Butthole Surfers at Day for Night

Words by Mario Rodriguez

After the tight set Unknown Mortal Orchestra gave, it was finally time to witness the infamous San Antonio punk band Butthole Surfers.

 Courtesy of Philip Cosores

Courtesy of Philip Cosores

Now, let’s keep in mind these guys are going on before Travis Scott, so you have a huge mix of different people coming and trying to get a decent view for both sets. So there are people shoving and people faking their way to the front saying “I lost my keys,” but we all know they didn’t. People are packed like sardines and it is only the calm before the storm.

Butthole Surfers started about 20 minutes late, but with Day for Night going until 2 AM, it was no big deal. Gibby Haynes, Paul Leary, and King Coffey came to the stage and looked psyched to be up there. They started their set with “100 million people dead”, from there 2002 compilation album and then went into “hey” from their debut album Butthole Surfers.

After a couple of songs, Haynes brought his son out to play a song with them. It was heartwarming to see them having some fun on stage. Very punk rock.

When they played “Lady Sniff,” the crowd went crazy. Mosh pits on both sides of me and I was not safe… which was awesome! It was at that point where you could feel the tale of the Butthole Surfers come to life. Even though they did not have any cheeseburger filled mannequins, dye filled condoms, or any nudity it was the crowd that brought the punk energy, and you could tell they were feeling it.

“Lady Sniff” then transitioned into “Pepper” and the sing-along began. Now I’m not going to lie, I didn’t catch the transition until the chorus kicked in.

While performing, Haynes kept signaling to the sound guy to turn up his mic, but unfortunately, it never happened. Nevertheless, it was a great set. A lot of people seemed to enjoy all the feeling of nostalgia it gave them. Definitely a highlight from Day for Night.

 

SET LIST:

100 million people dead

Hey

Rocky

Cherub

Pittsburgh to Lebanon

Creep in the cellar

Dum Dum

Fast song

Grave yard

Edgar

1401

Some dispute over t-shirt sales

Goofy’s Concern

Lady Sniff/Pepper

Who was in my room last night

Gary Floyd

The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s grave

Lou Reed (Encore)

 

A Moment with the Warbly Jets

Words by Kanya Maliwan

I got to speak with Sam Shea and Julien O’neill, half of the LA rock band the Warbly Jets, ahead of the band’s North American tour starting on November 28 in Phoenix supporting The Mystery Lights and the Dandy Warhols. The Warbly Jets are relatively new to the scene- the band officially formed last year and released their debut single “Alive” earlier this year.

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

It all began a few years when Sam and Julien met in New York through mutual music scenes and started to play together. When they decided to go to Los Angeles to record some music, they met the rest of the band and decided that LA was a good place to touchdown and establish themselves. When asked about their first single “Alive” and what it says about the band, Sam (vocals, guitar) said that it was inspired by personal tragedy and how his recovery from a motorcycle accident acted as a metaphor with the breakthrough of the band. “Alive” is unapologetically rock and is featured on Apple Music and SiriusXMU.

When asked about their upcoming tour, the band said that they can’t wait to experience something new in each city at each show. This is their first tour together as a band, and Sam says that he is excited to develop the comradery between the band because they are all really good friends. Now that they have focused on recording, the band says that they are ready to hone the elements for their live shows. Since their band name is influenced by the “strong sonic sound” of their music, we can expect a great, rockin’ show here in Austin when the band makes a stop at Sidewinder on December 1st.

You can listen to “Alive” here.

You can buy tickets to their show on Thursday, Dec. 1 at Sidewinder here.

 

AJJ in ATX

Words by Melody Swope

I have the best luck sometimes. Exhibit A: the AJJ show on the 20th. I remember seeing that they were coming to Austin and immediately asking my friend Cameron if he wanted to go. He introduced me to them nearly a year earlier when they were still going by Andrew Jackson Jihad. For a month we talked about how awesome the show was going to be and how excited we were to see them.

Eventually, the day finally came and I was jumping off the walls. We drove down to Mohawk and immediately entered in a state of jubilation. After a beer, we watched the opening act Chris Farren who was undoubtedly one of the best one-man shows I have ever seen. He is best known for his work with Jeff Rosenstock in Antarctigo Vespucci but his solo work is a wonder to behold. Playing on top of premixed drums, his symphonic guitar playing and beautiful voice shine. He was also hilarious between songs, cracking jokes and telling everyone how much he loved us.

Following him was Diners, a band from Tucson. My friend described them as “desert rock” and it made sense why. The frontman Tyler Broderick had a soft yet eerie voice that grounded the light, and twinkly guitar and keyboard parts. I fell in love with their song “15 on a Skateboard” and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the next few days. Their music has an addictive groove that quickly causes them to burrow into your mind. They were an incredible band to see, and one of the best discoveries of the evening.

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Finally, after much anticipation, AJJ came on stage. My heart was beating so fast I could not even process what was happening. The clearest thing I remember was saying, “I love this song” before pretty much every song. An especially great moment was when they played “Junkie Church,” my favorite song off their newest album The Bible 2. There were several moments where the crowd would get into a frenzy, singing and pushing, loving the music. That is one of the best things about AJJ, the way their music is so incredibly upbeat and reassuring, even though they talk about how much life can suck. It is relatable on the rawest level.

The best part was when they closed out the show with Cameron’s favorite song, Big Bird. The minute it started, I had to turn to him and see what was happening. He was swaying back and forth, eyes fixed on the band, and he started to sing. Seeing him in that moment almost felt like I was intruding on something personal. I had to look away and let him take it in by himself. I sang along, too, knowing that this moment was one for the memory log. After the show, he thanked me and gave me a hug, and I knew I couldn’t have asked for a better gift to give him than that moment because music is the greatest gift of all.

The Inaugural Sound on Sound Fest

Words by Kanya Maliwan

About this time last week, I had arrived to the first-ever Sound On Sound Fest. I was excited but nervous because I had no idea where I was. That’s the thing about SOS Fest — I didn’t know what to expect. Unlike most festivals, I had to travel almost an hour from the city to a remote location where I was supposed to find the Renaissance grounds.

