Photo Credit: Nathan Kerce
I spent last week in Austin, TX seeing as many bands as I could in an attempt to gain valuable content for Flagpole Music’s Instagram account. Just a few days into my trip, I contracted an intense infection that would push my body to its limits and turn SXSW’s already somewhat stressful environment into an Eraserhead-like nightmare. Here are five acts that I saw while sick that I still managed to love.
Photo Credit: Gordon Lamb
For just about three weeks leading up to this year’s South by Southwest, I’d been increasingly bothered by sustained pain on my upper right side that spread from my shoulder to my neck and then straight down my arm until everything felt like it was on fire all the time. After dragging myself to double appointments with both an acupuncturist and chiropractor the week before traveling, it was determined that I was injured for the most unexciting reasons (years of bad sleeping positions, poor posture, general misadventure).
Photo Credit: Brian Hall/Red Bull Content Pool
Last week, Red Bull held its annual Culture Clash event in Atlanta for the first time. For those who don’t know, Culture Clash is basically the summer blockbuster version of a sound clash competition. Originating in Jamaica, a sound clash features two or more groups of artists and DJs coming together to battle it out on stage, with the crowd deciding who reigns supreme by the end of the night. Crews spin their best tunes and bring out artists to perform and play “dubs”—remixed or re-recorded versions of popular songs that are meant to shout out their crew and diss the competition.
Led by Boston-based musician Ellen Kempner, Palehound played a strong set at the Georgia Theatre Thursday evening. The band’s set mostly consisted of songs from its excellent, recently released sophomore album, A Place I’ll Always Go. Kempner’s wonderful, deeply personal and at times quite heavy lyrics were on display, and her exceptional and unique guitar playing grabbed everyone’s full attention from start to finish. Infectious song-of-the-summer contender “Flowing Over” was the biggest highlight of the band’s unfortunately brief performance.
All photos by Mike White
On Thursday night, Paul McCartney played the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth as part of his “One on One” tour, which started last April. It was obvious the venue was thrilled to have him, considering earlier this year it lured him to play by naming a new street, Paul McCartney Boulevard, in his honor. Upon arriving to the venue, I was greeted with a huge banner that read “Welcome to Duluth, Paul.”
Photo Credit: Maria Lewczyk
You may recognize Pinegrove from their 2016 album Cardinal, which showed up on “Best Albums of the Year” lists for plenty of music publications. The emo-folk band from New Jersey swept up fans with its alt-country twang and homestyle lyrics. The stage was way too small for the crowd; the audience piled out into the walkway and trees behind the Ponce de Leon stage, and those brave enough to stand in the crowd were crammed elbow to elbow. It was clear that Pinegrove has a massive fan base. The audience sang along to every word of every song, including “Angelina,” which was released prior to Cardinal on a 2015 compilation tape called Everything So Far. Lead singer Evan Hall was charismatic, commanded the performance and made the Pinegrove set one of the most enjoyable of Shaky Knees. [Maria Lewczyk]
United Group of Artists successfully put on their fifth annual Athens Hip Hop Awards on Sunday, Mar. 26. Mokah and Knowa Johnson have worked since moving to Athens five years ago to begin and maintain the AHHA, sometimes against resistance.
Photo Credit: Mike White
SXSW in 2017 is, by far, the most chill it’s been in years. The biggest difference this year is a marked reduction in the number of previously huge free and public day parties. Longstanding, multi-day events like the Hype Hotel (presented by music blog aggregator The Hype Machine), Spotify House, Mess With Texas and others didn't happen this year. Even the hugely influential and exceedingly popular Fader Fort reduced its footprint from accommodating several thousand to merely a few hundred after losing its previously held location.
Not often have I stood amongst a group so diverse as last night at Athens in Harmony Redux, where people across a wide range of age, races and styles mingled and observed. Fittingly, the concert also offered a wide variety of music.
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