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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!





ACL Weekend Two Recap

 

The ritual of ACL has persevered through another year in which lesser known artists have risen to the forefront, headliners have met and exceeded expectations and then the acts that, consequently, flubbed their appearance. For weekend two, gone was the heat stroke-inducing weather of the previous weekend, and in its stead was an overcast, chilly and grey mood that lingered over the festival grounds. With optimal weather threatening to make every set perfectly enjoyable, the backdrop had been set for ideal viewing conditions and spectacular performances


Friday - Day 1

 

While rain tempered the mood a bit, most of Friday was filled with brisk weather and stellar performances.  Flamingosis kicked off Friday with vapor wave-inspired electro jams.  Relaxing and blissful, Flamingosis proved to be the perfect musical segue into a long day at the festival. Cherry Glazerr would come next with their angst-riddled grunge dressed with a heavy dose of Hole and Bikini Kill influence.  Their shoegazed rock would ebb and flow as their feedback-laden droning melodies entranced the crowd. Local duo, Black Pistol Fire, brought a raucous injection of pure rocker mentality and guitar shredding to a crowd that was  ready to turn loose. Stage antics and guitar solos revved up the appeal of these guitar slingers on a mission. King Princess was a pleasant surprise since accompanied with her music, she also brought a heaping pile of sass and witticisms. The dance party would begin with Kaytranada, as the Haitian-Canadian DJ refused to let crowd half-ass their dance moves and unleashed groove after groove for a hungry crowd.  The DJ’s set would end with a slew of hits that would have the crowd singing along and pressing to get closer to the front. Lil Uzi Vert  would blast out his cryptic lyrics over trap beats to a younger crowd who didn’t seem to notice the Vert played the same song twice. Instead of tapping into the nostalgia wellspring of Guns and Roses, I would opt for Tame Impala who despite having no new releases, played a show that featured nearly every hit of theirs, while a lightshow melting minds of viewers. 

Many of Tame Impala’s audience worshipped at the altar of Kevin Parker and it wasn’t hard to see why this Aussie psych rock band had ascended to the headliner spot, as their show was a grandiose spectacle of psychedelic brilliance.

 

Best of the Day:  Tame Impala, Cherry Glazerr, Kaytranada

Let Down:  Raconteurs


Saturday - Day 2

 

ACL on Saturday got off to a fast start with local powerhouse hip-hop acts, Blackillac and Abhi the Nomad, playing early sets that energized the crowd and pleased local fans. The momentum of the early afternoon hit a snag when Houston hot girl, Megan Thee Stallion, didn’t show up to her set leaving, a legion of her fans disgruntled. Denzel Curry and Sigrid both brought an inordinate amount of energy and stage presence to their respective sets, while Tierra Whack displayed why her soulful R&B stylings were making her one of the hottest rising artists around. Lead singer of the Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard, answered many fans questions as to whether Howard would have quality solo songwriting outside of Alabama Shakes. Howard brought a tour de force of soulful vocals, epic melodies and incendiary political statements that made her set one of the most memorable of the weekend. Kali Uchis ignited a latin-flavored dance party that was as genre-bending as it was infectious and Billie Eillish unleashed her darkly intimate hits in front of a massive crowd which hung on her every word and move. Emily Haines of Metric was in rare form on Saturday as the rock goddess led her band through some heavy-hitting deep cuts. The night would end in grandiose fashion with Childish Gambino returning to avenge last year’s cancelled show.  Gambino rolled out the crowd-pleasers and didn’t hold anything back for what might have been one of his last performances as Childish Gambino

 

Best of the Day:  Kali Uchis, Metric, Brittany Howard

Let Down: Megan Thee Stallion

 

Sunday - Day 3

 

