15 Favorite Live Shows of 2015

2015 brought some fantastic performances from newly discovered artists and a few old favorites. I’m always on the hunt for new sounds and several artists on this list have exactly that! My favorite part of this past year is finally seeing larger acts that I’ve been missing for decades… The Rentals, Social Distortion, Belle and Sebastian, The Decemberists, and GusGus. 2016 is going to be an even bigger year and I can’t wait for new discoveries.

2015 Breakdown: 271+ live artists // Loudest month: March (61) // Most quiet month(s): Feb (4) & Dec (4)

wackdelly_auroraAurora (NO) @ Reykjavík Art Museum for Iceland Airwaves: The incredible voice radiating from this tiny 19-year old absolutely blew me away.

wackdelly_axelflovent.jpgAxel Flóvent (IS) @ Iceland Airwaves: It’s just a matter of time until Axel becomes huge. I know this to be true.

wackdelly_balthazarBalthazar (BE) @ Tractor Tavern: I’ve been following these Belgians since 2011 and finally saw them for the first time in 2012. They did a mini west coast US tour that included several performances at CMJ. There was barely anyone at this Monday night Tractor Tavern show and I have no idea why as overseas shows are sold out.

BrianaMarelaBriana Marela @ Neumos: Captivating! This chick radiates talent. (Photo source: 107.7 The End)

BRNSBRNS (BE) @ Iðnó for Iceland Airwaves: Equally vibrant beats and haunting ambience. (Photo source: BRNS fb)

DIIVDIIV @ Neumos: I could not miss this show and dragged my sleepy self out on a Monday night with pajamas under my raincoat. Nothing I love more than zoning out to a band that can perfect that shoegaze/dream pop in my ears. (Photo source: AMBY)

wackdelly_hikesHikes @ Spider House: Folk, nature-inspired math rock from a bunch of Austin youngins. Tryin to get them up to Seattle soon!

wackdelly_jeffthebrotherhoodJEFF The Brotherhood @ Crocodile: Rad. That is all.

wackdelly_joycut JoyCut (IT) @ Gaukurinn for Iceland Airwaves: I scouted out this band prior to SXSW and loved them so much I had partake again at Airwaves. Nice guys too.

StrandofOaks  Strand of Oaks @ Sasquatch: I’ve been following Timothy Showalter for years. After every one of his shows, I reach in my bag for a cigarette only to realize I don’t even smoke. Incredible live. (Photo source: Brittany Bollay // KEXP Blog)

TheBotsThe Bots @ Bumbershoot: These brothers stole the whole festival for me! (Photo source: The Bots)

wackdelly_therentalsThe Rentals @ Crocodile: Matt Sharp forever! Guy still has so much energy.

wackdelly_victimmentalityVictim Mentality @ SXSW: Listening to Victim Mentality, you will wonder if it’s for real. Yup, Korean glam metal at it’s finest! Don’t miss them at SXSW 2016!

WevalWeval (NL) @ Iceland Airwaves: Trip-hop greatness. (Photo source: Weval Fb)

wackdelly_yellerkinYellerkin @ SXSW: Eric and Wild Honey Pie always curate the best SXSW shows and Yellerkin was the cherry on top for me.

