Andrew McMahon: Live at SXSW 2013
Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin front man Andrew McMahon went solo at his set at the Whole Foods and Amazon MP3 showcase in Austin, Texas at South By Southwest. While he is on hiatus from both groups, clearly Andrew’s ability to perform as a solo act was a good choice, as one can really experience his full musical ability as a pianist and singer. Playing with passion and heart, there is a reason why Andrew McMahon is well loved by his fans, due to his accessibility when it comes to his music which can be very relatable. While the band had some technical difficulties before and during their set, the group maneuvered through these obstacles as if nothing was wrong. While at times the audience looked underwhelmed, by the time the band launched into Something Corporate fan favorite I Woke Up in a Car, the crowd became more animated, and began to dance losing themselves in the music.
While South By Southwest has had some great solo acts with great backing bands, Andrew’s band felt the music and put in energy that is not seen in many backing groups. The last song of the set was entitled Bruise, was a great closer that got the crowd going and instead wanting more from the too short set.
Gold Fields: Live at SXSW 2013
Australian electronic rock band Gold Fields is about to make a name for themselves. After seeing them at Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas during SXSW the feeling of impending success for the group was all too clear. The group opened up with an energetic number that excited the crowd, with the band members putting their hearts into the music and making sure the crowd had a great time despite their short set.
What sets Gold Fields apart from their peers is that they incorporate electronic elements which sound like they are straight from the 1980’s, using synths throughout their tunes to give it a fuller feel.
The musicians that stand out the most are drummer, Vinci Andanar, and bassist Luke Peldys. Playing with a comfortable ease, Andanar never stops moving, as he establishes a rock solid beat that doesn’t let up the entire set, forming a solid backbone for the group. Peldys plays right along with Andanar, never skipping a note, leading them to be one of the best rhythm sections in music today. Their song Dark Again begins with a pulsing synths that sets the tone for a poppy 80’s tune that would be perfect for a dance club.
The only negative thing that could be said for Gold Field’s performance was that singer Mark Robert Fuller, seemed uninterested and out of breath during the group’s performance, but overall the band’s set will convince people that Gold Fields have great things in store for them. Their debut album Black Sun is now available in the US, Canada, and Australia.
Fetsum: Live at SXSW 2013
After listening to Fetsum’s 45 minute set at the unofficial Coyote Music/Saustex Music showcase at Hole in the Wall during South By Southwest, the fire and energy that Fetsum displayed should set him on the path to a successful career. Coming to the Live Music Capitol of the World all the way from Berlin, Germany, Fetsum began writing music in his teens and hasn’t looked back.
Fetsum and his band opened their set with music that had a trancelike quality, which didn’t sound like it would make its way onto the average music listener’s iTunes playlist—just a bit too different for the casual music fan. The spacey feel of the song didn’t seem to have enough zip to hold the interest of listeners who are glued to their radios. However, the band quickly changed up its style, moving into a poppy reggae groove that got the small crowd bobbing their heads.
Fetsum’s current single “Waiting For You” is a pop reggae song that is a good summer jam, its beat and Fetsum’s Marley-like vocals luring and inviting listeners to waste the day on the beach soaking up the sun. “Stay Who You Are” is a slower song, which flowed together nicely this afternoon. And while guitarist Leon Schurz made magic from his effects-laden acoustic guitar most of the set, the warbling guitar seem in conflict in this song, casting a shadow on what was otherwise a bright, happy vibe.
Fetsum’s band is also his studio and production team, evidence by the unity found within the sound coming from the stage. Schurz’ guitar, Haze Haas’ jazz-influenced bass, and the worldly rhythms of Benny Glass on drums were impressive. The band lived in every song, making sure the crowd felt their time watching the performance was well spent. Fetsum’s quartet portrays a sense of passion not seen in typical line-ups, where a singer/songwriter is surrounded by for-hire studio musicians.
Having received coverage from Rolling Stone, NPR, and TEDx, Fetsum is on track to have a very successful music career filled with his heartfelt pop tunes and positive attitude. You can pick up his debut album The Colors of Hope on Amazon.com or in the iTunes store.
Nakia: Live at The Saxon Pub
Nakia is a local Austin musician that is not to be missed. While Monday night’s acoustic set at The Saxon Pub was a last minute performance, Nakia performed like he had been rehearsing for the show for weeks. Performing stripped versions of his songs with a four piece band, it is a shame that the Saxon Pub was not a bigger space, as Nakia’s larger than life voice filled the small bar. It’s unfortunate that Nakia is not more well known as his songs are very radio friendly and have a great chance of gaining mass popularity with music fans outside of Austin.
The song Parachute has a John Mayer influence, and a take out your lighter (or your cell phone) feel as the song has a soothing feel, and takes listeners away where they can forget about their day and get lost in the performance. The acoustic guitar, bare drum kit, and background vocals fit the mood perfectly as they all brought a light and airy feeling to the performance.
Dream Big, a song about leaving his home state of Alabama, is a soft rock tune that shows off Nakia’s Joe Cocker like vocals favorably. While Austin’s musical talent can be somewhat of a tossup, Nakia is a local artist that will delight fans old and new. His latest EP Drown in the Crimson Tide will be released in 2013.
Walking into the Continental Club on Congress Ave on a Sunday night, you would not have guessed the band that was about to go on stage had been absent from the Austin music scene for nearly two decades. After forming in 1987, The Wagoneers grew to become a local sensation and went onto sign with A&M’s Nashville division, released two albums, and opened tours for Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson.
Three years after their formation in 1990, they were gone as fast as they had risen up. After their breakup, the band took on solo record deals, became sidemen for a variety of bands, and taking on the day job of a Capitol Metro bus driver. Following the solo deals and day jobs and a twenty year hiatus, The Wagoneers are back in full swing and are really good at what they do. No frilly introductions to be had, the band launches into nearly an hour and half set that is full of good old fashioned country tunes, a cover tune, and some slow ballads.
While the crowd tonight mostly sat down, there was no shortage of dancing, from old and young alike. The singer and guitarist, Monte Warden, might remind more savvy music fans of a 1950’s Elvis Presley, with a shaking leg and a lot of animated moves that make his guitar playing standout. The guitarist Brent Wilson and bassist Craig Pettigrew played funky grooves that remained impressive throughout the entire set, and drummer Tom Lewis kept the band together by keeping his drumming light but not too flashy. The thing that was interesting about the group was that while the group played country songs, no one in the band wore the typical country attire that one would associate with a country band. No cowboy boots in sight, the group looks like four average guys playing music, which only added to the groups appeal. To make up for their long absence, they brought familiarity to a crowd who had known the band from the very beginning, playing “I Confess” from their debut album, back in the day when the group was billed as The Essential Wagoneers.
To keep the crowd energized, the group wasted no time between songs with boring banter that is so common with many of the more modern bands of today. The Wagoneers are a local band not to be missed, and are sure to win over many new fans with their straightforward good brand of country music. For fans who missed out on tonight’s show, The Wagoneers have secured residency at the Continental Club every Sunday evening at 7:30 pm.