AUSTIN – The music portion of SXSW has officially kicked off and some surprises are already shocking guests of the festival.
From a pop-punk revival to rappers to industry giants surprising festival goers, SXSW has been nothing short of intensity and fun at the highest levels. Words cannot describe the energy flowing through the city and through the guests attending the festival.
SXSW Trade Show:
One of the coolest parts of SXSW is the massive trade show they have in the convention center. Countries from around the globe display their new innovations and tech among other things. Patrons walked the grounds and checked out each different interactive booth.
My favorite was coming across the robots of KUKA playing 80s music on two synthesizers. It was a treat.
On top of that, major companies including Lockheed Martin had a very neat picture display where it looked as if you were in zero gravity. Very cool. I also stumbled new surfboard teaching technology, where a microchip is encased in a waterproof container that actually trains you how to surf by sensing surfing patterns in the unique surfboard.
You have to make the trade show a destination when visiting SXSW.
Halfway Atlantic’s Pop-Punk Revival:
Pop-punk is such a fun and accessible genre of music with catchy hooks, fast drums, consistent guitar beats, and sing-along lyrics that has everyone involved no matter how loud it is. I spoke with Austin Natives Halfway Atlantic. Halfway Atlantic performed an intimate set at the Dirty Dog Bar down on Dirty Sixth alongside other punk and indie acts.
With a lead singer who gets you in the groove by jumping out into the crowd and moving around, he lends his energy so that you can start jumping and moshing and matching the harmonizing sounds of his voice.
“Seriously, we’ve been writing music forever, it was finally the time to meet some people in Austin, so when I moved here about a year and a half ago, we just got started,” Halfway Atlantic Lead Singer on how Halfway Atlantic was formed.
They just recently released their new song, Shut Up (Mirror Mirror) on YouTube.
Curren$y at The Venue:
Hip-Hop legend Curren$y took the stage at The Venue on Sixth Street to a large crowd of fans lining up to hear him spit some rhymes. Unfortunately, his set was met with some audio issues at the venue.
However, Curren$y did not care. He began to rap and rhyme all on his own without any beats. The crowd was wild and in awe at his sheer capacity to remember highly complex raps and get the crowd moving at the same time.
The crowd was happy and did not care that beats were here and there. But once the rap beats started coming through the speakers, the crowd by the stage and up above in the VIP section were both swaying in unison.
Breaking Down City in The Clouds Sound:
City in the Clouds is a four-piece band that was formed in a dorm room at Princeton University. You would probably have never guessed that seeing how chill in their dress and personality are.
Their most recent song, The Bogeyman Song, is a fun and folky, Americana based song that gets you jumping and moving around quickly, looking for your next mischievous idea.
“That is a very Disney villain song, I kind of wanted to turn Slenderman into a very kind of Disney inspired Uncle Sam villain of sorts. He’s kind of like America,” said Jackson of the band.
With that, I’ll leave it to you to enjoy the song and get the vibes they were describing the song. Check them out at https://city-intheclouds.bandcamp.com/.
Justice Surprising Guests at The Main:
One of the biggest surprises of SXSW during the week was the last-minute reveal and surprise announcement of Justice performing at The Main. Social media was going crazy trying to figure out if the announcement was a hoax or if it was true.
The stories and rumors were true. We lined up at the venue and got in very quickly. Two energetic DJ performances prior to Justice took place and nobody knew what to expect.
When Justice members Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay took the stage, the entire venue was shaking and moving with fans yelling and cheering so loudly. Unfortunately, albeit briefly, the sound engineers could not get Justice’s setup correctly. After about a few minutes though, the show commenced, and it was LOUD.
Luckily, I packed a pair of earplugs to save my ears. I was at the very front of the stage, meaning I could feel the pulsing from the loud speakers right next to me. Justice did not seem phased one bit, they were calm in a hurricane whilst sipping Espolon tequila with very precise and calculated movements.
After about a few drinks of the Espolon, they passed the battle to the front row and I witnessed a passionate fan chug about one-fourth of the bottle. I’m sure he’s probably still asleep as you read this.
Justice was not to be missed and if you do get the chance to see them live. Absolutely do it with no second thought.
This article was originally published for News 4 San Antonio.