**Photos by Annie unless otherwise noted**
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2015 list

AAN, Ab-Soul, Acapulco Lips, Acid Tongue, Action Bronson, Airplane + Spaceship, Alcest, Alki, Allelujah Choir, Amina, Arthur James, Asonat, Atmosphere, Audur, Aurora, Axel Flóvent, Balthazar, Battles, Beirut (2), Belle and Sebastian, Big Data, Big Phony, Big Scary, Big Wild, Black Pistol Fire, Black Whales, BØRNS (2), Boyfrndz, Brand New, Brenda Xu, Brian O’Brien, Briana Marela, BRNS (2), Calliope Musicals, Cardiknox, Cell7, Chimurenga Renaissance, Chris Staples, Classixx, Cloud Nothings (2), Colony House, Courtney Barnett, Crater, Cuff Lynx, Dad Rocks!, Daktyl, Dan Bejar, Dances!, Danielson & The Nine Fruit Tree, Dear Boy, Death Cab for Cutie, Devotchka, DIIV (2), Dotan, Dude York, East India Youth, Edmund Wayne, Eliot Sumner, Elle King, Emily Donohue, Emma Ruth Rundle, Eugene Munro, Ex-Cops, Ex-Cult, Fantastic Negrito, Father John Misty, Fauna Shade, Five Iron Frenzy, Flosstradamus, Flume, For A Minor Reflection, Foxing, French for Rabbits, Gabriel Wolfchild, Gardens & Villa, Gateway Drugs, Girl Pool, Grave Babies (2), Grayson Erhard, Great Caesar, Great Mountain Fire, Group of the Altos, Gruska Babuska, Gunnar Jonsson Collider, GusGus, Health, Heather Maloney, Helado Negro, Helka, Heo, Hey Marseilles, Hikes, HimeHime, Hooves and Beak, Hunter Hunted, Icky Blossoms, Iska Dhaaf, Jacco Gardner, Jack Garratt, Jared and The Mill, JEFF The Brotherhood, Jenny Lewis, Jesse Macht, Jose Gonzalez, JoyCut (2), Jungle, Junius Meyvant, Kate Tempest, Kiasmos, Kim & Ryan of Smokey Brights, Kite String Tangle, Kris Orlowski, La Luz, La Priest, Lady Lamb, Lana Del Rey, Las Rosas, Lighthouse and the Whaler, LITE, Lonesome Shack, Lucy Rose, Mammut, Manatee Commune (2), Mansionair, Metalachi, Mia Dyson, Michael Lind, Midday Veil, Milky Chance, Milkywhale, Milo Greene, Minus The Bear, Modest Mouse, Moon Hooch, Morning Bear (2), Mother Mother, Murder Vibes (2), MXPX, Nahko And Medicine for the People, Newaxeyes, No Joy, Of Monsters and Men (2), On An On, Orla Gartland, Ought, Phox, Pictureplane, Pink Street Boys, Plain White T’s, Positive Disturbance, Public Service Broadcasting, Punch Brothers, Purfume Genius, Radiation City, Ratatat, Real Estate, Rey Pila, Reykjavikurdaetur, Roger Sellers, Royal Blood, Runaway Symphony, Ryn Weaver, Said The Whale, Sam Slater, San Cisco, San Fermin, San Juan, Sassyblack, Sekouia, Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles, Shannon & The Clams, Shovels and Rope, Sin Fang, Siomha Brock, Sisters, Skylar Spence, Sleep Over, Slow Bird, Small Pools, Smokey Brights, Snooze Infinity, SOAK, Social Distortion, Soft Sleep, Song Sparrow Research, Spencer Glenn, SSDD, Stafreann Hakon, Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil, Strand of Oaks, Sufjan Stevens, Summer Heart, Swervedriver, Sylvan Esso, Talk in Tongues, Tallest Man on Earth, Teitur Magnusson, Temples, The Acorn, The Belle Game, The Bots, The Broods, The Cave Singers, The Decemberists, The DØ, The Ghosts, The Knocks, The Mighty Oaks, The Native Sibling, The Rentals, The Thoughts (3), The Velvet Teen, The White Buffalo, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, The Zoltars, Thee Oh Sees, Thunderpussy, Timbre Barons, Tinnarose, Toe, Tomo Nakayama (2), Tonik Ensemble, Tracksuit Wedding, TTNG, Turbo Fruits, Twin Forks, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Verite, Victim Mentality, Viet Cong, Vox Mod, Waxahatchee, We Are The Willows, Weaves, Wesen, Weval, Whitney Flinn (2), Wild Child, Will Butler, WMD, Wolf Alice, Woodpigeon, Woods, Yellerkin, Yolawolf, Young Buffalo, Yumi Zouma, Þórir Georg, Þórunn Antonía og Bjarni, other unknown artists (6)

Previous years: 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

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SXSW 2015 Music Tips

It’s SXSW time and the months of preparing are now coming together oh so nicely! There are many friendly people sharing tips on twitter and music blogs that definitely should not be ignored. While I’m going on my 7th SXSW, it would have been nice to have tips at the very beginning. I’ve learned lots over the years, through trial and error and watching others mistakes. Here are a few more tips that I haven’t seen floating around.

