Is it that time of year already? The first wave of SXSW artist was announced this morning and while we only recognized one band from our state Publicist UK (out of Longmont), we are expecting more as the other waves of artist are soon announced. Some of our favorites made the list including Residual Kid, UME, Emily Wolfe, Mini Mansions, and Ben Kweller. You can read the list of artist here. Stay tuned for more SXSW information in the coming weeks.
Day One | Austin City Limits
We arrived excited for a great day of musical festivities on Friday. With clear skies and huge crowds occupying Zilker Park, we were excited for the days awesome bands. Austin City Limits Music Festival is perhaps one of the most organized festivals in the country, with a well layed out infrastructure and easy to navigate stage setup, it was rather painless jumping around from stage to stage. This years lineup was the most diverse we have seen in a few years with a plethora of genres being represented. Regardless of the genre crowds showed up in masses to enjoy music on all scales. One of the bands on our radar was BROODS, which if you can remember played an awesome show at The Bluebird recently. With a new album making waves, it was great to hear the new material live. The entertained the early crowd on Friday and set the tone for us the rest of the weekend.
Next up for us was the legendary Jimmy Cliff. Jimmy has been gracing us for the past few years with great feel good songs such as "You Can Get It If You Really Want It", "The Harder They Come", and some choice covers of "I Can See Clearly Now". Truly an experience to witness, and one of our favorite sets of the weekend. So much indeed that many in the crowd were seen singing and dancing to the infectious classics.
As the crowds began to pack in Zilker Park, we headed to The Honda Stage to capture one of our favorites we discovered at SXSW a few years ago. Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland the trio of Lauren Mayberry (vocals), Iain Cook (guitar, bass, synths) and Martin Doherty (synths, samplers, and vocals) comprise the group CHVRCHES. Having established themselves in the US now, the electronic pop trio performed a near flawless set with songs off their album The Bones of What You Believe. Crowd favorites included "Recover" (by the way one of our personal favorites), "The Mother We Share", which had the most reaction. Mayberry although small in stature manages to carry her voice to great heights and stands out as one of the most talented singers in music right now.
From time to time we love to check out a band that has created a buzz from radio play. Such was the case for Bleachers. The group is made up of lead singer Jack Antonoff of the group Steel Train and Fun. With catchy lyrics and a strong stage presence, Bleachers was probably one of the most exciting bands we saw during the fest. A hurricane of energy brought out playful and dance friendly actions from the packed crowd. Not bad for a mid-late afternoon set. The highlight was a full crowd sing-a-long of the bands hit single "I Wanna To Get Better". The band will be making their way to Denver on November 12, we suggest checking them out.
Our next act stole our hearts and managed to perform by far one of the festivals best sets. St. Vincent took residence on The Retail Me Not Stage (which by the way, hosted some of the best performances of the weekend). Described by many as art rock/indie pop St. Vincent commands your attention right away with her on stage presence and unique array of fashionable attire. Highlight of the set was when she pointed at a photographer to give her his camera then posed with it mimicking taking photos of the crowd as they erupted with glee. She also managed to channel her inner gymnast by climbing to the top of the stage scaffolding while belting out her lyrics without a hitch. A energetic performance to say the least, she also managed to win our hearts with an incredible display of showmanship and carefully orchestrated setlist. A true talent and perfect live act that shouldn't be missed.
Our first dilemma of the festival was upon us, with a festival of such grand proportion, one is sure to run into some scheduling conflicts. For us night one had us contemplating between Beck and Outkast, both incredible performers to say the least. We had just covered Outkast during their recent trip to Denver for The Mad Decent Block Party not too long ago, Beck on the other hand we missed his epic performance at Red Rocks. We made up our minds and decided to go with Outkast, based purely on the basis that we may not get to see this band tour for a long time (if any). We had so much fun covering them last time that we couldn't wait to do it again. Playing the almost identical setlist that they have all festival season, we were set for a two hour set taking us down memory lane. The duo opened with "B.O.B", quite possibly the only way to open an Outkast set. The energy bestowed on the 75,000 in attendance was nothing short of an all out party as the band played hit after hit. With Big Boi and Andre 3000 commanding a stage backed by a full band, the songs were brought to life with an abundance of energy and charisma that has followed the band for 20 years not. As we made our way to catch the tail end of Beck, we must mention that the same exact party was being thrown on the opposite side of the park. Not a bad opening day for the festival.
