After listening to the entire 1,900 song Spotify SXSW playlist, having scoured social media pages to find band suggestions, looked though pages of party listings and showcase announcements, a plan was in place as well as, a couple of back up ideas as per usual. We fly to Austin really early with very little sleep. Our intention was to just lounge the first afternoon then start the festival on Monday night but after the early flight and a few pints, we decided to keep awake by going for a bit of a hike to Hotel Vegas and jump into a showcase.
We saw a few bands before dinner, Lucia, a punk band from Glasgow, Joseph King, an American singer songwriter, Jaimee Harris, Austin based Americana folk singer similar to Emmylou Harris, but probably, the stand out set came on the outside stage at the venue (venue has 3 stages) and its from Glasgow's Catholic Action. Punk Pop guitar driven 4 piece are here in Austin and they have taken over the main stage with some blisteringly wonderful songs. These youngsters provide the energy we need to see this afternoon out and with their set over, it is time to actually check into our hotel and freshen up and grab dinner then off for our first night in Austin.
After dinner, there are a few choices, but a visit to the newly renovated Antones and our one and only chance to see local musicians Shakey Graves makes the decision an easy one.
The party, put on by Capital One, is a flashy event with free beer and free food but we barely have enough energy to take advantage of it. Star Parks are first up, a wonderful 6 piece from Austin. When you feature a trombone and trumpet player, you already have my interest piqued and these guys start this evening off really well. Its a beautiful mix of psychedelia mixed with pop harmonies and a big sound and while the influences come fast and furious, its a great surprise for us as we knew very little about them before we got here but they impress us both and keep us interested.
Band of Heathens are up next. Having seen them before, I have some idea what to expect. These local guys have been around for sometime and produce a nice set of Americana that my not feature a horns section but with big keys up front and Beatles and Rolling Stones influences coming at us. It's a good follow up to Star Parks. When they throw in a cover version of Sweet Revenge by John Prine, its an added bonus.
The big band of the evening is up next and though it starts a little late, Shakey Graves does not disappoint. The crowd in the venue includes a lot of Austin folks who love the chance to see local band in this small venue so they are stoked. Shakey Graves hits the stage and this 4-piece (he used to perform all on his own but has recently added a band to tour with him) play a set of new and old songs (new album is finished) and its the perfect blend of folk, blues and Americana. A full band helps some of his earlier work stand out more in a live setting and the new songs are received well by the crowd, its a nice way to end the Capital One night at Antones.
While exhaustion at this point is playing its part, our walk home happens to pass by the British Embassy Bar and Sandra heads home while I take the opportunity to check out Our Girl. This Brighton 3 piece are exactly what was needed. Its punchy..guitar driven garage rock and its noisey in a way that is necessary at 1am. It gives me just enough of a lift to push me through the last set of the night at the Brit Embassy and that's from Life. I have seen Life before. This time it's more upbeat then I recall from previous shows but that's a good thing. My hotel is only a few blocks away so it takes an energetic hook laden set to keep me standing. As it turns out, a number of Toronto folk made the same decision to end the night here so I am not alone and its good to catch up and end the evening off well. Its been a solid start to SXSW.
Tuesday at SXSW was really the first full day of activity and we were heading to The Blackheart bar for the Current Radio stations week long 2 stage event. The bands came fast and furious on the stages, one outside and the other inside. Inside, they had set up recording equipment to film and record the events to be viewed online so that meant a lot of the bigger acts were on the small stage. That meant some crowded times at the Blackheart.
First on the main stage was Jerry Williams. This young indie pop singer absolutely knocked her set out of the park, a lovely pop 4 piece from Portsmouth and one of the best shows of the day. Can see why BBC 1 is in love with this young lady. Morgan Saint was up next inside, a delicate and powerful little singer/songwriter. Another tasty set outside from this American alt country singer Rayland Baxter. Little hints of a punk side keep you on your toes and Rayland puts together a little energy to keep the afternoon going.
Son Little is next up inside and its now that the size of this inside stage starts getting problematic. The crowd has moved inside so its a little difficult to see Son Little (given name is Aaron Livingston) but you really don't need to see this guy, just listen. American Rhythm & Blues comes easily to him and you can hear some Charles Bradley and Gary Clark Jr in most of his songs. Its a nice solid but crowded show inside.