 Courtesy of Ritual Events

Courtesy of Ritual Events

Let me tell you: it was so worth it. The magical atmosphere brought together a group of very different people who all shared in the start of a brand new festival experience for Central Texas. If you did not go to Sound On Sound this year, I recommend that you try it out next year. Here are my reasons why:

The Lineup**

Sound On Sound definitely had one of the strongest festival lineups of the year. Similar to the precedent Fun Fun Fun Fest, the lineup was heavy in hard rock, rap/hip hop, indie, experimental, and even included comedy acts. Some of my favorites were Beach House, Alex G, Car Seat Headrest, Purity Ring, and Deerhunter.

The Location**

SOS Fest is located in McDade, Texas, which is where the Sherwood Forest Faire happens. The Renaissance atmosphere that was tucked away in the woods made it a destination worth venturing to. The festival organizers made sure to go all-out in creating a unique experience. The main stage, called Dragon’s Lair, had a huge dragon head peering from the top of the stage. There were turkey legs, people dressed in Renaissance garb, fun activities like axe throwing, and a castle. Not only is SOS a great place to enjoy music, it is a place to become immersed in another world.

The People**

From what I gathered, Sound On Sound is for true music fans. Everyone I encountered, whether it was someone I knew or a complete stranger, was really passionate about the acts that they saw. It was all love at the fest, even though some of the mosh pits got a little bit too intense. Aside from that, the festival fashion was amazing. Guys and gals were serving looks all around.

I would like to thank Sound On Sound for creating one of my new favorite things. I am looking forward to the lineup for next year and I can’t wait to see the growth of the festival in the years to come.

Busdriver at the Flamingo Cantina

Words by Jack Riggs

 Courtesy of FACT magazine

Courtesy of FACT magazine

Conscious rap is one of the most under-appreciated genres in my opinion; it is rap music that makes you think about concepts deeper than money and women. Regan Farquhar, also known as Busdriver, has been practicing this art form since he was a kid. In the words of Milo (another conscious rapper who is very much inspired by Busdriver) “[Driver] raps like the eldest sap of the Everglade/ His raps move heat like thermostats adjusting centigrade.”

Doors were at 9 and openers started at 10, but I showed up at about 11:45. I caught the end of a rapper named Metasota, and even though I only saw the last couple songs, when I got home that night, I immediately bought his most recent album entitled #RUMDMT. After Metasota I got a sticker from his merch desk and got to talk to him for a few moments; he is a fucking cool dude. His raps remind me of a more energetic Earl Sweatshirt.

Driver started at about 12:10 AM and it was a sight to behold. Busdriver is one of the fastest rappers I have ever heard; he’s up there with Daveed Diggs or Busta Rhymes. I noticed during his show that every word shot from his mouth was accompanied by some sort of hand gesture. During each song, his hand waved furiously in the air or his fingers flicked with each lyric, making it look as though he was tickling the atmosphere of the room. I have never been hit with such a barrage of powerful language; each bar carried some kind of critique on this day and age. At one point he did his own version of the Flying Lotus song “Never Catch Me”, which took everyone by surprise. A lot of the songs performed were from his most recent album entitled Thumbs, which I highly recommend. You can find that here.

Some of my favorites from the set were “Imaginary Places,” “Much,” “Hyperbole 2,” “Great Spooks of Enormous Strength,” “Worlds to Run,” “Ministry of the Torture Couch,” and “Black Labor (as understood by Equiano).” After the show, I tried to get a station ID from him but I could see how exhausted he was, proving that he put his whole being into the performance. Overall, this was a great experience: 9.5/10. It would have been a ten, but the barefoot guy standing in front of me smelled like feet.

 

Pre-Sound on Sound Hype

Words by Daniel Collins

sos_lineup_sq-1.png

In about two weeks, I will be embarking on the oh-so-well hyped and brand spanking new Sound on Sound festival. While this fest seems to be the replacement of the late Fun Fun Fun Fest, its delicious display in entertainment is truly too good to ignore. And that is my starting beef with it, literally TOO GOOD to ignore. As if we (our fellow youths) were not already stricken with minimal funds that come with being youths, Margin Walker had to go and dump this awesome load like an emotional necessity. The versatility of the fest is truly admirable, from the dreamy wooshy-ness of Beach House, to the funkadelic synth music of STRFKR, Sound on Sound has a lil sumthin’ for literally everyone. Death Grips is headlining but probably won’t show, Purity Ring is gonna make everybody cry, and the Dillinger Escape Plan will hopefully burn Sherwood to the ground. These are just a few predictions pre-fest but i d k how they’ll truly turn out.

OKAY but what I am truly going to be looking for with this festival is the community. If other goers are going to be like the masses of ACL then count my tiny white ass out. Festivals such as Kerrville Folk Fest, Art Outside, and Head for the Hills all embody the type of attitude while still promoting positivity in getting to know your other festival goer, so hopefully, this one will do the same. Call it gushy, but it is nice when everyone wants to get rekt and enjoy their time there together.

This relates back to my beef with Sound on Sound in regards of Camping. Really, $90? And on top of that, they are prohibiting drum circles. Gut me right now. Why not milk away all the non-fest fun while you are at it. I understand that drum circles can “produce too much noise” during the night, but then they go and offer night concerts to those with camping passes? Still, an awesome addition which makes the 90$ worth it but it seems to segregate the Fest. I don’t know, it all just seems a little too partitioned. Nonetheless! The festival is looking to be utterly primo in the amazing variety of artists performing. Also everyone really should hop on all the ridiculous giveaways they’re handin out, it’s WACK.

Anyways, catch me at the festival trying to hold my life together with a camera that is too valuable to be in my possession.

I love you all.

A Nostalgic Two Door Cinema Club Performance

Words by Kanya Maliwan

 Courtesy of the Austin Chronicle

Courtesy of the Austin Chronicle

Out of the many great bands that I saw during Austin City Limits Festival weekend one, Two Door Cinema Club’s set is one that stands out. I had been really excited to see them because their set that weekend was the first time I got to see them live. Even though it was my first time seeing them, the show felt somewhat nostalgic because it took me back to my high school days when I first got into them. Their first album, Tourist History (2010) was significant to me and it is still one of those albums that I can go back to, and enjoy every track.

