South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Spiral Stairs, March 14, Cheer Up Charlie’s

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Noting that this was the first show he’d played in 8 years, Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) joked that his fingers didn’t know what they were doing, but if he was screwing things up in any way, it wasn’t noticeable at all. The new stuff sounded great, as did the older numbers from Preston School of Industry and Pavement that they played.

Kannberg and his band began their set at Cheer Up Charlie’s with “Vultures” off of the upcoming album Doris and The Daggers. “If you’re from Australia, you understand what that song is about” he said afterwards and it hit me then that the song had a hint of Nick Cave in it’s sound. I wonder if there’s a connection there? I didn’t have to wonder about the influence on “Dance,” also from the new album, as Kannberg made it explicit. “You ready to dance? Roxy Music style? Gotta dance to Roxy Music.”

Overall, Spiral Stairs put on an entertaining set that had me looking forward to hearing the new album in full.

SXSW Review: Jain, March 15, Coppertank

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One of the most notable international acts playing SXSW, French singer Jain wasted little time getting the liquored up crowd at the Youtube Coppertank dancing and jumping up and down on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Taking the stage solo, Jain layered and looped her music to produce a set of vibrant, fun, and danceable tunes.

Sensing that crowd participation would be a good idea, Jain spent a good chunk of the set getting the crowd involved in her blend of electronic and tropical pop. The crowd was willing – maybe it was the French accent, maybe it was the charming personality, I don’t know. The best part of the set was during her hit song “Come,” in which she had the crowd sing the chorus into the microphone before looping their voices into the backing supporting tracks. It was a great use of that technology and everyone was having a ball.

Jain is playing a few more shows at SXSW, I suggest you check her out.

SXSW Review: Dave, March 14, Latitude 30

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Welcome to the stage……DAVE!

What a artist name. Impossible to Google but man, you must be hot shit if you just simply go by Dave. A London hip hop artist who is only 18, Dave played the BBC Showcase Tuesday night. It’s probably not the most hip thing to say, but Dave played a very comprehensive set. “You’ll get some up tempo songs, you’ll get some slower songs, I’m going to rap and also, I’m going to sing” Dave told us during his set. The man does it all. In between songs, he would tell us about his upbringing and how he became popular “Waaaaaay back in 2015, I was free-styling…” It’s then you realized that this kid is 18 and that 2 years ago must be quite a long time.

Stories aside, Dave put on a stellar set that showcase his talents not only as a rapper, but also as a pianist and an arranger. Among his songs include ones that sampled his own piano arrangements and also some Spanish guitar, a nice departure from other songs. At only 18, the future is bright for this one.

SXSW Review: Sofi Tukker, March 14, Empire Control Room

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Sofi Tukker is a duo from New York who put on a devastatingly fun show. Sophie Hawley-Weld, one part of the duo, seemed like she was born to perform. Whether she’s singing, dancing or wielding a guitar, she has an energy to her that is incredibly infectious and is irrestible. The duo play what is essentially electro dance pop , and they have this odd contraption set up in the middle of stage that they hit with drum sticks that makes different sounds. Also, I’m pretty sure some of their songs are in Portuguese, however none of that really matters as their music puts a smile on your face and get’s you moving.

Go check them out.