SXSW Review: The Big Pink, Best Coast, Santigold, March 16, Stubbs

For part 1 of my Spin Party SXSW review, go here.

We take off right when Brooklyn synth pop group Chairlift left the stage. For me, the next act was the primary reason why I went to the Spin Party.

England’s The Big Pink recently released a new album – Future This that has thus far captured my heart and imagination. It’s ambitious, brave and full of big anthems. Tracks like Stay Gold, Rubbernecking and Hit the Ground all are classic songs that sound timeless and something that Alan Mcgee circa 1990 would have salivated over. It’s big, and it’s bold, so it was probably a surprise to some that the Big Pink sound was accomplished using only Robbie Furze on guitar and vocals, Victoria Smith (a bit crazy it seems) on the drums and two people on the laptops. The short set by this band consisted of tracks off the new record and their previous hit – Dominos. Despite the somewhat minimal setup, the band’s electro inspired wall of sound was just great. Tracks like Stay Gold and Rubbernecking already sound like massive hits and I definitely look forward to seeing them play a proper show in the future.

Immediately after The Big Pink was California’s Best Coast. The Jim Beam swigging Bethany Costentino has become a bit of a super star since Best Coast’s excellent debut album Crazy For You came out two years ago and her magnetism was a huge draw for the crowd. Best Coast’s new record, The Only Place comes out in May and let’s just say, expectations are high. The duo took the Spin stage at Stubbs with a few more musicians for a more balanced sound as they played a set mixed with new material and old, among the favorites played include classic tracks like Boyfriend and When I’m With You. Both new track and old sounded good, as they both display the classic surf rock meets low fi sound that made the group so popular when they first emerged. Underneath the blistering guitar licks lies Bethany’s sweet melody and sugar rich voice. It’s a good combination and based on what I heard, their new record should be equally as good as their last one.

The headliner on the bill was Santigold. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full four years since this genre blending artist set the world on fire with her self titled debut. Since then she’s had to change her stage name (renaming the i with an a) and watch other similar artists received more accolades. However, this year she is back with new album Master of My Make-Believe and if SXSW was her announcement that she was back, she did it in a big way.

Using costumes (for the entire bands), choreographed dancers and other stunning visuals, Santigold stunned the crowd at Stubbs with set that assaulted both the audio and visual. I wasn’t really expecting much, but all the costumes, dances and enthusiasm finally got to me. The nice thing for me was that the visuals on stage seemed to go naturally with the music and didn’t seemed forced at all (a nice change of pace from some other artists who employ visuals to get their point accross *cough* nicky minaj) Santigold mixed in new songs with old and both sounded quite good. She’s got a unique voice and a creative mind, and it shows as her music skips across genres and melds together a variety of influences. A great way to end off another great day at Stubbs.

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.