The band played a highly energetic set, performing songs both new and old, to an equally as hyped crowd. They started off their show with “Cigarettes In The Theatre” and continued on with a set list that featured songs off of every album, including their latest one titled Gameshow. Everyone in the crowd sang along to almost every song. Some of the highlights for me was when they played “Eat That Up, It’s Good for You,” because it is one of the favorite songs, “Next Year” and “I Can Talk”. The performance really turned into a dance party between the music, the stage visuals and lights, and the audience.

After the band left the stage, the crowd did not leave and chanted for more. TDCC came back out after a short break and finished off the show with an encore consisting of a few more songs. They ended their set with a great rendition of their most popular song “What You Know.” The crowd’s reception was incredible — the cheering when the set ended was probably as loud as the music and seemed to last forever. Two Door Cinema Club definitely left the crowd with “something good” (blah, corny).

You can now hear TDCC’s new album here !

The Indie Holy Trinity: The Haim Sisters

Words by Katy Szendrey

This past week I had the pleasure of seeing HAIM since I first saw them in the tiny town of Guthrie, Oklahoma in 2013. Not only was this the first time I had seen them in three years but I also saw them three times in one week. Seeing them three years ago when they were one of the opening acts for Mumford and Sons, to seeing them this past week, it is obvious how much they have developed as not only a band but also as kick-ass female rockstar icons.

 Courtesy of the Austin-American Statesman

Courtesy of the Austin-American Statesman

I’ll start with Alana Haim, better known as “Baby Haim,” since she is the youngest of the trio.

Each show, she had a similar style. T-Shirt/Tank top, cut off denim shorts and black boots. She has a stage presence that is magnetic. You could tell she was so into the music they were playing. She was always grooving to the beat and would smile towards the audience this huge cheesy grin that just let you knew she was loving every second of performing. I feel like the anthem that plays in her mind on repeat is “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. She is the youngest so she does not have to deal with responsibilities just yet. Well, technically none of them do because they are successful musicians living life on tour but traditionally the youngest has the freedom to be a little reckless in the regular world, but in the rockstar world, they probably all get that luxury. And, everyone who isn’t a rockstar is totally and completely jealous.

Next, the middle sister, Danielle Haim. She is lead vocals on the majority of their songs, and kind of has this motherly aura about her. If I did not know their ages, I would have guessed that she is the oldest since she seems so wise and knowledgeable. You can see how mature she is just from her stage presence. I feel like I want to sit down and let her teach me all of her life lessons. Her style also reflects her sophisticated essence. At the first show, she graced us with a sleek all black outfit, including these flare dress pants that combined a retro and elegant look. She has this look like she knows exactly what she is doing, and how to perform, even though their band is relatively new. You can see the sheer passion she has for her music in her facial expressions when performing.

Finally, my personal favorite, and the oldest Haim sister Este. This lady is actual human goals. She has an incredibly unique stage presence that is apparent from her iconic “bass face.” None of my blurry iPhone pictures will do it justice so I will try to describe it the best I can. It resembles what face you would make if you opened up your favorite celebrity’s dirty laundry basket. It Is disgusting and nasty, but you are still into it. Her face looks as if she has been visually assaulted by something and is appalled, but her grooving head bobs let you know that it’s all good. Style wise, she is the outlier of the group. Somehow Alana and Danielle are always coordinated in their outfits with black and white classics but Este always adds that pop of color. Each time she was wearing something a little different than her sisters, and always with classic bright red lipstick.

Ultimately, their different styles are so distinct, but that is what makes their band so great. They may have the same genes, but they are definitely not the same. A lot of bands have the same aesthetics even as individual members, but that is what makes their brand. You know who each individual sister is, you can’t really get them mixed up, but together, you know they’re HAIM.

My Long-Distance Relationship with Young the Giant

Words by Yasmeen Yahya

On a cool, “autumn” day in Houston, in a rowdy concert hall, in section 206, row B, seat 12, you would find me looking very much in love. This was because I was absorbing the light source that is Young the Giant.

My relationship with Young the Giant is as strong as it is old. This California-based band is my real high school sweetheart. Since I was 14 years-old, Young the Giant has never failed to ensnare my heart and my spirit. It isn’t hard to see why.

 Courtesy of Young the Giant

Courtesy of Young the Giant

Young the Giant is a band that truly has the “it” factor. As a collective and as individuals, they have unbelievable talent, spirit, and vision. Their newest album release Home of the Strange is an extended narrative from the perspective of each member of the band; the album is a collection of stories about living in America as an immigrant or first-generation American. In an interview with National Public Radio, lead vocalist Sameer Ghadia said, “I think it’s maybe my narrative as a first-generation American. We have a lot of ties to India and that heritage and the tradition and the philosophy, cultural practices. But then, you know, we grew up here. And my parents, more than anyone, wanted me to find success and chase that American – elusive American dream. And so Home of the Strange, I think, is the place in between those two places.” As a first-generation American myself, I quickly identified and attached to this album, as did many others who share the same story.

It is obvious that for their “Home of the Strange tour, the band had a clear vision of the what they wanted their audience to experience. As a long-time devoted fan, I have been able to see their shows transform over the last four years. In general, many bands have started to add more visuals to their shows, and Young the Giant is no exception. Their setup mimicked the cover art of Home of the Strange, emphasizing their devotion to this album and its overall meaning. During more intimate songs such as, “Titus Was Born” and “Art Exhibit,” the backdrop faded to black and behind it, lights illuminated to look like the night sky.

Although the show production was well executed, what truly made the concert memorable was the band’s energy and passion. The energy throughout the concert hall was truly electrifying. Ghadia’s soulful, passionate, and powerful lead vocals tantalized the senses; the vivacity of his lively, yet borderline-bad dancing never wavered.
Although it is a parasocial relationship, I like to think that Young the Giant and I are in a long-distance relationship. Maybe, that is a bit much, but, each time I see them I feel as if I am reunited with an old part of myself. However, it is somehow different now. We have both grown, changed, and learned.

