After spending the first day of our SXSW experience on a red-eye bender of no sleep, we decided to actually bring the camera out on the second day and take some snaps and video of some of our favorite performances. We were useless the first day and pretty much just cruised around downtown getting to know the area, however we did catch Nite Jewel, Death Kit, The Soft Moon, Toro Y Moi, Tune Yards, Bad Brains, OFF! and a few more on our drunken first day out. It was a wild night.
As for our second day of SXSW (Thursday, March 24) we covered a lot of grounds and damn were our feet hurting by the end of the day. Speed walking from venue-to-venue in 85 degree humid heat ain’t no treat. But once you reach your destination and expose your ears and eyes to some musical greatness, it’s all worth the draining journey of getting there.
We kicked off our day at Waterloo Records under the sun to catch Jessica Lea Mayfield, the Royal Bangs and Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. We then stumbled upon a kick-ass punk band at Beerland called, Human Eye. We closed our night up at Spinner’s private party for some TV On The Radio and Charles Bradley, which was off the hook!
Jessica Lea Mayfield was a special treat with her bleached blond hair and super high heels, you’d expect the gal to start singing some glam rock or something judging by her attire, but this Ohio lady is all twangy indie folk. I have no idea how she performs in heels, but she sure looked cute doing it. Discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Mayfield has sweet and inviting voice that boasts honesty lyrics. A bit too low key for my liking but it was still a charming performance that fans seemed to really enjoy.
The Royal Bangs took the stage next, and bang out it they did. Now this was definitely my cup of tea. And just like the previous performer, Jessica Lea Mayfield, the Royal Bangs also have a close connection to the Black Keys. Drummer, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys had discovered the Tennessee indie rockers back in 2008 and signed them to his label, Audio Eagle Records. These guys have an awesome jangly sound that exudes heavy guitar riffs, dominant pulsating drums and a few electro keys here-and-there, all brought together by the weathered-sweet vocals of front-man, Ryan Schaefer. The Royal Bangs gave us that heavy dose of rock and roll that we were so craving.
What really got the party started on this sweltering day, was Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. Holy shit can these guys put on a show and incite a full on rock and roll party! Black Joe Lewis is one cool dude who can handle his axe with ultimate style and riveting skill. The brass section of the band was debonair and gave the Honey Bears that big band flavor. The hottie guitarist and bassist were also a treat to watch up on the stage as they chimed the mic together and dance with their guitars. This band really knows how to work the crowd and keep them begging for more. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Black Joe Lewis was joined by 70s funky gospel band, The Relatives. Clad in some loud blue and gold suits, The Relatives brought the soul claps and gospel howls to the crowd before them. What happened next was a full on dance party.
While headed to the Green Zone to fuel up and charge my iPhone, I heard an insane 70s-style punk sound across the way at Beerland. I ventured over and found a wild trio shredding it up on the patio to a packed crowd. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Human Eye are some serious dope shit. They blast out psychedelic sounds mixed in with heavy punk riffs all the while looking punk as fuck. These guys have a great stage presence and I hope they head to L.A. soon.
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Words and Photography by Sandra Burciaga
Check out our SXSW video montage below of the aforementioned bands and a few wackos on the 6th street jungle! SXSW sinners are going to hell!