08:36 AM on 03/15/14
Day 4 today and I’m feeling the sunburn. However, it’s raining today, which is a bit of a bummer. Yesterday I hung out at the Charlie Says Fest.
The showcase started off with NGHBRS. I’ve heard great things about them – especially that Instagram music video – but I’ve never checked out too much of their material. Their live show was a blast though. Despite being early, it brought a fair crowd. The band’s instrumentation tones were definitely a highlight, with the fuzzy, gritty guitar and bass tones resonating throughout the whole set. Vocalist Ian Kenny also deserves every compliment. He even sung into a megaphone at the end of the set.
Hopeless Records own For The Foxes were up next, playing a surprise acoustic show. The acoustic environment worked nicely for the small outdoor stage. It also allowed me to really realize how talented of a singer Nicholas Francis is – simply put, the guy has a stunningly pretty voice. That’s really the easiest and most accurate way to put it. They also played a really great cover – more like a unique rendition – of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” I love when bands put their own spin on a cover, and these guys did just that – acoustic and all.
The guys in Tiny Moving Parts brought some heaviness to the showcase next. For being a heavier band, they put on a super fun and energetic show. Frontman Dylan Mattheisen carries wild emotion on stage, yelling his lungs out while rocking on guitar. With the help of bassist Matthew Chevalier also on vocals, the band’s live show is definitely something to see. It’s hard to believe these guys have only been around for a few years and are only one album into the game, as their live show exercises great skill. If I remember correctly, I believe they said they just finished recording a record, so consider me quite excited for that one.
The more punk influenced PUP took the stage next. All the way from Canada, I hadn’t really had the chance to learn much about these guys before SXSW started. I did check out their upcoming self-titled record the other day before the set, and it’s quite good – one of the best punk rock records so far this year. Their live show fully lives up to the recorded version – it even blows it out of the water I’d say. PUP embodies exactly what I love seeing punk rock bands live so much – they can really go wild on stage whereas albums employ a sense of restraint. If you get the chance while they’re in the states, check out their live show. And on April 8th, give their record a listen.
The locals in Driver Friendly were the penultimate act. Despite the fact that I live here and have been a big fan of the guys for awhile, I had yet to see them live somehow. Their show drew the biggest crowd of the day, as fellow Austinites and visitors sung along with every word of the set. Tracks like “I Can See Canyons” and “Ghosts” were absolute anthems for the crowd. Every song displayed exactly how skilled each vocalist is, proving exactly why having multiple vocalists can highly benefit a band – especially live. Not to mention the fact that the trombone and trumpet made for quite a fun live show. The band also played a new track – I can’t spell the title – that was quite catchy, as expected. They just finished up their new record with Matt Malpass, and it’s probably my most anticipated record currently.
Last but not least, Diamond Youth closed out the showcase. I’ve had quite a few discussion about these guys with various people throughout the festival, and almost everyone agrees on one thing. If any band is going to be a big rock band type like Foo Fighters or Queens of the Stone Age, it’s these guys. Also rocking a Hey Mercedes vibe, Diamond Youth rock heavily distorted guitars that filled the outdoor area. “Can’t Shake The Feeling” and “Separator” made for a rock show. It’s pretty crazy that these dudes only have three EPs under their belt and manage to sound this solid live. Here’s to hoping for a full length for them soon and a big year for these guys this year.
I couldn’t really figure out much underage/badge-less shows for the evening, so I grabbed dinner and headed back to my apartment to charge my dead phone. Today is rainy, but I may still try to go (finally) see The 1975. Not sure what else is on the agenda.