Since I wasn’t able to make it to SXSW I had my buddy Mike Watson share his experience and the highlights from Austin. He definitely had the chance to hear a ton of great bands and catch some very unique performances. Hope you enjoy!
Bands I had never seen live:
Of Monsters and Men
Walk the Moon
They all put on amazing shows. Of Monsters of Men had never played in the US. Saw them twice. I was at their first US show and it was in a bike shop. Gotta love SXSW. I really think they are going to blow up. Talked to them at the Mumford & Sons concert and their album is being released in the US on April 3. I had been a fan of Walk the Moon and GIVERS for a while now and they definitely didn’t disappoint. The both put on incredible shows. There is no wonder they get so much buzz. Even if you don’t know a single song of theirs they will have you a fan after seeing them live.
I would say Walk the Moon and GIVERS put on the best shows from the bands I had never seen, along with Gary Clark Jr. Gary Clark is just unbelievable on guitar. I see why Clapton has taken him under his wing. The dude is going to be the next big thing, he already is in the blues guitar community. He played at the White House with Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, and Mick Jagger. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr also put on a hell of a show, but I am just not into their music. Maybe it will grow on me. Fun. was a band that obviously had a lot of hype with the song out right now “We are Young”. They have a lot of other great songs though. The title track of their album was awesome live, “Some Nights”. I had never seen Keane before. I absolutely love their first album from a few years back and they sounded really good live. The lead singer’s vocals were spot on.
I was really excited to see Princeton. I love their album but they didn’t have a lot of energy in their show. Maybe it had something to do with it being 11am on a Thursday but a band should not have to say “y’all look tired”. They should be able to amp up the crowd on their own. I was also excited to see Reptar but they just didn’t sound good live. I will have to give them another chance. Tennis was another band that I was excited to see but the show left a lot to be desired.
Bands I have seen before:
Mumford and Sons
Band of Skulls
Temper Trap played a few new songs and in particular the song “Trembling Hands” was amazing. They are just great live. Band of Skulls lead man is so incredibly talented on the guitar. Some of the stuff they pull off live is just amazing. He really makes the band because the girl doesn’t do much on stage. Everyone knows how good Mumford is. They played a few new songs that were really good. I see their second album having the same success as their first.
Bands I didn’t get to see but wanted to:
Alabama Shakes – They were THE buzz band going into SXSW this year. Much like Foster the People last year.
Tango in the Attic
Bright Lights Social Hour
Finally, here is a list of bands I saw, I know I am missing some but can’t remember them all:
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister @ Bayou
These people brought a ton of energy. The chick drummer plays standing on top of a drum head wearing tap shoes. It was crazy. So much fun. I had never heard them before but they were a great live show. I am going to have to listen to them more.
Dawes @ Cedar Street
Future Unlimited and Princeton @ Beauty Bar
Tennis @ Stage on 6th
Big Deal @ Hype Hotel
Of Monsters and Men @ Mellow Johnny’s (First time playing in the USA)
Punch Brothers, Ed Sheeran (This guy was cool, was just him and his guitar. He would play something, loop it, and then play riffs over it. Was awesome show), Kimbra (She was awful), Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr all @ La Zona Rosa
Walk the Moon @ Antone’s
Reptar, Band of Skulls, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane @ Cedar Street Courtyard
Imagine Dragons, fun., @ Woodies
Girls, Kaiser Chiefs, Temper Trap @ Stubb’s
Of Monsters and Men @ Cedar Street Courtyard
Howler @ W Hotel
Free Energy @ Peckerheads
50 Cent, Eminem @ Austin Music Hall
Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe, Mumford and Sons @ LBJ Library Lawn
They played the Railroad Documentary on a screen. This was probably my favorite part of the weekend. Weather was perfect and the documentary was incredible. Oh and those bands are pretty damn good too.
Johnny Corndawg @ Lustre Pearl
The Guards, GIVERS @ Chevy