SXSW Recap

KSDB’s Joey Wenberg and Alec Khoury were in Austin for SXSW last week, and caught quite a bit of live music. You can hear a full recap of their time in Texas on the air this Sunday, the 29th, at 3:00.




-Netherfriends had a very unique sound, combined with a powerful stage presence that was unmatched by no other solo act on the “unofficial” side of SXSW. The entire performance was created with some guitar riffs and loops that are made on the stage, and looped to create the sound he wanted the audience to hear. His delivery was engaging, humorous and easily got the crowd riled up for a great show. Netherfriends can be found on Spotify and Soundcloud.


-When you ask locals about Capyac and the influence behind them, there’s no hesitation when they say “Daft Punk.” The delivery is subtler, and less vocal driven than much of Daft Punk’s more recent work. Delwin Campbell, who we had the pleasure of grabbing dinner with, leads the two-man outfit. The University of Texas graduate has a degree in linguistics, knows three languages, and does silly foreign accents while on stage. By the end of the show, half of the audience was on the stage with the band, dancing and singing along.


-Gusgus was one of the more interesting groups we saw. Huge in Europe, the group has picked up popularity in the United States with the surging interest in house music. The group from Iceland brought in a sizable crowd, and energy pulsed from the speakers as the soft, soothing vocals of Daniel Haraldsson descended upon the audience.

Von Grey

-We only caught Von Grey very briefly, but they had a pretty large gathering in the small bar they performed in.


-This group opened for Catfish and the Bottlemen at a bar dubbed “Britain’s Music Embassy.” Shura provided a much softer dynamic preceding the much more in-your-face headliner for the night. The group has only officially released a single, “2Shy,” but loaded up their hourlong set with some stellar new wave music.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

-Not much can be said for the latest and greatest group from across the pond. The band that turned heads with the single “Kathleen” last year is riding the momentum of their debut album, The Balcony. Coming into the week, this was one of the groups we most looked forward to seeing, and weren’t a tad bit disappointed.


-Only arriving for the tail end of their set, Kansas City-based Captiva gave us a taste of home. They provided a light and melodic sound with some funky rhythm.


-One of the biggest takeaways from SXSW for us was knowing full-well that Joywave is on the brink of absolute greatness. Judging the number of people at the performance, you wouldn’t have guessed Joywave was performing given the amount of attention they’ve received as of late. The performance, however, was simply brilliant. On their singles and EP, it all sounds like synthesizer and vocals. When you watch them on stage, they come out in full force with guitars, bass, synthesizer and backing tracks, making it a much more organic product than the recordings. Everything worked for them. Also, it was also pretty cool getting to meet the lead singer.

Real-Estate-Band-1Real Estate

-A staple of the KSDB rotation and my turntable at home, Real Estate was a must-see at SXSW. Everything was as expected, and they drew a huge crowd at a venue that was almost reminiscent of Pillsbury Crossing. Huge natural limestone walls echoed with the Garden State band’s music, new and old. Meeting Martin Courtney was cool, too.


-Just a few days after we got to meet Jack Antonoff and sit a few feet from him at brunch, we got to see him take the stage at the Fader Fort. The Fader Fort is one of the most exclusive venues in Austin during SXSW, and it was an honor having access to everything they had there. The performance started the same as their record, with “Wild Heart” and was capped off with the ever-popular “I Wanna Get Better.”

Big Data

-Most famous for their collaboration with Joywave on “Dangerous,” Big Data delivered with a full set of awesome new music. They have an interesting sound that’s honestly hard to describe in words. It’s electronic, it’s big, and it’s energizing. Alan Wilkis’ vocals and the vocals of his featured guests just work well together on top of the heavy indietronica. We got to hear some of the new music from the album 2.0, which hits the shelves this week.


-This was our second time seeing AWOLNATION, and we knew exactly how intense their performances are. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a huge fan of the group or not, you’re going to be bouncing around and coming away from the concert thinking that frontman Aaron Bruno has a doctorate in how to play a rock concert. As we stood in the front row, we got a sneak peek at some yet-to-be-released songs from their upcoming album Run. We can also report that the only casualty from the concert was Alec’s knee after attempting to crowd surf.


-Best known for the song “Air,” Waxahatchee took the stage preceding Real Estate. Not to be confused with the town of a similar name just a few miles up the road on Interstate-35, the Alabama band had a great performance.

By: Alex Khoury

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