As always, the city of Austin was buzzing with new faces and loads of musicians during SXSW. This year, hundreds of talented artists from all over the world treated crowds with what seemed like an endless amount of shows. From exclusive SXSW Official showcases to intimate performances inside a church, these are my highlights from SXSW 2017.
I had been wanting to see Mobley, a local Austin musician, for a while and I finally got my chance during SXSW. Mobley played a small showcase presented by Ditto Records towards the latter part of the week. I can confidently say that it was one of my favorite shows. Aside from being an exceptionally talented one-man band, Mobley knows how to engage a crowd. Mobley brought down one of his drums into the crowd during the second song and had a group of people help with the percussion. After that, people were singing and dancing throughout the entire set, along with Mobley’s crazy stage presence.
Middle Kids are a trio hailing from Sydney, Australia who were already making waves before SXSW due to exposure from Elton John’s show on Apple Music and Zane Lowe’s Beats 1. I saw the band at one of those early morning broadcasts at the Four Seasons hotel. I would describe Middle Kids’ music as beachy-indie rock and the cool vibes that the band brought was a great way to start the day. Lead singer Hannah Joy is a bad*ss with gritty vocals who shreds equally as well as her male counterparts Tim Fitz and Harry Day. Middle Kids are currently on tour across the US and Australia, including some supporting shows with Cold War Kids.
I feel very lame for just now getting into this band. MUNA (Los Angeles, California) is made up of three baddies and best friends Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson who create great dark-pop tunes. MUNA focuses on inclusiveness and expression of social issues in their songs and it really translates into their live shows. MUNA’s performance at RCA Records’ showcase was my introduction to the band and I have not stopped listening (and dancing) to “I Know a Place” from their debut album “About U,” released in February earlier this year. I highly suggest watching their performance of this song on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Khalid was on my Must-See list for SXSW this year. The 19 year-old R&B singer is one of the hottest up-and-coming artists in the industry right now, and is already getting impressive features on tracks like Kendrick Lamar’s newly released “The Heat Part 4.” Khalid gave a fun and highly energetic performance to a large crowd at the RCA Records showcase. What made this show special was the fact that there seemed to be a high attendance of people from El Paso, TX which is where Khalid identifies as home. Be sure to check out his debut album “American Teen” out now.