CHECK OUT OUR DAY ONE SLIDESHOW!
It is finally October, and although the summer festival season has finally come to a close, the fall and spring season of music conferences is about to start. The annual kickoff is CMJ - the College Music Journal festival, which takes over New York City every year towards the end of October. A great place to discover new artists poised to break, and full of conferences for those more interested in the business aspect of the music world, CMJ has a little something for everyone. While at SXSW this past March, we got the chance to interview New York locals Lily & The Parlour Tricks, who will be performing at CMJ in the next few weeks. Their newly released track, "Lovesongs" dropped just last month, and the band seems ready to tackle upcoming festivals with their claws out. Read below to hear what Maddie and the band discussed in March, from the musical surroundings of their city all the way to our most highly debated question of #SWSW14: BBQ vs. tacos.
(during this interview, Ultra5280 will be indicated with "MC" before the questions from Maddie, and answers from the band will be indicated by "LATPT")
MC: Hi gang! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for Ultra5280. How was SXSW? How was this year different than past ones?
LATPT: It was a lot of fun. Crazy, though. The amount of people was a little surreal this year. It was like the whole city was a clown car. Very packed. But the shows were great. So much good energy.
MC: Your group is from New York, but write and record often in Nashville now...those are two drastically different musical scenes. How has spending time in these almost opposite environments effected your sound/writing?
LATPT: I think it's less the difference in location as it is who we're working with. We started traveling to Nashville in order to work with our producer, Emery, who is based there. With his guidance we began entering a new musical landscape, one that we find ourselves very comfortable in. It all unfolded very naturally, and I believe it would have no matter where the work was taking place. But we all find our time in Nashville to be incredible in terms of focus. I had always been pretty skeptical about the idea of leaving town to record; I assumed if a studio was good it didn't matter where it was, you'd still get the job done. I still fundamentally think that's true. But for the six of us to really hunker down, live together for a stretch of time, immerse ourselves fully - it makes a difference. Maybe it's not an audible difference, but it's there. But all of my writing is still done at home in New York. If I have ideas while in Nashville or on the road, I'll record them on my phone, but I wait til I'm home to start fleshing things out.
MC: Do you feel like being based out of NYC is still beneficial for artists?
LATPT: I've lived here my whole life, so it's hard to answer that question. I can't imagine being based anywhere else. I think musically the city is tricky; there's an overabundance of artists. On the one hand, that's wonderful. Everyone should be so lucky to have their city overflow with creative people. But on the other hand, of course, it's easy to fall through the cracks. There's so much stimulation, so many things to see. It requires a certain set of muscles, to live and work here, to be receptive to all the stuff the city has to offer and not feel lost in the thick of it. We're doing pretty OK so far. It's home.
MC: Tell us a little bit about your new album.
LATPT: It's funny. We pulled all of our old stuff off the internet and iTunes, so for some people who have been listening for a while we've gone through this massive sonic and visual overhaul, and for others we're just some new indie band. The new recordings exemplify those changes. We recorded much more than an album-worth of music, and we're still in the process of deciding what will go on it and what will get cut. And we still want to record more! We're taking our time. It's the dawn of a new era for us. Everything counts.
MC: What's next for you all? What 'big and exciting' things can we expect to see from you next?
LATPT: We're touring more, which is fun. Playing a handful of festivals. Looking forward particularly to Oaktoberfest in Chicago and CBGB Fest and CMJ in New York in the coming months. Otherwise a new single and music video are on the horizon...
MC: Okay, time for our 3 SXSW questions. you can answer one of them, or all three, but these are the questions we've asked to every band we met at SXSW this year:
1) Describe SXSW in 15 words or less:
LATPT: Sweat. Beer. BBQ. Guacamole. The Driskill. Parking lot misery. Lunatics. Loud. Music.