Check out my 2011 and 2014 tips for the SXSW music portion too. See you there!

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1 :: Eat a hearty breakfast (or lunch depending on your wake-up time) to start the day. More days than not, breakfast is the only meal consumed as running around doesn’t lend much time to stop and eat. Also, a good breakfast base is key for the day and night of drinking ahead. I do carry almonds in my bag to get me through until a random taco truck appears.

2 :: Be prepared with stuff you foresee needing. A jacket for the bipolar Texas weather, sunscreen to keep those tattoos bright, and travel Kleenex for the ladies. I don’t think toilet paper exists at SXSW.

3 :: Watch your drinks. You don’t want to be slipped something unpleasant. It happened to me once (not at SXSW) and sucks big time.

4 :: Earplugs! EarPLUGS! EARPLUGS! I’ve been into live music for over half my existence and just started wearing earplugs in my early 30’s. Protect your hearing now, kids! [end of PSA]

5 :: I state this a lot, but here goes again… do not see the huge acts! This is one of the reasons why I avoid Fader Fort and stages shaped like vending machines like the plague.

6 :: Be weird and have fun. Follow Bill Murray into that elevator. Hang out with those DJs in the park at 3am. Flirt with that door guy to get into a badge only showcase. Make forever friends. Whatever.

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All photos by Annie ~ more photos here

SXSW 2015 Music Selections, part 2

While checking out almost all of the showcasing artists, sometimes you stumble on a great 80’s glam-metal band from South Korea that you put on your SXSW list purely just to see to believe… Victim Mentality.

SXSW 2015 Music Selections, part 1

It’s that time of year! We have been listening and enjoying fresh new bands since the first lineup announcements last Fall. This is only a handful of the bands in our ‘yes’ column. If you enjoy the artists, be sure to check em out at SXSW or touring in your town soon. Adding more artists daily, or when I remember!

 

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SXSW 2014 :: SXSW 2012 :: SXSW 2011

SXSW 2014 Recap

This post is dedicated to those lives lost: DeAndre Tatum, Sandy Le, Jamie West, Steven Craenmehr. I didn’t know you, but consider you kindred SXSW spirits. May your souls rest in peace.

IMG_3258Another South by Southwest has come and gone and as always, it was different from years past. The streets of Austin were definitely more chill this year and especially after the sad incident that occurred on Red River. It only felt right to back off the twitters, take less photos, hug the ones you love and enjoy life. This year Michael joined me for his first SXSW, and the first year I’ve attended non-solo. Together we teamed up and listened to all of the showcasing artists in hopes of uncovering some hidden gems. In years past, I’ve tried to tackle the massive list myself but it’s tough so it was nice to make and share discoveries with a fellow music junkie. I will be featuring some of our selections in the coming weeks on the returning Music Monday posts.

Over the course of 5 days, we saw a total of 43 bands live. My favorite performances of the week were Team Me, Mutual Benefit, Black Violin, Public Service Broadcasting, Jungle, Mire Kay, Sun Club, Cleanup, Boyfrndz.

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THE GOOD :: Spotify House :: The Wild Honey Pie Showcases ::  :: Tyson’s Tacos :: Bill Miller BBQ :: Enjoying a drink and chat with Julien Maury, French horror film Director & Writer :: my secret venue to chill and regroup on 6th was not crowded

THE BAD :: A tad bit chilly, so no skirts for me :: Seeing less bands due to the horrendous lines this year :: SXSW has gotten too corporate :: Debating if I will attend SXSW in the future (it’s been a good 6 years, but geezus with the large acts) :: missing our other 100+ top selections, but hopefully will see them at a Seattle venue soon!

