austin

Sofi Tukker Fires Up Stubbs On A Cold Night

 

“I dare you not to dance! I dare you not to dance!” Haiku Hands has a next-level understanding of how to get a crowd to start moving, and that sometimes means using reverse psychology.  The Aussie power-dance quartet asked the crowd to lose control while they danced, and a large Stubbs crowd was willing to oblige since most of them were their to shake their ‘rumbas’ to Sofi Tukker anyway. Haiku Hands served as a perfect opener to Sofi Tukker, stirring up the crowd’s willingness to dance on a chilly October Austin night.

 

Sofi Tukker exploded onto the stage with sexual physicality that was emphasized by pulsating rhythms and primitive percussion. If it was Sofi Tukker’s intention to coax the animalistic tendencies out of the crowd, they succeeded all too well. The throng of dancers in the crowd had created an amorphous vibrating organism of bliss.  Songs like “Fuck They” and “Mi Rumba” continued to level-up the energy with each consecutive track.

 

The beauty of a Sofi Tukker set is their song quality is strong enough to sprinkle in hits at the outset but still have enough to backload the end of the set and encore. “Swing”, “Best Friend”, “Batshit” and “Purple Hat”  all rapid-fired with out regard to the physical limitations of endurance for those who were dancing. The set would end with the duo’s most romanticized track “Fantasy” which allayed the crowd with beautiful deep house odyssey. A one-song encore would ensue in which they would play “Drinkee” and send the sweaty crowd smiling into the Austin night.

 

 

   

Rye Mountain Revelry Teases Upcoming Debut Album

 

In just seven tracks, Rye Mountain Revelry firmly plant their musical roots and sonic identity. Their self-entitled debut weaves together a cross-country pattern of folk, country, and bluegrass. Summoning back the Alternative Country movement of the 90’s, RMR, leaning more Son Volt than Wilco, use this borrowed nostalgia to springboard their work into the modern landscape. A slew of instrumentation envelops the grounded songwriting to create a feeling that the listener is just as much a part of the musical experience as the musicians. “Holler Siren Serenade” finds itself in Dwight Yoakam’s wheelhouse, while the close inter-gendered harmonies on “Whiskey Moon” hearken to an Appalachian Fleetwood Mac. 

 

    The union of Eric and Anna Madden forms the beating heart of group. Meeting in Nashville in 2014 and marrying in the same church as Johnny Cash and June Carter in Franklin, Kentucky, the couple’s musical prowess grew and developed with their life partnership. Originally only playing lead fiddle on Eric’s songs, Anna began to collaborate lyrically until beginning to write on her own songs like “(Take Me Back to) Turquoise Mountain.” With difficulty finding like-minded bandmates in Nashville, the Madden’s ended up in Austin in 2017. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Eric McKinney of Wonderland Studios helped Anna and Eric track and overdub the EP before finding bassist Barret O'Donnell and drummer David Pearson via Craigslist. RMR now write and arrange with a full a full band in mind.

 

    Imagery of human connection and moon-lit desert landscapes fill the songs with a wistful yearning to get out of the confines of city life. “Without the distractions and isolation-effect of big city life,'' Eric explains, “it allows people to draw closer together and look to each other to see the value each of us has, as well as the inherent value and beauty of nature. Walking up the mountains at night and seeing the stars without any light pollution to the soundtrack of a lonesome train whistle in the distance was something I was extremely blessed to have as part of my raising and development.” These sentiments are not only reflected in the recordings, but also in the band’s future plans. As much as they love Austin, they hear the calls of “honkytonks and dance halls” from all over Texas. 

 

    With an upcoming show in San Marcos on November 9th at Tantra Coffee and plans to begin production on a full length record this winter, keep up with Rye Mountain Revelry on their website ryemountainrevelry.com and Facebook page. 


- Hayden Steckel

 

 

 

 

   

Julia Jacklin Seizes Full Moon Folk Magic at the Parish

 

Julia Jacklin headlined at The Parish on Saturday with Christian Lee Hutson opening the show. These two folk-playing song-writing masters seized the full moon energy to entrance the audience in joviality despite their somber songs.

 

Christian Lee Hutson played a solo set on the acoustic guitar, most notably was his rendition of “I Just Can't Fucking Do It Anymore.” A gentleman dressed in all black with a white collar, he countered the melancholy vibes of his lyrics with playful interactions with the audience between songs. 

 

Julia Jacklin began her set with “Body” from her latest album crushing, released earlier this year. She appears as a humble angel, a siren from Sydney in a vintage plaid skirt and her hair clipped behind her ear. Her humility and humor complement her striking vulnerability. She shares with the audience that her music career started with her performing Evanescence’s “Wake Me Up Inside” at the high school talent show. 

 

The band moved into “Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You.” They’ve been saving the disco ball for this moment. The dancing spinning lights illuminate the room with blues and greens as soon as the electric guitar introduces the melody. The lights lighten the punch of the convicting lyrics: “don’t know how to keep loving you/ now that I know you so well.” Be careful thinking about that one. 

 

She encored with “Comfort” and I kind of resented her for it because I didn’t want to cry, but this song...the way her voice trembles, the slow soft chord progressions, the words she strings together and how they all coalesce to gently assault your heart with the truth. A song of affirmations following the pain of breaking up, Julia sings, “You’ll be okay. You’ll be all right. You’ll get well soon and sleep through the night,” and in the next verse, “He’s gonna thrive. He’ll be just fine.” It’s truly a positive song dressed in an achy tone. No matter where you are, you’re not alone in pain. Even angels like Julia Jacklin have experienced heart ache as part of our human condition, and her art aids to heal herself but also those who listen.  

 

Thank you, Julia, for your vulnerable display of affection and art. You inspire tender hearts to trust and stay tender even after they’ve been bruised. 

 

-Melissa Green 

   

ACL Weekend Two Highlights

 

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

Leaves More to be Desired:  The 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

Leaves More to be Desired:  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

Leaves More to be Desired:  Third Eye Blind

 

 

   

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