Now outside to a most anticipated set by Shame. My word...these kids produce some of the finest and angriest brit post punk I have seen in sometime. The songs are really well put together and nobody can doubt their lead singers willingness to leave everything out there. Charlie Steen leads these guys with an unapologetic approach to punk rock and drags you into their little world for the entire set. Even non punk fans would have to sit back and give these guys their dues, there is no let up and everyone has enjoyed a 40 minute explosion of energy on the outside stage.
Now its time to go inside for a complete change of pace and a short set from the lovely Nilufer Yanya. This British singer does very well on the smaller stage, with solid R&B jazz and hip hop flavors mixed with some political pop lyrics and changes of pace. Its short but sweet and now outside for Kyle Craft. Its great to see Kyle Craft again, especially on the outside stage where his energetic Roots Rock set and flashes of harmonica play well on the outside stage. As soon as Kyle is off ....everyone rushes inside to an already packed room for a short set by Sunflower Bean. I am already a Sunflower Bean fan and their first album of guitar heavy pop anthems has been followed up by an album that reminds me of Fleetwood Mac at times so its great to see even a small set in this small room. The new songs are lovely and this band is clearly growing more and more comfortable with their catalogue of tracks and they may not be playing at the volume and intensity level I have seen them play in the past, that may just be an indication of their growth. Everyone enjoys the show around me so I imagine these guys and gal are just going to get even more popular.
Outside is our Canadian/American singer Meghan Remy and her pop project called the US Girls. I am a huge fan of the new album and this Alt/Noise pop band produce their wonderful album tracks to perfection. Its danceable and sharp political pop and its fun and the mood of the set changes as the songs do..much like the album, its a mixed bag of intensity and its a great 40 minutes...but I must shift inside to see one of the main reasons to come to this event and that is Jade Bird. This wonderfully talented British new Country singer songwriter is a delight. You cant help but love her freshness...her voice is stunning and I had high expectations coming into this show and am even more impressed after. It may have been a short set but it will not soon be forgotten. Its a beauty! Its now time for a quick wrap up outside to see Field Report a 4 piece producing some dreamy dreamy rock and since these guys are associated with Justin Vernon, its no surprise their show is another quality 40 minutes.
after a quick dinner...its off to the main showcase of the night
Pandora evening showcase starts with Matt Costa. Sadly most of the crowd are paying no attention and Matt tries hard to get them involved but his easy rock...featuring plenty of percussion and slick guitar work and comfortable surf rock pop does not engage them. The next up on the main stage is a little more successful as Caitlyn Smith is up and she is one lively energetic new country pop singer. You can not avoid her as she is one heck of a singer, and she puts on a very polished, quality set of songs that impresses most that are now paying attention. She is very very talented and is even confident enough to throw in a cover of Carole Kings "Natural Woman" and gets away with it..its a great set. Lucas Nelson & The Promise of the Real are up next and these guys are led by Willie Nelson's kid. The band gets a lot of attention from this crowd as Willie and his family still live in Austin so its a given.
Add to that the fact that this band was hand chosen by Neil Young to perform as his band, you have to know they are quality. They are fun, and its a guitar rock set full of drum solos and playing guitar with your teeth....its upbeat and perfect for this crowd and this stage and its a great set to lead into the headliner Nathaniel Rateliff. If you have not seen Nathaniel play, I suggest you do. Him and his band The Night Sweats are about as good as it gets when it comes to American Vintage Rhythm & Blues. The set tastes like Whiskey and smells like Cigarettes and Nathaniels voice is as strong as ever singing some new songs, and some classics, to a crowd that was clearly here to cheer them on. Its Rock Soul standards and gospel sing a longs all mixed in together and its a brilliant way to keep the surprising chill in the air in Austin away.
We decide to duck out quick at the end of this set and Sandra heads home and I cant help but sneak over to see what The Touts are all about. They are playing at the British Music Embassy and boy I am glad I made it to check out their live show. All I see is some teenage kids up on stage bouncing around...I think there are 3 of them..apparently from Northern Ireland...but what I hear is Punk..as in Sex Pistols/Clash, its a mess, one minute it sounds blissful, the next abrasive and all the while, glorious. While it may not be everyones cup of tea....its perfect at 2am!!!! So that's it...another night done..
Wednesday takes us back to the Blackheart and The Current and another day of music First up on the outside stage was Durand Jones & the Indication. Its a big funk soul jam band and Durand leads the way. For fans of Leon Bridges, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, Durand Jones will remind you of the past but that's good for me. Its a big bouncy fun set of Soul and its a great start.
