By Peter Rittweger of My Social List
I'm going to do something a bit different this week. I'm going to admit defeat. Save for a handful of shows, New York is basically a buzz graveyard this week. A little festival called SXSW has tapped the city of most of its musical talent. We're talking bands, performers, promoters and even those who live to tell you about it all, like myself. I'm down here for the week and just got my WiFi hookup going so I thought I'd share some buzzable showcases with ya.
Tonight's NPR Showcase at Stubb's boasts a one two punch of indie legacy acts who couldn't be much different from one another. Both find themselves at SXSW at different points in their respective 2013 album cycles, the former having just released a much heralded record and the latter gearing up to drop a highly-anticipated major label affair. Push the Sky Away is Nick Cave's 15th studio release, and feels like quintessential Cave, despite 30 years of baritone rock deviancy. Remarkably, 10 years have elapsed since Fever to Tell helped put underground NYC music back on the map and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will begin their second decade of relevancy smack at the top of this showcase to promote their upcoming LP, Mosquito. Mercury-prize winner Alt-J provides high-level support along with Cafe Tacvba.
If you're like me, then you didn't hit the lottery to get into the NPR show, so you'll probably catch me at at my silver medal show tonight, the Vans show over at Mohawk. Vans throws some of the best free parties in Brooklyn all summer long, and their Austin bill brings two features two icons in their respective genres; punk trailblazers Iggy Pop and the Stooges and everyone's favorite Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah. Japandroids and Sky Fereira make this a one-two-three-four punch knockout.
Kendrick Lamar is probably the biggest name in the buzz game today. He's booked solid at SXSW this year and your best chance to see him is when he headlines SPIN's impressive showcase on Friday night at Stubb's with Solange Knowles, U.K. electro-pop trio CHVRCHES, Australian garage rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ridgewood punks Parquet Courts, Trinidad Jame$ and Machinedrum.
Mohawk is holding it down with top-flight showcases all week. Ground Control Touring occupies the space on Friday night with a punk and dream pop-heavy lineup. Post-hardcore Odd Future disciples Trash Talk will be joined by Brooklyn's 2012 breakthrough band DIIV, Thurston Moore's new band, Chelsea Light Moving, Parquet Courts, Matt Mondanile's side project, Ducktails, Florida dream-punks Merchandise, Brooklyn haze poppers Widowspeak, and many more.
The most stacked lineup of the entire week might be the Pitchfork day party tomorrow. INHALES... Youth Lagoon, Toro y Moi, Foxygen, Andy Stott, Delorean, White Lung, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Parquet Courts, Mac DeMarco, Merchandise, Mikal Cronin, Waxahatchee, Autre Ne Veut, Rhye and California X... EXHALES. I almost passed out there, which is probably how you'll find me after the hard drinking that will take place during all of those sets.
I'd be remiss if I failed to mention a free show from one of the best live bands in music history, The Flaming Lips. Their psychedelic spectacle is on display on Friday night at Auditorium Shores with Jim James and Divine Fits.
It wouldn't be a trip to Austin without a trip to Emo's East, and Mad Descent and Fool's Gold have provided you with the best reason to drop by ALL DAY tomorrow. A-Trak, Flosstrodamus, Mykki Blanco, Tokiminosta, Icona Pop, Pictureplane, !!!, Andrew WK and Wavves are just a few acts on the seemingly endless bill that runs from noon til 1 a.m.
SXSW wouldn't be a REAL rager without a crazy warehouse show; and who better to play said rager than an unpredictable act like hardcore-rap hybrid Death Grips? Someone even more unpredictable... like Chief Keef. Saturday night's Boiler Room shitshow skews a bit more dubstep/EDM as the night progresses with Skream and Baauer, ensuring you'll end your SXSW dancing.
You'll have to travel 15 miles outside of Austin's city limits to catch this one, but it's at WILLIE NELSON'S RANCH. Like... THE Willie Nelson. The lineup isn't really my thing; Jim James and Phosphorescent are cool, but this one gets a special shout out for the experience.