SXSW Review: Okay Kaya, March 18, Central Presbyterian Church

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It was Friday night at SXSW and word was getting around of a storm brewing and all outdoor shows for the night being either temporarily delayed or outright cancelled (sorry, Coheed and Cambria fans). With that in mind, we made our way to the Central Presbyterian Church to seek shelter, taking literal sanctuary in a church and settling in for awhile with the music of Okay Kaya.

“I’m Okay Kaya. How are you guys?” With that unassuming greeting, Kaya Wilkins introduced herself to the audience and it was fitting with her low key, reserved persona onstage. If she wasn’t too talkative onstage, her songs make up for it – the stark, simple, spacious arrangements and personal lyrics draw you in and grab your attention. Standout songs “Damn, Gravity” and “I’m Stupid But I Love You” sounded great, but she acknowledged they may not be the most uplifting.

“I’m gonna do a cover because I can’t seem to write happy songs,” she said self deprecatingly (though perhaps accurately) before performing a version of Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” And while her cover of someone else’s happy song still didn’t sound entirely happy, it did sound rather sweet and endearing and if it didn’t make me want to dance, at the very least, it made me feel like swaying and rocking gently in my seat.

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Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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