Warbly Jets are inside now. We had just seen these guys...a solid brit rock type band from Los Angeles. Its a short set but an energetic one and then its back outside for Now Now. They are a 4 piece electro pop band..smooth and silky and fun to watch. Marlon Williams now takes over the small stage inside. Marlon is a big sounding country folk singer. On this stage, Marlon is sublime. His voice is fantastic and his sad roots based songs remind me of Richard Hawley a bit. This New Zealand talent is one to go and see.
Outside is Tristen, Tristen has some stunningly fun and evocative songs. Some brilliant word play, a lovely sound and I am very happy that she has met my expectations after having listened to her work for sometime. Tristen has a lot of work out there, and her 5 piece band have played a lot together and its a nice show outside.
Inside is another buzz band Mt Joy. Its folk rock and on the small stage inside, it sounds big! This Philly band are starting to pick up steam internationally so no doubt you will see them out there soon. Its a solid sound and very sweet sounding and quite enjoyable. Another favorite is outside is Becca Mancari. With an album that made my top 10 of the year, again I have high expectations. With a hauntingly beautiful voice...throw in some pedal steel, a cover of Neil Youngs "Ohio"..its all I could ask for. Its a roots based music with years of Nashville coming through in her Country Folk Roots blend and its cheery and lonesome at the same time. Inside is some surf punk grunge mix from the Seattle band Naked Giants. Its upbeat and a good afternoon set. At this point, last nights lack of sleep starts playing a role and spending the whole afternoon here is not going to be possible..its time to move on and get a little rest.
First up in the evening is an Oakland band called Club Night. These guys were a quirky little bunch. The songs go in every direction and its difficult to describe. Its a 5 piece who play around with their instruments, add some layers of electronic noodling...and the songs are long and dramatic. Its fun. We have another show where Field Report play. They were as solid as they had been previously and perhaps the sound was even better here tonight. They seem to up for this show even more and it shows.
Next up was the band we were here for. Another taste of the past and a roots soul band called the Greyhounds. Based in Austin and formed around vocalist/keyboardist Anthony Farrell and vocalist/guitarist Andrew Trube.. add a drummer and these guys sound fantastic. Sun Studios veterans, these guys carry a Nashville sound with them in every song and its blissful The vocals are full and magical and it does take you on a bit of a journey and while its not jumping into new territory, its refreshing and warm and as good as I had hoped after listing to their music for awhile now.
Thursday is another full day at the Blackheart. Some of the bands playing at Willie Nelson's annual party are here doing some shows and luckily we get to the venue in time to see The National Reserve. A fantastic 5 piece with a couple of guitarists, some big Organ and a lot of sweet melodies. This Brooklyn band mixes some great soul funk new Orleans sound and Americana and its a great start.
Out back on the main stage we find Raye Zaragoza, a singer songwriter that has championed indigenous rights and has put their plight into song. Its a easy start to the day out on the main stage and a powerful message mixed with a great voice is in order. Its basically the calm before the storm outside as inside, Starcrawler is about to do a set. It is recorded as is many of the shows inside this venue and well worth going and checking out...this band is intense. Led by the very energetic young woman named Arrow de Wilde, this Los Angeles 4 piece is explosive American rock n roll. Blistering and fierce with a manic live show and its raw and messy and over too soon. I fear the young singer is going to have a hard time keeping up the pace that she performs at and with over 10 shows in the next 4 days, it will be a test for all of them but the energy their lead singer performs with is going to push her to her limits.
Outside again and its Vista Kicks. Matching Satin jackets on this 4 piece, these guys play some body shaking rock...almost at the level of an old favorite "Jet" but with a smoother edge and a very very capable lead singer. Back inside to a packed room again, and its Caitlyn Smith again. Her sweet country voice really overwhelms this small room and another short set of some beautifully powerful songs leads me back outside for Low Cut Connie, a big Philly 6 piece, another dynamic lead singer, big keys up front..its another set of raucous upbeat rock n roll with high energy and we can quickly tell why they are so highly regarded as a great live band.
Back inside for Lucy Dacus, who we have seen a few times in the past, its clear she is quite popular as the crowd is massive. Here with only one bandmate on the small inside stage, her delivery of her melancholy Americana with a touch of grunge and alt country is what we are used to from Lucy. She is a rising star and no doubt her performance here has earned her a few more fans.