And I cannot wait to meet again.

 

St. Lucia's Energetic ACL

Words by Ari Gonzalez

Austin City Limits is always one of the local events I look forward to every year. I am that person that sets an alarm to wake up right when the lineup goes up so that I know whether or not it is worth it to go. When I saw that St. Lucia was on the weekend one lineup, I lost my shit, to say the least. St. Lucia is a band that I have loved for so long and have been dying to see perform live, but for some reason, they never come to Texas, so I was very glad to see them in the lineup. This year, however, I hesitated on buying the three-day pass as soon as they went on sale. As luck would have it, the three-day passes sold out in record time. Later, I talked myself into buying three single day passes because of my determination to finally see St. Lucia perform live. Clearly, St. Lucia was one of the bands I was most excited to see this year, and I am so happy to say that they did not disappoint.

St. Lucia was the first band that I saw, and they definitely had one of the best sets of the weekend. Not only is their music super fun and energetic, but so is the band. The band’s stage presence and interaction with the crowd made the show so fun. At one point during their set, Jean-Philip Grobler, the lead singer of the band, got off the stage and sang in the middle of the crowd. It was insane and I loved how much he actually interacted with his fans. While he was in the middle of the crowd he even stopped and sang with a girl that was snapchatting him. My favorite part of a concert is when the band actually acknowledges and interacts with the crowd, so I really appreciated that they went above and beyond to make it as fun as possible.

Another aspect of their performance I loved was their stage set up. It had a trendy Target home decor aisle vibe and I was LIVING for it. They had a black marble backdrop, gold geometric diamond shapes behind the drummer and the synth player, and succulents in gold pots all over the stage. It was so aesthetically pleasing; I was obsessed. Maybe it’s just the basic Target lover within me, but I loved how much effort and thought went into designing their set up.

Overall St. Lucia had one of my favorite shows of the weekend, and I am so glad I finally got the opportunity to see them! Although ACL is physically exhausting, it’s watching bands like St. Lucia that makes going to ACL worth it, and what makes me want to go back every year.

M83: The Dreamiest ACL Performance

Words by Kristen Chambers

Before I can tell you about how amazing M83 was at Austin City Limits this year, I will need to fill you in on a back story.

I fell in love with the French synthpop/rock/ambient band M83 relatively recently, only about a year ago. Throughout my freshman year, I would make the long journey through Austin traffic to West Campus once a week to visit my best friend Anna who is a student at the University of Texas. Every time we hung out it was relatively the same humorous experience that consisted of three rituals: being absolutely ridiculous, watching Vine (this was prior to the death of Vine), and listening to M83’s album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming on vinyl. The album quickly became a part of our tradition and a foundation of our friendship.

Over the summer Anna worked as an intern at a firm in San Francisco and this semester she is studying abroad in Italy. Although Anna has left me for adventures in far away places, she did leave me with one thing: the M83 record. Over the summer I became dedicated to M83’s unique synthpop/alternative/rock/electronic sound. Their music is celestial and I am constantly amazed that people are capable of creating such inventive material.

Fast forward to ACL 2016. Anna couldn’t be a part of my real life experience with M83 because she is busy having the time of her life in Europe, but fortunately, I found another good friend to see M83 with me instead of Flume, that was playing at the same time.

 Courtesy of Austin360

Courtesy of Austin360

This may sound dramatic but, in short, the concert was a spiritual experience. I had never really spent time looking up the members of the band, their looks, or videos of live performances, so every aspect of seeing M83 live was a beautiful surprise.

M83 recently came out with a new album, Junk, that they played songs from, including their hits “Do it, Try it,” “Go!,” and “Laser Gun.” Junk is a lot more groovy, electronic, and full of bangers than Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, which feels more like a collective soundtrack to your dreams than songs that jam individually. However, they did play many jams from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, including “Intro,” “Midnight City” and “Steve McQueen.” They actually opened with my all time favorite M83 song, “Claudia Lewis.” When I heard them start to play that song, I knew the concert was going to be an incredible experience.

The members of the band were unbelievably fascinating. The mastermind of M83, Anthony Gonzalez, has a passionate voice that sounds magical at all times. Kaela Sinclair, whom M83 recruited from LA, played the keyboard, wore a killer, long lace-up black dress, had red and purple hair, and had a voice that sounded immaculate. The most fascinating member, however, was guitar player Jordan Lawlor. He had a head full of ringlets and when the lights shined from behind, he looked like an angel. Literally, an angel from the paintings you see in old churches.

Each band member was so individually talented and that was not really something I had thought about prior to the concert. There was a focus on showcasing their musical capabilities, and I found that to be very admirable, especially from a synthpop band. M83 was able to flow in and out of these solos so seamlessly that the audience remained mesmerized throughout the concert, instead of feeling like the solos put a halt to the ambiance of the show.

The setting was a huge contributor to the show’s aura. The light show was hypnotizing, consisting of fuchsia, purple, blues and greens. My favorite lighting effect was how the lights would shine behind them in the backdrop to look like stars. The concert happened during sunset, so it was completely dark outside by the end of the show. The transition from light to dark combined with the beautiful lighting led me to feel convinced this concert was low-key my entrance to Heaven.

Overall, M83’s performance was intoxicating. I spent the concert jamming out and dancing as well as being in awe and staring in amazement. I seriously considered buying a ticket for their Dallas concert and driving up there to see them again, six days after the ACL concert. M83 would be worth it.

Springsteen: Champion of the People

Words by Reilly Cardillo

“Tramps like us… baby, we were born to run.”

This is the title line from Bruce Springsteen’s most iconic and arguably best song. Within these three minutes, Springsteen chronicles the small town trap: the prisons in which our working class is occasionally at odds with. He also sings of desire, he sings of escape and exile, gracefully exalting and condemning his roots simultaneously. Of course, this anthem did not just “spring” up from the ground, polished and full. This song, and this album, really, represents a crossroads that Springsteen found himself facing.

