The Voidz @ Cedar Street Courtyard (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014 — with 4 comments

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I had high hopes for Julian Casablancas’ new solo stuff. I guess it’s more so him and his new band, The Voidz, but who are we kidding? It’s all his. Although after witnessing one of their first live shows together at Cedar Street Courtyard for SXSW, Julian may want to opt for the project being more of a group effort.

I, for one liked his debut solo record Phrazes For The Young. Sure, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but as a solo effort, it was very solid with a few standout tracks that would have done just as well – if not better – than a lot of the latest Strokes songs. I figured that his follow-up record would build upon what he did on that record, but based on what I heard in that cramped Cedar Street Courtyard, he took things into a questionable new direction.

It didn’t help that he came out 25 minutes late, or that his band was a boring cast of characters that just looked like dirtier versions of The Strokes members. The songs that he played screamed out at the crowd “HEAR ME, I AM COOL” but all I heard was a dull sketch of various ideas that never hit their stride. A song or two hit pretty hard, but even the highlights were forgettable when compared with his performances of The Strokes’ “Ize Of The World” or “River Of Brakelights” from Phrazes. These were the clear highlights, as they were the only songs the crowd was collectively enjoying.

For the most part during his new songs with The Voidz, the crowd looked puzzled and bored. I thought it was just my own judgements being projecting on others, and that it was 1 a.m. and we were all tired, but then I saw the sad reality that the songs just weren’t that good. The new stuff sounded heavily produced, so maybe it will all sound great recorded. Though none of that matters right now, as we are judging the songs based on how they are performed live, and I hate to say they were quite disappointing.

The next day at Fader Fort he performed his Daft Punk collaboration “Instant Crush” live. He was supposed to perform that at the show I attended as well (based on the setlist that a fan had), but he decided not to play it. He didn’t seem to be too into the performance, and either did the crowd. I love The Strokes, and I love Julian, but the show was a massive disappointment that only lasted 8-songs, and felt way shorter in memorability. Not a good sign.

Find some photos of the show plus the setlist, posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Damon Albarn @ Fader Fort (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014

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After all these years, I finally saw Damon Albarn live. I never got to see him in the many groups he performed in over the years (Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad & The Queen), but I can’t complain as I finally got to see the master at work. His Fader Fort set was not to be missed, as it contained songs from all over his incredible career with these various projects.

He used most of his time to perform tracks off his upcoming solo album Everyday Robots, including many we are familiar with already such as the title track, “Lonely Press Play”, and “Heavy Seas Of Love”. There were also plenty new ones such as “You and Me”, “Hollow Ponds” and a lively cut called “Mr. Tembo.”

He also made time for his other projects, such as The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s “Kingdom Of Doom” (one of my favorite songs of his). Then there was also many Gorillaz songs, such as “Tomorrow Comes Today”, “On Melancholy Hill”, and “El Manana.” He brought out some friends to mark the occasion, including De La Soul for “Feel Good Inc.” and the original team that recorded “Clint Eastwood” (for the first time ever live): Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Dan The Automater. At the tail end of that Snoop Dogg came out to drop a verse from “Drop It Like It’s Hot” to send the crowd into near pandemonium. It was pretty damn cool.

It was an epic set in every way, and totally worth how long I waited to finally see the truly great Damon Albarn. I’m looking forward to his upcoming set at Governors Ball this summer.

Find some photos as well as his setlidt posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

Mø @ Fader Fort (March 14, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 21st 2014

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The first (and last time) that I saw Danish rising star , was at a small show (that I helped put on!) in loft in Brooklyn during CMJ 2012. So it was a big leap to see how command the Fader Fort stage down as SXSW, but a well deserved change. She’s come a long way. Mø just released her debut LP No Mythologies To Follow and took over the stage with the same confidence and swagger that I remember from her performance at CMJ

From what I saw, the crowd ate her up, and I continue to believe that big things are on the way for her soon. All is well deserved.

She has a few upcoming New York City dates including Glasslands on May 22 and Mercury Lounge on May 23.

Check out pics from her Fader Fort performance below. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pure Bathing Culture’s debut LP Moon Tides was released last year, and was underrated on the whole if you ask me. Throw in their great self-titled EP and you have a great start for a band who I think have a bright future ahead of them. There’s a overwhelming pleasantness about them is instantaneous, but there’s also qualities that find there way to grow on you over time with more and more lsitens.

I saw a brief, but great, set from the band at the Convention Center for Gorilla vs Bear’s Flatstock stage performance. They were just as delightful as the last time I saw them.

They bring the songs to life so effortlessly, I love it. I can’t wait to see them again, whenever the next time may be.

Here are some photos of their performance: Read the rest of this entry »

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After a tiring Ty Segall show, I made it over to the Pedestrian Bridge to catch a performance from punk-rockers Perfect Pussy on top of the Pedestrian Bridge. What has now become a late night tradition, bands gather on the Pedestrian Bridge, pull a few speakers together and play some music. It’s an awesome concept.

It was quite a walk to get over there, so I only caught the tail-end of their set, but that was all I needed to get my first proper taste of the band. Loud, fast-paced, and lots of energy. For the finale bassist Greg Ambler chucked his bass off the bridge into the river below. It was quite a dramatic statement, but a memorable one for sure.

I still have yet to catch a full-length set from them, but that will change when they play Mercury Lounge on April 5.

Check out some photos from their set below.
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Ty Segall @ Street-Legal Guitars (March 13, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 20th 2014 — with 1 comment

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I’ve seen Ty Segall a few times live now and every time is a special treat. He always brings a furious amount of energy to his live shows, even if its an acoustic set.

He was the headliner at the amazing showcase at Street-Legal Guitars, and it was one for the ages. Not only was it the best show that I saw at SXSW, but it was easily the best show that I’ve seen all year.

From the get-go the band sent the crowd into a wild frenzy. Soon the temperature was blazing, and everyone was dripping with sweat. With the crowd surrounding the band on the floor, it wasn’t too uncommon to see Ty and the band fighting for their own positions “on stage” in order to prevent becoming fully engulfed within the crazy moshing of the crowd.

Ty and his band delivered a full set that was as electric and riveting as any rock show that you’ll see all year. The man is just a pure rock star, a genius of sorts. It was cool to see fellow genius John Dwyer (of Thee Oh Sees) watching the show from behind, in just as much awe as us while he took in all the action.

Go see Ty Segall the next chance you get. He will not let you down.

Photos of his insane set posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

[SXSW]: Ex-Cult @ Street-Legal Guitars (March 13, 2014)

By Will Oliver, March 20th 2014 — with 2 comments

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My introduction to Memphis, Tennessee band Ex-Cult came early 2013 when I saw them open for Ty Segall at MHOW. What caught my attention about Ex-Cult was their energetic display on stage. It commanded your attention and made you eager to get up and start moshing up against random bodies because it would seem disrespectful not to.

Flash forward a year later and I was catching them in a space so tiny that the crowd surrounded the band (literally) as they hammered through a rocking set. Ex-Cult’s members looked deranged throughout the set, looking to cause some damage. There was no wall between them and us, as many fans had to make their best effort not to fall over on lead-singer Chris Shaw or their drum-set. It was like a calm set of panic ensued on the crowd, a fire that couldn’t be put out until Ex-Cult put down their instruments.

These guys are one of the best live acts that you can see right now. Their new album Midnight Passenger comes out April 29 via Goner Records. They will be stopping in to play NYC’s Mercury Lounge on May 22. You don’t want to miss out. Get your tickets here.
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