Now its time to head back outside to see Gracie & Rachel. These two young ladies are touring with Ani Difranco and their live show is hypnotic. Chamber Pop? Orchestral pop piano and violin mix together with beautiful voices and its a treat on the outside stage. Its powerful and delicate and harder to describe then most bands but their performance is lovely.
Inside is an old favorite, Josh Rouse. He is obviously popular in Austin, Texas as there is no room anywhere to view Josh. He has brought his band and from what I can see from my vantage spot, they seemed to be enjoying their show as much as the crowd. Its another set of classic Americana and done as well as can be. The crowd loves it.
Outside we run to catch as much as we can of Toronto band The Weather Station. This Canadian folk rock band are splendid live and are a much buzzed about band in North America and its easy to see why. The songs are clever and there is a lot going on, each song features some great harmonies and delicate playing and some songs end before you want them too. It is another band who is hard to describe live and you really need to pay attention to them when they perform.
Now we skip out just to run next door to catch Natalie Prass. Having seen her often, its hard to pass up a chance to see her again. Turns out its her birthday and we are there long enough to hear a few of her new songs as well as a couple of her classics. Natalie is a wonderful singer and is just a joy to watch
Tonight is all about seeing Hatchie, a new artist from New Zealand so we are off. We are at Cheer Up Charlies in time to see Lomelda. Lomelda is a Texas based folk singer who clearly has become a local favorite as everyone seems to be here for this first artist. Lomelda (Hannah Read) has a fascinating voice which she uses as an instrument and the songs are very well put together.
NYC pop band The Poppies are up next. Its a sweet adorable and dreamy little 4 piece and its a nice little refreshing set. Now up on the main stage is Hatchie. This new young artist from Brisbane is a great little singer. Her songs will remind you of Cocteau Twins and its a shoegaze dream pop set of instant classics. This is another artist I had such high hopes for here at SXSW and she did not let me down. It now turns out that Robin Guthrie from the Cocteau Twins is a fan and has worked on Hatchie songs so expect a lot more from this young artist. Its a brilliant beautiful set.
Inside we have our Canadian Math Rock band Gulfer. Its quite the change from Hatchie but the emo/rock math rock manic set is a messy one but its a good energy boost. Hovvdy is up next and this local duo produce some solid indie rock. A little weezeresque and a little fanclub in there, it is another good little band.
Quickly switching gears, we have Queen of Jeans, a 4 piece surf pop band and they keep the crowd happy with lush retro vibes and some pretty clever songs. Finally we have another highly buzzed about artist and Anna Burch takes the stage. I love Anna's album and missed the chance to see her in Toronto so this is my chance. This light pop, built with harmony rich melodies is brilliant on the outside stage. The songs are perhaps even better live, seems to be a fuller sound from the band when they perform live and its a warm, inviting performance.
Now its time to move and while Sandra is off to the hotel, I am feeling good enough to try to see Girl Ray and Goat Girl at the Brit Embassy. Girl Ray are a north London trio, 3 young women who sing all about growing up and heartache with harmonies mixed into their low fi pop. Its a refreshing late night bit of musicianship and its quirky and odd at times which makes it even more interesting.
Goat Girl are up next and are suitable for the 1am slot. The band are fun...and play some great guitar based indie rock, its full of attitude and seems effortless and their little songs get played with energy and passion and this all girl group close our night off with confidence and flare.
Friday day has been set aside for one purpose, and that was to go to the Brit Embassy for what I would consider to be the Sweet Pop afternoon. Luckily, it starts at 2pm so there is plenty of time to lounge and rest, get lunch and head to the convention center to see one of my new favorite bands Lo Moon. Here is another band that I had such high expectations for and as many of you know, thats sometimes dangerous, especially with a band like this whose recorded work is so dependant on hauntingly beautiful vocals. I'm happy to report, they are even better then expected. This band are great musicians and their slightly retro pop sound is haunting and for me, immediate comparisons to Talk Talk come through when the lead singer takes the Mic. These songs are magical, and while they may not be forging into new territory, it is done so well Its hard not to be impressed.
