Despite their lack of physical publication, Spin always manages to throw one of the best parties at SXSW. There is free food, free booze and the lineup is constantly on the ball and this year was no exception. I only attended the first portion of the bill and here’s a quick take.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO)
One of the bands with the oddest names that I know, the New Zealand three piece act played a short set heavy on noise to open up the day. Purveyors of what I can only assume is their own interpretation psychedelic music, UMO‘s set had a sort of droney groove about it that you lose yourself into and then somehow end up just nodding your head and smiling stupidly for about half an hour.
Lead singer Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES gets our award for cutest lead singer for any band at SXSW. Displaying a surprising amount of energy for a mid-afternoon SXSW set, her banter between songs was refreshing and honest (“We are half way through our set list, hang in there!”,”Maybe we’ll delay our change over long enough to see Solange…”) and her stellar voice coupled with the sleepy electro-pop landscape/backing vocals provided by Ian Cook and Martin Doherty made the show that much the better. I only assume that as time goes along, the band will do a little more then just stand there and perform. All of their tracks, including recent single Recover sounded excellent and I am excited to see where their debut album takes them.
One of the main events at SXSW, I was surprise to see Solange slotted third on the bill at the Spin party. Reminds me of the time they put Ricky Steamboat vs Macho Man in the middle of Wrestlemania III instead of the end. Weird reference. Anyways, 2013 wassn’t Solange’s first SXSW appearance. She also played Perez Hilton’s party in 2009 in her already forgotten previous career as an aspiring contemporary r&b star. Since then, she has recruited Dev Hynes, grew a fro, wore some vintage era clothes and anointed herself the new queen of indie music. It seemed to have worked. The crowd was near capacity for her set at Stubbs and she did not disappoint.
Showing a whole lotta leg, Solange took the stage and danced up a storm from the opening song “Some things never seem to fuckin work” to the set closer, the epic mega hit “Losing You”. Along the way, Solange sang tracks off True, showed incredible charisma (“How bout you dance for me, Austin” – with a million dollar smile) and also did a cover of the Dirty Projector’s Stillness is the Move. The girl is just magnetic on stage, and everyone was delighted at the co-ordinated dance moves between Knowles, Hynes and the other guy.
A short and sweet set that basically confirms what we all already knew – Solange is going to have a mighty good year.