 Courtesy of Nicholas, Thomas Ian. Bruce with Greetings From Asbury Park. 1973. Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Courtesy of Nicholas, Thomas Ian. Bruce with Greetings From Asbury Park. 1973. Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Born into a working-class Irish-Italian family, riddled with a history of mental illness and structured by Catholic guilt, Springsteen grew up in Freehold, New Jersey. His parents, Doug and Adele, did the best they could while combatting Doug’s drinking problem and bipolar disorder. In his autobiography, Springsteen recounts many tension-filled encounters with his father. You can hear the echoes of their discordant relationship in Springsteen’s extensive body of work, most obviously on tracks like “Adam Raised a Cain” from Darkness on the Edge of Town and “Independence Day” from The River. On the latter, Springsteen croons: “Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us, there’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too… They ain’t gonna do to me what I watched them do to you.”

This is a theme that Springsteen’s music draws from again and again: the new disconnect between the generations, youth’s persistence to escape the mistakes of their parents, and the ultimate realization that you cannot outrun what has been planted inside you.

Springsteen shot out of Freehold the day of his graduation, skipping the ceremony to wander around New York City, which became his refuge and eventually, the site of his discovery at Columbia Records by Mike Appel and through Appel, record executive John Hammond in 1973.

After many years of musical evolution, dive-bar gigs, and two ultimately unsuccessful trips to the West Coast (the acid-drenched hippies just didn’t really jive with Springsteen’s fire), our artist found himself with a record deal and released two albums to critical acclaim, but not enough public interest. Columbia went out on a limb by even allowing Bruce to record his third album, a project propelled by “Born to Run,” the eponymous track. But it was a wise risk.

Born to Run sent Bruce Springsteen into the stratosphere. Suddenly, the question was no longer “is he going to release another album?” but “when is he releasing his next album?” And he has remained at that status ever since.

Springsteen continued to crank out honest, thoughtful work, releasing Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978), The River (1980), Nebraska (1982), and then Born in the U.S.A. in 1984. Born in the U.S.A. was his most commercially successful album, and Bruce’s athletic, charming, yet brooding, appearance served to promote him from simply a rock star to a rockstar-celebrity. He married actress Julianne Phillips in 1985 and promptly filed for divorce in 1988. He then took up with bandmate Patti Scialfa, whom he married in 1991. The pair has two children: Jessica and Sam. Springsteen’s music from that period reflects his inner turmoil while wrestling with his attraction to Patti while trying to attend to his husbandly duties to Julianne. His album, Tunnel of Love (1987) features a song called “Brilliant Disguise” in which he not-so-subtlety laments the state of his marriage as he sings, “We stood at the alter, the gypsy swore our future was bright, but come the wee wee hours, well maybe baby, the gypsy lied.”

 American rock star Bruce Springsteen sings with Patti Scialfa June 20,1988 on the stage during his concert in Vincennes, a suburb of Paris. They are reported to be romantically involved.(AP Photo/Adeline Bommart)

American rock star Bruce Springsteen sings with Patti Scialfa June 20,1988 on the stage during his concert in Vincennes, a suburb of Paris. They are reported to be romantically involved.(AP Photo/Adeline Bommart)

His later albums touch on subjects from the Great Depression in the Ghost of Tom Joad (1995), to the events of 9/11 on The Rising (2002), and the recent recession on Wrecking Ball (2012). No matter what height his fame reaches, however, Springsteen always remains accessible and relatable, truly a champion of the people. Springsteen’s success and longevity can be attributed to this connection. This relationship is best understood in his own words: “I believe that the life of a rock and roll band will last as long as you look down into the audience and can see yourself, and your audience looks up at you and can see themselves and as long as those reflections are human, realistic ones.”

A Special Night with The Lumineers

Words by Amantha Dikin

 Courtesy of 101X

Courtesy of 101X

It all started months ago, refreshing the screen. Eagerly waiting. Patiently waiting. Waiting for the little words ‘Purchase Tickets Now’ to pop up. I had revered the Lumineers for years, and to think they were finally coming to my city! The Lumineers are one of the unlikeliest success stories of the past few years. A scruffy independent Americana trio out of Denver, the Lumineers’ cellist joined the band after responding to a Craigslist ad. Their catchy anthem “Ho Hey” took the world by storm in 2012, followed by a second #1 single “Stubborn Love” and their third charting single “Submarines” lifting them to immediate and unprecedented stardom. Their much anticipated sophomore album, Cleopatra, was released earlier this year. Flash forward to September and I am in the middle of my first month back in school. It’s about the time where tests and due dates are coming up; It’s ugly. There are a lot of all-nighters. I am running on coffee and naps alone. It is easy to get caught up in the hectic day-to-day drudge, but knowing I had the Lumineers show to look forward to was getting me through that week.

Once I arrived at the venue, I knew it was going to be a special night. The Lumineers have such a raw, passionate sound so how could it not be as moving as their studio albums? Bands like the Lumineers usually don’t fill up amphitheaters like Austin360, so it was really something special to be with 13,000 other people to hear magic happen. To make the venue feel more intimate, the lead singer, Wesley Schultz, did something I have never seen in a live show. To make those on the lawn feel special, Wesley and his two other main band mates, Jeremiah Fraites (drums, piano) and Neyla Pekarek (cellist and backing vocalist), walked through the general admission pit, up the stadium seats and sat on the lawn to perform two acoustic songs to everyone in the back. While I was front row in the General Admission pit, I know that everyone on the lawn felt just as special as I felt in the front which in turn made me even happier.

The whole band took it upon themselves to perform for us. While there was no elaborate light show or backup dancers, the performance was special nonetheless. With almost each song, Wesley added small anecdotes about what went into writing the song or what he feels when he sings it. It felt like the performance as a whole was between the band and I. I felt drawn to the band’s presence on stage, looking at each band member and how they looked and played as if they were one being. After the five-song encore, the whole band came together for a group hug and kissed each other on the check. They then went around and shook each other’s hands. It was humbling to be in the presence of such careful, beautiful artists who not only respected each other but respected us as an audience.