The music is dense, there is a lot going on, and its moody and atmospheric and I love it. The lead singers voice has the perfect range to make all these songs come to life, as sad and brooding as some of them are, and makes for a rather emotional Convention Ctr set. Its difficult in the somewhat sterile setting of this stage to truly overwhelm folks when seeing such delicate songs but these guys do it. its a set full of beautifully intense moments and its fantastic
On this note, we can happily wander our way to Brit Embassy
i have done some research so we do know what to expect from most of the bands playing and up first are the RPM's. These young gentlemen live in Brighton now and their indie pop full of hooks and harmonies is very lovely. They play with a lot of energy and command a small stage and are a lot of fun. You cant take anything away from these kids as they do what they do very very well. Its the first band of the day on this stage and they are not ignored which is saying something when the free beer and free food is still being served. It is guitar based pop anthems and its a solid set.
Next up was one band i knew very little about and its Findlay. This young lady and her band from Stockport...were by far the best band we saw the whole week. Led by Natalie Findlay, this band is a whole lot of good. Natalie will remind you of Alison Mosshart and PJ Harvey..absolutely incredible live, so many different styles represented, so many tempo changes, she just tears through her songs and no matter what this band is playing, she can match it with her voice. Punk, Pop, Grunge and Soul, she attacks you in so many ways, it really doesn't matter what kind of music you like, she is going to grab you and pull you in and it is impossible to avoid liking this band.
They are everything you want them to be and more. It really is something...especially with Sandra beside me who tends to shy away from any band that pushes the volume level as much as Findlay does, its clear we are both enjoying this equally. even with the levels so high. It is great watching this artist, new to us, just absolutely slaughter this Brit Embassy crowd. What had started as Pop day at Brit Embassy has quickly become something very very different and we are very happy it has!!!!! Hated seeing Findlay leave the stage but the set was incredible.
Flyte were up next. I had listened to quite a few of their songs online and I new the harmonies with these guys would probably be something pretty special and it was. This band from London do Alt-pop to perfection, as intense as Findlay was, Flyte offer up something completely different and beautiful. When these 4 guys are singing together, I am not aware of a band that matches them. They remind me of an old favorite Jellyfish. Unapologetically simple harmonies, but exquisite. And when these guys pull out an acapella version of a Canadian favourite, "Marry Me Archie" by the band Alvvays...that's it for me. They have made a fan for life.
After these performances, it was going to be hard for Colin McLeod, this young lad from Stornoway, to keep the crowd engaged with his Folk/Indie Pop but he managed. It was engaging, it was very lovely, but compared to the last few bands..it was going to be tough
As often happens, our first thought was to go see a new R&B artist called R Lum R. sadly he is playing with Sylvain Esso and that means half the city is in the line an hour before doors open so, its off to the Aussie party across the street. First up there was a solid little indie rock band Totally Mild. This Aussie 4-piece are playing to a crowd of what seems to be made up of university students and they sort of pay attention, and not. They are an odd little band, with a lead singer who's falsetto brings some songs to life, but this crowd is not helping. The songs are quirky and clever but never really hit me as they should but that may not be a statement about the band. Next up is Hatchie again. Do love this young Brisbane artist and its another solid set, slightly plagued by some sound issues but solid nonetheless. Next is the brilliantly festive and talented Teskey Brothers. Its blues and soul and a strong Motown vibe from these Aussie and its great. They have added local sax and horns players and it brings the whole show to life. Harmonica and blues and some horns and songs about women, money and tough living...its a joy to listen to these guys. Great banter, great songs..
Saturday schedules are always difficult. All we want to do is hunker down somewhere that we can get a good comfortable seat and watch the music happen. Can feel the burn of a lot of days and nights already, a picnic table seat at Cheer Up Charlies sounds good. Its a packed showcase and is open to the public so best we get there early.
We do get there in time to get a great seat, and the first band comes on. There are 8 people on stage, some are laying on the stage, on the monitors, not sure what is going on. Then, out of nowhere, a lovely young woman comes by our table, takes our hands, and asks us to dance? We both politely decline, and as we laugh about it, this young lady moves towards the stage, hops on the stage, and joins the 8 up there already and this performance art musical piece is off and running!
We have no idea what's going on, there is laughing, screaming, singing, and then, the lovely young lady who wanted us to dance, falls to the stage, and when she gets back up, she has exploded a green ink pack over her face and that is all she is wearing. Yep, our dance partner from earlier performs the entire set pretty much naked. Its powerful and disconcerting and I think that's the point. The performance is all about empowerment and it comes across well enough that the crowd is very much enjoying it. The band is called Sloppy Jane, feel free to youtube them and see for yourself.
