SXSW 2017 Day 3: Photos and Recap

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SXSW 2017 Day 3: Photos and Recap

Day 3 at SXSW was a loud one for our crew over at Same Sky Productions. Bands like Diet Cig, The Gift, Naked Giants and Guantanamo Baywatch all cranked up the volume and delivered high-energy sessions (which you can check out here).

But, as always, we’re out and about downtown as well, checking out as many bands as we possibly can this week. Check out some photos from Thursday in the gallery, and read about some of the highlights below. And stay tuned for our continued coverage throughout the weekend.

Forth Wanderers


The Montclair, N.J. quintet played some of the most memorable songs of the week. I woke up with 20-year old lead singer, Ava Trilling’s sweet coo from set-closer “Slop” in my head: “I love too much, to hurt this bad / and I have to much, to be this sad!” The Father/Daughter Records signees were a lovely fit for the inside stage at Noise Pop/Another Planet/Do The Bay’s party at The Sidewinder, despite seeming a bit tired from “playing the Rachael Ray showcase earlier; the food was really good.” But the best is surely yet to come here. Pay attention to this band. —Adrian Spinelli

Future Islands


As if we needed any more evidence that Sam T. Herring is the best frontman in the business, he and his band Future Islands were absolutely commanding at their midnight Pandora Discovery Den set. “Let’s fuckin do some shit!” Herring shouted as he pounded his chest. While oft-crass stage banter is a staple for Herring, the dude is an emotional animal, and a highly sensitive one at that.

“This next song is about a guy who left on tour for six months and realized that he lost everything he loved,” Herring said before playing 2010’s “Long Flight.” Herring has always done a fine job of channeling the emotions of the moment he was in when he wrote his powerful lyrics and this is how he seems to easily lose himself on stage with unmistakable bravado and IDGAF dance moves (which seem to have somehow gotten better over time?!).

If there was one knock on this set, it’s that aside from latest single, “Ran”, new material from the band’s upcoming John Congleton-produced The Far Field (out April 7 via 4AD), fell a bit flat. But Herring and company more than made up for it with staples like “Long Flight,” “Balance” and the impeccable “Tin Man”; the latter being the single most powerful display I’ve seen this week: Herring covered in sweat, pantomimed pulling off of a mask from his face — with the Austin evening and I-35 backdrop on Pandora’s massive stage — seemingly showing the crowd the inner workings of his soul. Long live Future Islands. Long live Sam T. Herring. —Adrian Spinelli

Kaiydo


The 20-year old Orlando rapper never wavered from his own distinct style in his afternoon closing set at The Sidewinder. While SXSW’s hip-hop scene has been littered with pompous rap cats, Kaiydo didn’t try to over-perform and was a one-man party with cuts like “Fruit Punch” and “Jumpin’.” There’s promise here and I’m interested to see where the road takes a rapper who never broke stride playing alongside a slate of indie rock acts. —Adrian Spinelli

Melkbelly


Caterwauling Chicago troupe Melkbelly appeared grateful to have made it to their Carpark Records showcase at all on Thursday night, admitting that they’d narrowly missed getting stuck in a debilitating snowstorm on their car trip to Austin. Lucky for us, they arrived at The Main II intact — the band, led by vocalist Miranda Winters, ripped through a brief set, which featured discordant songs like “Mount Kool Kid” and “Doomspringa.” No wonder they beat the storm — Melkbelly practically are the storm. — Rachel Brodsky

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever


Sub Pop has something special on their hands with Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Yeah, this is surf rock, but RBCF sounds nothing like American surf rock bands. Each member of the quintet takes a turn on the mic and songs from the recently released The French Press EP were as great as we had hoped. Singles “Julie’s Place and “French Press,” with thick basslines, vocal harmonies and sticky guitar melodies, were easy stand-outs in a stellar set at The Sidewinder. —Adrian Spinelli

Smino


If you were plugged into the build-up to SXSW 2017, you might have heard rumors that the usually cavernous Fader Fort had plans to downsize. That turned out to be true, but the Fort’s decreased perimeter was hardly a detractor — if anything, it created a sense of intimacy between artist and audience that had arguably been missing in previous years. Among the many acts at Fader this year was Chicago-via-St. Louis rapper Smino, who wound up the crowd with cuts from his recently released debut album, Blkswn. A certified standout in the Midwest hip-hop realm, Smino delivered tight rhymes against smooth, laid-back melodies. Keep an eye on this one — we wouldn’t be surprised if his star joins fellow Chicagoan Chance the Rapper this year. — Rachel Brodsky

Tancred


This trio, the side project of Now, Now guitarist Jess Abbott, was actually supposed to play at Paste’s studio, but the blizzard kept them in New York for a couple extra days. Maybe because they had escaped the snow, or maybe because this is how they just naturally exist on stage, all three members of Tancred were smiling for the entirety of their half hour set. As if Abbott’s vicious shredding weren’t enough to light a joyous fire in everyone’s hearts. On what was a punk-ish night at Polyvinyl Records’ showcase, Tancred sat on the poppy side of the spectrum, and their catchy melodies and powerful grooves served as a nice lead-in to the rest of the evening. —Zach Blumenfeld

White Reaper


The White Reaper boys have an album out next month called The World’s Best American Band—quite the claim—and they went about trying to back it up with 45 minutes of headbanging, ear-melting punk. I don’t know if I’d say “best,” but “damn good” will suffice. They sound like a Southern-tinged version of Twin Peaks, with frontman Tony Esposito howling out his snarky lyrics to the moshing crowd and the brothers Wilkerson (Nick on drums, Sam on bass) providing a steady backdrop of rhythm. Perhaps the most endearing thing about White Reaper was that each of the five members had something to say to the crowd at some point during the set, mostly big ol’ thanks to everyone in attendance…although Sam Wilkerson had a slightly strange request, asking the smelly folks in the audience to identify themselves. Doubtless all of us smelled a little worse after a run of songs that reliably kept the bodies bumping into each other. —Zach Blumenfeld