Formation World Tour

Words by Ari Gonzalez

No blog can ever do justice to the greatness and beauty that is Beyoncé.

Everything she does is iconic, from the way she dresses, to her music, and her videos and visual albums. After Lemonade came out I listened to it nonstop for an entire month; to say the least, I was obsessed. When she announced her tour I was so excited but after I saw that she wasn’t going to come to the Austin area I kind of just gave up. Never would I have imagined that a few months later I would have the opportunity to see her live. However, a couple weeks before her concert in Houston my best friend found tickets, so out of impulse and with zero planning we bought our tickets and made our plans to go to Houston.

 Courtesy of Vanity Fair

Courtesy of Vanity Fair

Beyoncé is truly the most angelic human that lives on this Earth and seeing her live truly exemplified that. Her show was the perfect combination of some of her greatest hits off her older albums and songs from Lemonade. I actually had chills the moment that Beyoncé started singing. It was so relieving knowing that the voice you actually hear on her albums is what she sounds like in real life. I also loved how just one person could connect so many people and bring them together. The stadium was completely full, and everyone around me was screaming the lyrics to songs like Formation, Love on Top, and Halo.

Besides having the voice of an angel, the visuals, costumes, and effects of the show were breathtaking. As a full-on theater nerd, I have always loved the technical aspects behind a show, and this concert was so visually appealing it was insane. Beyoncé used many clips from her visual album Lemonade and other incredible visuals to her performance. Her set up also included an area that they filled with water and there she performed two of my favorite songs: Freedom and Halo. I thought the way she incorporated the water performance in both of those songs was genius and such a great way to distinguish herself from other performers. Also, let’s not forget the costumes which were absolutely breathtaking. Each costume fit so well with the song that she sang and it was a small detail that I really appreciated. Overall, it was an aesthetically pleasing show.

One of the things I love most about Beyoncé is her ability to empower women and people of color. During her show, she made sure that she continued to empower women by spotlighting her drummer and guitarist, both who were women, as well as kick-ass musicians. She also had a special opener, besides Dj Khaled, who was a woman artist from the Houston area. She was such a humble person, it was so inspiring to see someone so famous still be so grounded and passionate about making a real change and making women feel proud to be who they are.

Overall, the Formation World Tour is an experience I will never forget. Everything about it, from Beyoncé herself, to the visuals, and the way she spotlighted talented women was absolutely phenomenal. It was definitely worth the three hour drive to Houston and the two hour ride back… and the sleep deprivation.

James Blake Magic

Words by Margeaux Labat

 Courtesy of Austin Theater

Courtesy of Austin Theater

Last Sunday was a day that I had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity. I had found out that James Blake was going to go on tour for his new album this past summer, and I immediately knew I had to attend. I would have loved to see him while he was touring for his Overgrown album, but seeing him perform his equally emotional and vocally-haunting The Colour in Anything was going to be a very close second. I didn’t get to buy my tickets right when they became available — I actually bought them the day before the Austin concert — but nonetheless, I was so extremely excited to see one of my favorite musicians live. James Blake was on my bucket list for artists to see live before I die, and it was finally going to happen.

Fast forward to the night of the concert: my friend and I show up to ACL Moody Theater, super pumped, but at the same time, trying to keep our cool. I always forget how nice and relatively large this venue is, but it is always a pleasant surprise every time I go to this swanky downtown venue. Our seats weren’t near each other, but we managed to sneakily work our way together, “stealing” other people’s seats, ending up together in the balcony section. While we were sitting down, anxiously waiting for James to come on, hoping that no one shows up to claim the seats that were rightfully theirs, I looked around and studied the demographic of the people attending. Surprisingly, it is a crowd older than my age group. Then again, it’s not really that much of a surprise that this concert is catering to an older crowd. Not a lot of my friends from home like James Blake; they would always complain that he’s too boring and sounds like he’s crying all the time. I can see the appeal that this talented British musician has to the older crowd. It takes a certain level of emotional maturity in order to fully appreciate the sound that he creates. Suddenly, I’m quickly snapped back to reality as the lights begin to dim, signalling that the show is about to begin.

James Blake along with his two signature musicians, Rob McAndrews (guitars, samples) and Ben Assiter (drums), come out on stage, warmly welcomed by the crowd’s cheers and howls. They assume their position and start the show with “Always," the second-to-last track on Blake’s recent album. This makes me particularly happy; I love his use of distorted vocals in the track, along with the sample of Frank Ocean (another intense love of mine). The show continues, and one thing that particularly stands out is the lighting aspect of the show. Throughout the entire concert, the lights were synchronized with the beats of the songs, which added a whole new layer to the concert. Sometimes it became borderline seizure-inducing, but overall it was very tastefully done.

James played songs from his entire discography, from the hits “Life Round Here” and “Retrograde” from Overgrown, to “200 Press”, a song that he wrote and composed relatively early in his musical career. A standout performance during the concert was definitely the song “Measurements” during his encore. Before he began the song, he told the audience, “Everything we do here is live. No computers or anything.” He then urged the audience to be completely and utterly silent — which unfortunately did not last for too long — and managed to create all of the loops in the song right there, before the audience’s very eyes. This not only showed off his perfected skills in terms of timing and use of the equipment but also his beautifully emotional vocal range. This song was a perfect way to end the night, and although it was not one of my favorites before seeing it live, it definitely is now.

While watching the show, you’re definitely loving it and soaking in every single moment. However, nothing compares to the post-concert feels. Seeing James Blake in the flesh and hearing his strong yet soothing voice with my own ears is something I could never fully take for granted in the moment, and from the moment I exited the venue to me, right now, in bed, writing this post, I have not stopped thinking of how thankful I am that I got to attend this concert. His performance just proved that he is the embodiment of pure, raw talent, and it was truly one that I will never forget as long as I live.

A New Cymbals Eat Guitars Obsession

Words by Melody Swope

How many universes / am I alive and dead in? / A new one every second / the path of least resistance.