Inside I was able to see a few songs by LA 3 piece called Susan. Its messy rock and pretty solid. Back outside are La Luz. One of the big buzz bands again, these 3 young ladies produce some blissful guitar surf punk but its rushed and before you it they are gone. Haley Heynderickx is now on inside and I was able to catch a few songs of her set. Some guitar work seems almost in bluegrass style, there are more horns and lovely harmonies again, its a well put together collection of songs. Its very delicate and with an electric folk vibe it suits the vibe of this small inside stage.
Out on the main stage quickly and we get to see Natalie Prass again. She is as smooth and sweet as usual. Just a wonderful band, a great singer and one who we have a lot of time for. Sadly, like the others, this is over too soon as time is running out. Inside its GFlip, another talented Aussie who has perfected some mighty solid synth pop in a very short career. Again, sadly, i don't get to hear much but what i do hear I like. The outside stage is now the center of attention and all of the Andrew WK fans seem to be here.
Its a big, loud, its rock and operatic metal, its also what this huge crowd is here for and they know every word and every move and they love it. He does not have a lot of time but he is putting everything together nicely and it ends up being your typical Andrew WK rock show..crazy and loud and it seems massive.
After this, its difficult to fight the crowd as they go inside to see Nilufer Yanya and having seen her earlier, I am happy to sit and listen to her performance from my seat!! By this time everything is a mess timing wise. Its well off the suggested set times and I see no way they can finish all the bands in time. RVG are on inside..they sound great but with the outside stage so far behind, everyone is trying to get inside and its a little hectic From what I can hear, this 4 piece really can kick up some Rock and being from Melbourne, they are further proof something is in the water over there.Strong singing from Romy Vager, she leads this 4 piece in a style similar to Echo & the Bunnymen and what I can hear from my spot..it sounds pretty good.
Outside its about to kick off with A Place To Bury Strangers. They have blown numerous monitors all around Austin this week and this electro noise outfit are pretty fierce for a 3 piece. They manage to find themselves in the crowd making a lot of noise on the monitors, throwing guitars and abusing the feedback and its a well appreciated set of guitar songs. Its amazing how much these guys love to perform and its shows.
The wonderful Jade Bird is back on inside but there is simply no way to get in there. Her singing is so delicate that there is no way it can be heard anywhere other then inside the room so sad to say I have missed that. Gang of Youths kinda make up for that. They are another Aussie band, indie rock experts and they are a lively bunch. Have picked up where the last left off and while perhaps not as manic, they sure have energy and its appreciated. I head inside a little early and am able to catch a few Courtney Marie Andrews songs. Its a lot of country, mixed with a fine blend of Americana and a stunning voice. Its kind of a wall of sound I am not used to with a country singer leading the way, but it works.
Now we are pushing it and the outside stage is still so far behind we have to make a move as Gus Dapperton and even though we are leaving, we can hear some as we wander away and this young electro pop singer sure is lively. Its bouncy and danceable but sadly just too late!
We plan an easy night. The Roots party is cancelled due to a bomb threat, we cant get into the British Music Embassy because it seems every member of every Brit band is inside already with every BBC host and there is no room for us. Its then we make a move to the Swan Dive for some interesting new bands.
First up in The Pine Box. A clever 5 piece rock band, lots of tempo changes, a bit Franz Ferdinand ish..its a good start. Inside is Oak House, another 3 piece guitar noise band with some 12 minute songs. Outside is Gothic Tropic, an LA band with a great lead singer, she leads with a great voice, great guitar work and some sublime melodies..Think Sunflower Bean and you get the idea of their sound. Ex Girlfriends are a 5 piece girl group and they sing some angry guitar based rock songs. Lux Deluxe is outside and is a bit of a Rock a Billy dance pop band. A small crowd forces these guys to work a little harder but they pull it off. Next up is probably my favorite, Fruit & Flowers are similar to LA Luz, Surfpop, lite punk edge, stunning 3 part harmonies that I did not expect. They use the harmonies as a weapon, when they chose to, its sublimely lovely. Similar to Breeders, they seem very accomplished musicians and I am tempted to leave now as they were so good. I stay for one more band, The Slow Caves more grunge indie punk with 4 guitarists. It works but after the last band, I figure i have done well so I am off
Overall, its been a solid festival. Missed a few bands I wanted to see but saw a lot of surprises that more then made up for it. I am getting older and it gets a little harder to manage but with the right mind-set and a lot of water and nutrition, its manageable!! We have already booked for next year so...time to get some rest!!