The final day of the two week invasion that is ACL, ended with what can be described as a grand finale of musical acts. Aussie hell raisers, Mallrat, served as a welcomed kick-in-the-teeth punk rock salutations to the day.  Only to be followed by Idles, who may be the most galvanizing yet raw band in the world right now.  The English punk outfit had a small but dedicated crowd that turned ACL into an anarchist mosh pit for the span of an hour. The dexterous and mesmerizing Gogo Penguin were themes technically music proficient group I saw all weekend and their mix of older jazz and blues with newer upbeat melodies made them incredibly magnetic. Houston songwriter turned performer, Wrabel, would unleash his heavenly voice on the BMI stage, and may have saddled himself as the candidate most likely to move up in stage size by next year’s fest. Third Eye Blind poured all of the nostalgia onto their audience, and even though they played “Motorcycle Driveby” it was not enough to escape the visceral feeling that the band was just going through the motions. The award for largest and most excitable crowd would go to Lizzo as her rising stardom and powerful live show coalesced into a magnificent spectacle of female and body-positivity empowerment. One could not ask for a better close to ACL than bringing the enigmatic Robyn to unleash her dance anthems on a weary ACL crowd in need of a pick me up.  While Robyn ambled through some of her slower tracks earlier on, she turned a corner and brought the fierce pop-electro fire that the crowd was asking to be bathed in

 

 

Best of the Day:  Idles, Gogo Penguin, Lizzo

Let Down: Third Eye Blind

 

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Kishi Bashi Enchants All and Excites Compassion at Mohawk

 

It was the perfect Saturday at Mohawk for any seeking heart; the first breeze of Fall blessed Austin as Kishi Bashi and his band enchanted the audience with their orchestra ensemble, playing a mix of hits and songs off his new album Omoiyari – Japanese for Compassion. 

 

Kishi Bashi stood center on violin, playing with fervor, fun, and grace. Pip the Pansy stood to his left, with a black hat like a 70s lampshade and a flute in a quiver on her back. Creativity and sensitivity oozed from the stage and was met with the same from the audience. 

 

The sounds and lyrics of Omoiyari are whimsical and steeped in love, but the album’s narrative grounds itself in the historical and cultural context of the Japanese American internment camps during World War II. Kishi Bashi delves into a sociopolitical study of history in his songfilm, Omoiyari, and the lessons of empathy we can learn from a not distant past. Given the detention camps at our border and the festering schism in our country, Kishi Bashi’s album and artistry provides us with hope and a compass. The film is scheduled for release in early 2020. Let’s all go see it and then hang out with Kishi Bashi! 

 

Kishibashi introduced “Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear” as, “a song about love...that thing all we humans are looking for,” but many songs on the album are reminiscent of love. See “Marigolds;” he sings “I was the only one this century/ to remind you all is fine” and, “I wish I met you when your heart was safe to hold.” Or even, “Song for You,” that sings just like it sounds, “a song for you...it’s all for you.” 

 

The encore featured an audience favorite The Ballad for Mr.Steak with Mr. Steak himself, a walking steak! Once the steak exited the stage, an elegant white crane appeared behind Kishi Bashi. He closed the night with Summer of ‘42, penetrating my soul and bringing literal tears to my eyes, and there’s no way I was the only one. Every song, every note, everything about the performance felt genuine and carried out with the express interest to promote COMPASSION. Thank you, Kishi. Your art and compassion change the world! 

 

 

Melissa Green

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Bad Birds Release New EP, Into the City

Bad Birds describe themselves as a mix between Television and The Smiths, and that’s a fair comparison. They blend the two sounds well, making music that is dreamy while still holding on to some more somber notes. They retain a harder Television-esque edge, but they're softer and easier on the soul. It like the soundtrack to a late afternoon daydream. This is especially true on their latest release Into The City. The album focuses on nostalgia, growth, and compassion. Vocalist Bobby Cheatham sings with an open heart, rendering a layered set of emotions into each song.
 
The song “Fairy Tail,” which is the opener on Into The City, starts the EP off with a sense of trepidation. It sounds like the rock’n’roll version of a dirge, and the somber lyrics speak of guilt, the passage of time, and the dangers of fairy tales. The guitar and bass, played by Mark Rodriguez and Adam Setzer, are particularly strong, thrumming with a low, raspy energy as the song approaches its end. The urgency within them resonates just as strongly as the lyrics.
 
The EP does give us plenty of fun, lighthearted moments as well. “Right One” is a great example of this. The songs subject material stays true to the album’s serious tones, but the instrumentals are more energizing and friendly. Drummer Kevin Flack keeps the beat light and airy, and the guitar riffs flow easily alongside it. Similarly, “New Heart” is friendly and inviting. You can hear the influence of The Smiths in Cheatham’s languid, romantic vocals. The band’s chemistry is strong, and the way they play off each other adds a level of genuine enjoyment to the music. This enjoyment translates well on the album and places the listener more solidly into the album as a participant.
 
-Avril Carrillo

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