 Courtesy of Pitchfork

Courtesy of Pitchfork

Fourth of July, Philadelphia - Cymbals Eat Guitars

There is something truly incredible about experiencing music. It is honestly the closest thing to magic on Earth; the way that we can fall in love with music is one of the purest forms of love. The Cymbals Eat Guitars show just served as a very real reminder of these truths.

To start, the first time I even heard Cymbals Eat Guitars was almost exactly a week before the show on the 25th. My good friend had sent me their album Pretty Years because he knows my music taste all too well, and honestly, it was love at first listen. I proceeded to listen to it pretty much nonstop for the next couple of days, and when I saw him next, my friend told me that they were playing on Sunday. I knew that the chances of my going were slim because I had so little cash, but I remained hopeful that I would get the chance to see them. Fast forward to the day of and my friend texted me saying that he and his friend had tickets, one of them was for me. I was so excited and I knew that it was going to be an amazing time.

We arrived a little late to the first band, Wildhoney, a sonic force from Baltimore. They would get into these loops of sound and just go on for minutes jamming out. When talking to the lead singer after, she told us about the drama about how the guy who was their bassist that night had just flown in because their regular bassist could not play. So this dude, who totally held it down all night, had not ever met these people or played these songs until just a few hours before. Just a reminder of how amazing great musicians can be.

Next was the band Field Mouse, a great dream pop band with an incredible force of girl power as their head woman. I remember turning to my friend at some point during their set and saying, “I can’t tell if I wanna date her or if I wanna be her,” to which he responded, “Why not both?” And honestly, yeah. But I cannot compete with her actual partner, the frontman of Cymbals Eat Guitars. Honestly, though, he better watch his back, ‘cause I would die for her. Her vocal style was reminiscent of Belinda Carlisle, on top of thick rhythmic guitar and crisp drums. Overall, Field Mouse was a true gem.

The show really began for us, though, when Cymbals Eat Guitars started to play, resulting in my friends and me getting right up against the stage to take in the show as best as we could. They opened with the track “Finally,” the first song on their album Pretty Years, and immediately we knew this was going to be a memorable performance. The dominant energy that came from the frontman, Joe D’Agostino, was enough to get you moving and dancing. We all immediately started to get into the music, singing along, feeling everything we could. The next few songs were just a blur of singing and jamming: an experience only the best shows can provide.

There was one moment that stood out to me at the show. As they started to play a song I was unfamiliar with, I took a moment to take in my surroundings. While standing at the front of the stage with these three boys, who were enthralled with the music, I knew that there was something special about that instant. I could not hold back my smile. It felt like the only things that existed at that moment were us and the music. I also felt so much gratitude to the universe to be standing in between this band's biggest fans, whose happiness and joy rubbed off on me.

Once the songs went back to the album Pretty Years, I was able to sing again. The crowning song for me had to be “Wish,” my favorite song from their album. With a powerful chorus as our anthem, we were all screaming at the top of our lungs. With the bass as my heartbeat and the drums kicking my stomach, I felt like I could fall over from exhaustion at any minute, and the only thing that was keeping me up was the way the guitar made my head feel lighter than air. I know not every word I sang was right, but being there and getting to let it all out was the most I could ever ask for.

After the show, we introduced ourselves to Joe, and he thanked us for getting so into his music. It always amazes me when the band members give fans recognition, because while they appreciate our joy, they are the ones responsible for it. We gave him our eternal thanks for a memorable night and for his amazing music and went on our way. When I finally got home, I took a minute to think about the events of the evening and came to only one conclusion: I was not going to be over Cymbals Eat Guitars for a while.

An Intimate Evening with Alabama Shakes

Words by Gabrielle Duhon

 Courtesy of Free Press Houston

Courtesy of Free Press Houston

Alabama Shakes, or the story of how a late Tuesday night of procrastination and curiosity ended up becoming a last minute decision that I will forever cherish.

Just a few days before Alabama Shakes were coming to my hometown of Houston, I decided to check out which seats were available if any. To my surprise, there were three seats right in the middle of the third row from the stage, as if someone had just resold it minutes before. Without hesitation, I bought a ticket for me, my mother and my sister.

The concert was at the Cynthia Woods Pavilion Center in the Woodlands, Texas. I personally hate this venue because, one, it is outdoors and, two, Houston humidity. My love for Alabama Shakes surpassed this dilemma, and this love was truly tested on this hot, sticky night. It is very easy for bands to lose energy in this large, amphitheater but Alabama Shakes did everything but that.

Unlike most bands that start off the show with a hit song, Alabama Shakes strutted onto the stage to the sound of blaring old school hip-hop. They introduced themselves and began to talk about the night. “Now I’m only gonna give back what y’all give me,” lead woman Brittany Howard exclaimed. An excited, roaring applause from the audience countered that statement, confirming that there would be a lot in store for the night.

This show was the last show supporting their album Sound & Color. With that being said, Alabama Shakes left it all on the stage that night. The band played almost every song off both of their albums, 20 in total.

Even though there were probably 11,000 people also at the venue, this concert was the most intimate concert I have ever attended. The combination of mesmerizing colors, soulful singing, and my third-row seats had me feeling as if I were living in a dream. Bigger bands often stick to their setlists and just play the music but Alabama Shakes made sure to stop every other song to just talk and connect with the audience. To me, that truly made the experience worthwhile. It was as if I was there to see my friends, not a band.

It was such a hot, sweaty night that no one could distinguish my aggressive crying from my sweat, thankfully. I felt so connected and at home with Alabama Shakes that I could not help but sing my heart out to every song. I was just so blown away by the entire performance. Instead of ending off the show with a big, bold hit like most bands will do, the band decided to do the opposite and end the show with “Over My Head”. This soft song of heartbreak truly made my separation with the band even more bittersweet.
Overall, this concert was one I will always remember. Alabama Shakes is the perfect artist to see live with your family or close friends. I felt so happy and at home in their company and would definitely recommend seeing them live to anyone looking for a good night.