THE MEH :: Torchy’s Tacos :: Waylayers played one rad song then quit because they weren’t pleased with the sound :: Brooklyn Vegan Showcases (I blame the venue choice)

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All photos by Annie Cuce

except my family took a few… pi in the sky by Davey and the red roses at Mohawk by Jannette (she also made the pretty flower arrangement)

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SXSW 2013

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2011

SXSW 2010

2014 SXSW Music Tips

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Each year, I learn more about SXSW…what you can get away with, secret spots, best venues, parties to avoid, etc. The main goal being to be exposed to as much new music as possible while having a damn fine time. So far, I’m to be on the right track. Each year gets better than the last, which is difficult to believe since the previous was a fucking blast. The key is to be prepared. I spend months planning for my absolute favorite week of the year. I am giddy and the best feeling is walking down 6th Street on the first day with the warm sun on my skin and feeling the energy in the air. And I hate the sun, so this says a lot. Also, Mr Wackdelly will be joining me for his first SXSW so we have both been listening, planning together, scheduling and I’ve been filling his head with tips and tricks.

Check out my 2011 tips too, but you’ll notice that some tips are outdated (RIP Leslie).

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1 :: Do not see the big acts (also on the 2011 list). Seriously, you spend all your time standing in line for hours to see a popular band that tours in your city multiple times a year, when you could be experiencing what SXSW is really about… fresh new music. The undiscovered gems are where it’s at! Over the years some of my favorite SXSW discoveries before they blew up were Baths, Cloud Nothings, Beirut, Warpaint, Of Monsters and Men and Grouplove.

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2 :: Check out the free shows at night. My friend at Blue Sky + Hard Rock (along with Music Saves Lives) put on a fantastic showcase last year with free music all day AND night (including free delicious sushi). Be on the lookout for unofficial night parties for they do exist. I believe there will be even more free night stuff this year. (photo: Seryn at Firehouse Lounge & Hostel, 2013)

3 :: There is a new addition to the wrist bands you will be collecting during the week, the Guest Pass wristband. It is a free credential and allows you to get in certain venues/areas (that use to not require any credentials). More info here.

4 :: Be sure to check out Waterloo Records’ free shows from 3/12-3/15, but plan to get there hella early if you want to get in the door. Also, it’s a hike from the main 6th Street music festivities so plan for that and no RSVP necessary! Lineup here and more info here.

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5 :: While the beers of the Pacific Northwest are pretty boss, I do miss old Texas favorites like Firemans #4 from Real Ale Brewing and the always refreshing Lone Star. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it. Also, be sure to tip those great people slinging drinks behind the bar. They are working hard so you can enjoy yourself.

6 :: If you can find a rad band playing a tiny venue off the beaten path, pay the cab fare to check em out. The best shows are the smallest. This is easier said than done. I have skipped seeing some top picks due to location and later found out what I missed out on and that just plain sucks.

7 :: Don’t invest all your time and planning into one showcase or party… the venue will be at capacity, there was a schedule change, the distance is too far, gotta follow the friends, etc. Just have lots of backup music options. I usually plan 10-15 backup options, and that’s just for the day parties.

8 :: Twitter is one of the best on-the-go tools. Ask questions about line status, tweet a band to confirm times, or just see what’s blowing up at the moment in Austin (Prince, Bill Murray sighting, etc). Be sure to use the proper #sxsw or #sxsw2014 hashtags and someone is bound to respond to your inquiries. Secondary tools that work well are the SXSW app and a spreadsheet via the Google Drive app. I’m at @wackdelly if you have any questions.

9 :: Earplugs are a necessity. I wish someone (anyone) would have told me the importance of earplugs at a younger age. Anyhoo, I took 3 pairs of earplugs last year and managed to lose them all. My backpacked savior, Bruce, came to the rescue with a whole bag of earplugs. I might pay it forward and stock-up, then proceed to shove them in the ear holes of all the clueless youth.

10 :: Don’t be a stuck up asshole. Talk to people. If they are friendly and you are friendly, then keep talking. Buy them a Lone Star and chat about your favorites of the fest or suggest bands to check out. I was chatting and giving some suggestions to a lady and it turned out to be Ann Powers of NPR. I’ve met some really great people over the years at SXSW that I still keep in touch with.

All photos by Annie Cuce