2) BBQ vs. Tacos. You can only pick one of Austin's top cuisines. Which one do you pick, and why?
LATPT: BBQ. Sometimes you just want a pile of meat on a plate, and Austin will give that to you so, so perfectly. We dream of Ironworks.
3) What band were YOU most excited to see at SXSW this year? Regardless of if it actually happened or not, what was the top act on your own personal list?
LATPT: St. Vincent. and i did.
MC: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! We hope to see you all in Denver soon.
LATPT: Thank you! Cheers.
According to Rolling Stone the lineup for this years Fun Fun Fun Fest has been announced. The three day festival will take place at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas on November 7, 8, and 9th. Festival tickets go on-sale beginning Tuesday, May 20th. Visit the festival’s website for more information. The lineup for this years fest is looking pretty promising as it includes metal legends Judas Preist, hip hop legend NaS (who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Illmatic), and indie darlings Death Cab For Cutie. Be sure to keep up with us with all the latest news.
I decided to write this article based on my past experiences attending South By Southwest (SXSW). I will be embarking to Austin, Texas for my tenth straight SXSW this year. I can safely say that I have seen and done a lot during my past few visits to one of the biggest music festivals in the world. This is my attempt to shed some light on how to do SXSW the right way.
I first attended SXSW in 2005, but was actually by accident. I went out to Austin to see some dear friends and to go see The Strokes at Stubbs that year, barely knowing that a few days later the actual festival was taking place. I only stuck around for the first day of the festival and knew then that this was possibly something I could attend annually. As each year passed I got familiar with the inner workings of how the festival operated, which is quite confusing at times. There is basically two ways to attend the festival: the "official" way by means of an official badge, or the "unofficial" way which has grown exponentially since the festivals inception. What's the difference, you ask? Official badges are usually obtained by industry types, giving them access to the official showcases, panels, parties and etc. These badges come at a hefty fee ($650 +) and go up in price as the festival nears. The unofficial way to enjoy SXSW is to partake in what are known as the day parties. These are usually held during the day in the venues along Sixth Street and outlying areas of downtown. Within the last few years we have seen these day parties become widely commercialized by huge companies such as Pandora, Doritos, Levi's, Samsung and more. From a marketing standpoint it's pure genius: bring in a few bands, offer free booze and food and BAM, you've hit your niche market. I have been fortunate to cover some amazing artist during these unofficial parties, acts like Lou Reed, N.E.R.D, Hole (Courtney Love), Kanye West, Odd Future, Nas, Elle Goulding, Imagine Dragons, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and many more. The unofficial showcases almost out-rival their official counterparts. The thing with these showcases is that you never know who will show up and perform, it's best to be on your feet and ready for anything.
It comes down to a science with RSVP'ing to a majority of these parties nowadays. Don't ever make a schedule; it is certain that by the time you get to the third band you want to see it will be thrown into a flux. The secret to seeing bands you want to see is to compromise. You will wait in long lines, you will eventually get into the venue, you will get free booze and you will get to see your band. If you plan on going with a group, be prepared to not see them for the duration of the week. Always designate a meeting place at 2 a.m. to meet up (food trucks, historical landmarks, local food spots, etc..).
The thing about attending a festival like this is to choose one place and stay there, its almost guaranteed that the band you want to see will probably be playing 12 more times during the fest (word of advice: choose the venue in which they will take the stage the earliest). Take the chance to discover new venues as well! I can say I have probably seen a show in almost every venue on Sixth Street, the festival's main drag. Some offer intimate experiences and great lines of sight such as The Parish, Red 7, and The Blind Pig. Other venues usually pop up only during the festival and are gone by Sunday morning after the festival ends. Anyone remember when Fader Fort was so small you could literally walk in and out without waiting in line?
If this is your first SXSW, here's a survival guide list of what to carry with you:
- Backup battery chargers (like the Mophie Juice Packs) I usually carry 2
- Sunscreen (it is March, and usually pretty hot)
- Cash (You get to drink for free in many venues, but don't forget to tip your bartenders)
- Toilet paper or napkins (...don't ask...)