Twin Peaks in ATX

Words by Alexa Boone

 Courtesy of Spin

Courtesy of Spin

September 18th, 2015: Austin, TX – AKA the day when Twin Peaks previously played a show in our city at Mohawk Austin. I had been eagerly, thirstily, waiting to see this band live again. Seeing this garage rock band from Chicago live is addicting. Having gotten ahold of a ticket to Levitation Fest 2016 last April, I was beyond ecstatic to see these guys play in Austin again.

UNTIL.

Tragically, Levitation Fest 2016 was cancelled due to inclement weather and the pop-up show Twin Peaks was playing sold out incredibly fast since last minute tickets were only $5. Believe me, I was on the ticket page hours before tickets went on sale. Even then, my browser was unable to live up to the task of quickly purchasing a TP ticket before they sold out.

FAST FORWARD.

September 20th, 2016: Austin, TX – the day that Twin Peaks dudes came to Austin once more, was a day I had been waiting for since this past summer when their tour was announced and the day finally came.

After not having seen them for a YEAR, and as expected of a true fan, I got to the venue early and loyally waited in line outside of Mohawk Austin. Doors were at 6:30pm, and the dudes played around 9pm.

When doors finally opened, I happily made my way to the front right corner of the venue facing the stage because that is exactly where the love of my life, Clay Frankel (guitarist and vocals for TP), stands during their shows. Excited as sh!t, and gleeful as could be, I waited patiently for the bands to come onstage.

The opening bands did their job of getting the audience even more hyped about being at the show. Modern Vices, a 5 guy act from also Chicago, played an incredible, small set of songs and got the ball rolling for the night with their melodic tunes.

Seeing White Reaper, a garage band from Kentucky, perform live was similar to drinking a RedBull and having it immediately hit your bloodstream, causing insane energy in the crowd.

One of the best parts about attending a Twin Peaks show is the energy in the crowd, and a lot of it can be attributed to their great opening bands like Modern Vices and White Reaper.

By the time the dudes hit the stage, the crowd at Mohawk was ready to go insane. Fans screaming lyrics (me), random people crowd surfing… the show was everything I was hoping it would be. The band played a killer set with a mix of songs from their three albums, Sunken, Wild Onion, and their latest, Down In Heaven.

During my favorite song of theirs, “Holding Roses,” I took it upon myself to buy them flowers like the crazed fan I am and throw them on the stage. It was pretty epic and a local band photographer, Pooneh Ghana, captured some great photos of them handling my roses.

Basically, it was a magical night, and totally worth the wait. I hope to see Twin Peaks dudes again soon, and you know they will be here again in March livin’ it up at SXSW.

Levitation 2016

Words by Josh Fernandez

LEVITATION (formerly Austin Psych Fest) is back for its 9th year this weekend! Taking place at Carson Creek Ranch, the festival will will host 60+ bands and artists, bringing together a wide array of fans.

LEVITATION-2016-web.jpg

This will be my first time attending the festival and I am very excited to be going. My overall preference in genre is focused around hip-hop and alternative r&b, but I definitely enjoy some different sounds, and LEVITATION will be delivering some spectacular different sounds.

Friday, directly following my classes, I will more than likely be spending my day at the Levitation Tent. From here I am most looking forward to catch sets from Shabazz Palaces, Nicolas Jaar, and Flying Lotus! I was able to see Flying Lotus once before at FunFunFunFest in November of 2014, directly following his October release of You’re Dead. His set was amazing and he had the Layer 3 setup which created phenomenal visuals. I look forward to seeing any updates in material, visuals, and possibly viewing his hypercube set up.

Though I’m not sure where I will be during the day on Saturday, you can catch me checking out the later acts at the Reverberation Stage. I will be looking forward to hearing Courtney Barnett play some tracks from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (amazing album name), as well as the man, Brian Wilson, performing Pet Sounds(!!).

Sunday will be an iffy day for me. With two finals on Monday, my LEVITATION experience may have to end early to allocate some study time. (We will see if that really happens though) If everything goes as planned I will be watching Chicano Batman, who headlined the End of the Year Party for St. Edward’s University, at the Levitation Tent. Sidenote: their last full length album, Cycles of Existential Rhyme, was an amazing record that got me hooked immediately, and it was pretty awesome to have them play some songs on our campus. Then, really pushing it, if I stay for the close, I will have to decide between Melody’s Echo Chamber and Caribou, though I may be leaning more towards the latter.

This is just a tentative plan for the weekend, and as we all know, plans fall through sometimes. I’ll be back to let you all know what truly ends up happening. Until then, stay sweet.

Moon Taxi at Emo's

Words by Kanya Maliwan

Moon-Taxi-Preview-640x420.jpg

It’s always fun getting an email hours before a show saying that you got approved for press coverage (aka free admittance). I had the privilege of seeing Moon Taxi with The Lonely Biscuits and The Vanity (Austin, TX) last Thursday at their sold-out show at Emo’s. I was actually the most excited to see The Lonely Biscuits because they have been high on my radar ever since they played St. Edward’s Hillfest my freshman year and ACL in 2014.

They are from Nashville, Tennessee and bring the gravy to every show. Even though they underwent a change last October when it was announced that former lead singer John Paterini was leaving the band, the energy of their live show was the same if not better. The played a mix of old and new songs, and sounded as good as ever. The ended the night with their single “Ma’am,” which premiered early last year and proved that this band is here to stay. With the addition of another live performer and with Grady Wenrich stepping up to do lead vocals, the Lonely Biscuits are continuing to carry on with coolness and enthusiasm.

Closing out the night was the headliner Moon Taxi, also from Nashville. Their energy, lights, and stage presence made for a great show. The kept the crowd engaged the entire time and moved through their setlist perfectly. Even though they performed some slower songs, the band kept the energy up because those songs would develop into something big that the crowd could rock out to. There was a point about halfway through the show where each band member was given a solo spotlight to showcase their instrument, and then all of the sounds came together and it felt like we were sitting in on a major jam session between the band. Overall, it was a great night of music at Emo’s and the applause from the crowd once the set was over affirms that.