Heading to a couple of label events in the day, our first showcase on day two was Basecamp at The Madison. Contending with a strangely small and wide room, the duo’s downtempo RnB chillwave tracks work really well with the high notes of their vocals. Sounding something like Sam Smith atop James Blake’s beats, with bolts of upbeat Gold Panda or Caribou, the music is nicely layered but can fade into the background at times.
Opting against racing across town only to come back for Big Data at The Moody Theatre, we set up in the Austin City Limits venue early and caught pre-cursor, Priory. Playing fluffy, throwaway pop-rock, we should have raced around for someone else. Not even a guilty pleasure, there’s nothing to the music or lyrics, Priory were utterly stereotypical and without any personality, like each track was written on autopilot. Priory single, Weekend, is better, but didn’t come anywhere close to saving the set, actually it sounded a little like Rebecca Black’s Friday, which is never a compliment.
Luckily Big Data were worth the wait. With a funny sense of humour, a computer voice introduced the band on stage. Big Data have a great groove and rhythm to their music, with the joint male and female lead singers bouncing around on stage. A little like a much heavier Chromeo, Big Data have rock influences rather than dance, but they have the same groove.
An annual fixture on their calendar, and part of the reason we always come back for SXSW, Delta Spirit (pictured) were the last on our list for day two. Playing at the Yahoo-sponsored Brazos Hall, the five-piece indie-rock band played an amazing set to the packed crowd. Running through their four stellar albums with a lot of material from last year’s Into The Wide, jubilant performances of Language of the Dead and California turned the “one more song” promised to venue organisers into a 10-minute medley, much to the delight of the audience.
Two days down, two to go, SXSW Music has been a ball so far.