- Paper copies of schedules (Your phone battery will die even quicker if you keep trying to look up set-times and venues, especially with the terrible cell reception)
- A light sweater (One year it got so cold I was even freezing [and I live in Denver])
- Gold Bond Medicated for the fellas (Just trust me on this one)
- Hydrate (With so much booze flowing take a minute to treat your body to some H2O)
- Band Aids (You will get blisters if you do not wear the appropriate footwear)
- Hand sanitizer (Austin is weird, you don't want to bring the weird back with you)
- Ear plugs (You don't want to go deaf after the first day)
- Sunglasses (Leave those expensive Ray Ban aviators at home, you will end up with 24 pairs of sunglasses when all is said and done)
Attention all bands!
Have you ever dreamed of playing our FILTER Magazine Cedar Street Courtyard in Austin, TX? We've held one slot open for one of you!
Make sure to enter Ernie Ball's Battle of the Bands contest and win an all-expenses-paid trip to Austin, TX to play a slot at our annual event. Past performers include Bastille, Of Monsters and Men, Band of Skulls, Imagine Dragons, Local Natives, Haim, The Neighborhood and many more.
The grand prize package is worth over $10,000 in gear and accessories including: Music Man guitars & basses, Ernie Ball string endorsement, Blackstar amplifiers, DW drum kit, and inclusion in an upcoming issue of FILTER Magazine and more!
Click on the flyer below to get started!
Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly, grew up steeped in music; playing solo gigs, touring with local bands and working at venues. The four guys came together in Austin in 2010 through coincidence, mutual friends, and a shared love of the classics: Petty, Dylan, Cash, The Band, Allman Bros, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. They immediately began playing together and became The Wild Feathers. The young band spent the next year writing and defining their sound and touring around the country, sharing the stage with Delta Spirit, Surfer Blood and The Heavy, even landing an opening spot on Paul Simon's 2011 fall tour.
The Wild Feathers are a truly American band: their music takes elements of the best of rock, country, folk and blues music and reshapes it in a way that is both unique and modern.
Austin City Limits
Our annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas brought us to our 2nd Annual Austin City Limits Festival this past weekend. Leaving Denver on Friday morning with snow at my doorstep, I couldn't be more excited to make it to the warmer climate down south in Austin. The forecast for the weekend was perfect. This year the lineup included some of my favorite bands that shaped the way I listened to music. It was bands during my high school days such as The Cure and Depeche Mode that would often find their way to my abundance of mix tapes I would often play. While the musical landscape has gone through many phases since, Austin City Limits thrives on the diversity of their lineups each and every year. From indie to hip hop to country and folk, ACL caters to all lovers of music. The festival itself was beautifully organized with accessible restrooms, free water filling stations, wi-fi access throughout the park and on time scheduled performances. With the Austin cityscape as its background, the setting couldn't be more perfect!
Day One | Friday | October 4th
I arrived just in time to catch the tail end of Jimmy Eat World, we covered them last time they were in a Denver and got to the festival just in time for the tail end of their set. The day also played host for awesome performances from Local Natives, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys and fun. One of the highlights of the day was the performance from Wild Belle who captivated the late afternoon audience. With the sun setting on a warm first day the evening gave way to the electronic sounds of Kaskade who had the Honda stage raging, one of the few EDM artist on the bill, he managed to create an all out dance party as the evening gave way to some heavy hitters. Josh Homme and Queens of The Stone Age pulled of a raucous performance as the evening set in, fresh off a ACL Live taping the night before, QOTSA impressed just as they did here at Red Rocks a few months ago.
One of the big disadvantages of any music festivals is the conflicting time slots of certain artist you want to see Such was the case for Friday headliners Muse and Depeche Mode. I had never seen DM and while they played an integral part of my musical upbringing, I marked them down on my schedule once it was first released. Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher have been giving us a dose of electro-synth pop since the early eighties, easily establishing themselves as true pioneers of a music generation that has become a huge influence on many artist today. They cranked out hits such as “Personal Jesus”, Enjoy The Silence”, and “Policy of Truth” along with newer hits like “Welcome To My World”.
Purity Ring, Wild Belle, Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, QOTSA and Kaskade.
Fad of the Day:
Flags on Flags on Flags, American festivals are starting to rival those European festivals with the amount of flags we see nowadays.
Day Two | Saturday | October 5th
Our second day found us taking our spot at the AMD stage for Portugal. The Man, who wasted no time in kicking things off with their hit “Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue”, off of the album Evil Friends. The remainder of their set included hits such as “Modern Jesus”, “So American”, and “The Sun”. They will be stopping in our fair city next week on October 18th, we highly suggest you attend. As the weather continued to become sweltering we managed to trek our way across to catch Passion Pit and The Joy Formidable, who put on some amazing mid-day sets. As the temperature began to drop it was time to setup shop for hip-hop reigning heavyweight and premier trash talker Mr. Kendrick Lamar. We had a chance to see Kendrick at SXSW and he has continued to become one of the genres most controversial and talked about emcees. With an album that made many “best of” including mine, its no wonder that the majority of the 75,000 in attendance made their way to catch a glimpse of one of the games best. The night gave way to what we call in Colorado hoodie weather and in Austin “frigid” conditions. Not that it mattered for long as The Cure took the stage and took me back to the days of broken hearts and a time were Robert Smith was all that mattered. As important as Depeche Mode was to me, The Cure played an equal part of my musical journey. Considered as early pioneers of the goth-post punk wave of the early eighties, it was albums like Disintegration and Wish that often made their way to my tape player. While age had definitely taken its toll on the band, they sound just as they did back in the day. Listening to songs such as “Pictures of You”, and “Friday I’m In Love” created the ultimate nostalgic euphoria I had imagined perfectly.
Portugal. The Man, Silversun Pickups, Grimes, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar and The Cure.
Fad of the Day:
Craft Beers. With the inclusion of the new craft tent, it was easy for patrons to enjoy their favorite beers from across the country. Special shout-out to our own Breckenridge Brewery who managed to quench our thirst on a couple occasions.
Day Three | Sunday | October 6th
The last day of any festival is truly a battle for the strong minded. With a few festivals under our belt, we are used to the grueling conditions. We arrived just in time to catch Franz Ferdinand (who coincidentally we saw at our first ACL in 2005). One of our favorite groups that managed to make our “must-see” were Divine Fits, who played to a rather sparse crowd. As they finished wrapping up their set Toro y Moi was entertaining the smaller Bud Light stage with a rather strong performance. The evenings bands were probably the best of the three day weekend, with The National, Tame Impala, and Phoenix each holding their own with captivating sets. I must go on the record on saying that I am probably one of the biggest Radiohead fans in the world. When it was announced that the Thom Yorke led side-project of Atoms For Peace was headlining, i booked my trip to Austin within seconds. The supergroup led by Yorke and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Goodrich on keys and synths, Joey Waronker of R.E.M on drums and Mauro Refosco on percussion. The supergroup started in LA and has released a studio album titled Amok. The band managed to play almost two hours of afro-beat inspired music and having the opportunity to witness Yorke and Flea on the same stage jamming together was something I will never forget. In fact it was probably the highlight of our weekend.
Foxygen, MS MR, Divine Fits, White Denim, The National, Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, and Atoms For Peace.
Fad of The Day:
Texas A&M apparel, looks like Johnny Football has made a splash amongst college football fans in the city of Austin, which is a victory itself considering the whole town bleeds burnt orange.
Austin City Limits by the numbers:
Miles walked: 18.7
Red Bulls consumed: 7
Kind Bars consumed: 6
Overpriced beers purchased: 3
Festival T-shirt: 1
Colorado flags seen: 2
Breakfast tacos destroyed: 4
Free cocktails in the media tent: 8
Pedicabs taken: 2
Sweet Tea Leaf bottles drank: 11
Deep Eddy Vodka drinks: 5 (in one hour)
Amount of times phone battery died: 3