Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SXSW Day 4: Showcase Exploration

SXSW Day 4: March 14, 2014

Friday things mellowed out a bit for me and I didn't have as many showcases to catch. So I was able to see a day performance of Love X Stereo. 

Love X Stereo played at The Rooftop on 6th Street. It was a neat venue that was open to the elements, and on a normal day, would have pushed the sound out into the streets. (As it was since there were so many bands playing it was hard to make anything be heard outside of the venue itself.)

Love X Stereo's music is catchy and energetic. But what really gives their live performances the edge they need is the kinetic energy of lead singer Annie Ko. On stage she is a magnet that draws in the audience and leaves them mesmerized. If they come to town, Love X Stereo is a band not to be missed. 

I went over to Stephen F's bar that evening to catch Big Phony's singer-songwriter showcase. I'm glad I went in early because I was able to catch Croatian singer Lovely Quinces too. I'm a little bit in love with her music. On stage Lovely has a strong, captivating presence, and her vocals are dynamic and forceful. 
I've since picked up her EP, No Room For Us, and it's a little musical gem, definitely not an artist to miss.

Big Phony was up next, ready to charm the audience as usual. The crowd at this show was another great mix of music fans of all kinds. Stephen F's Bar was definitely a better location for Big Phony. It felt more like he was at home in this venue – a swanky hotel bar with a little more down-to-earth set of listeners. The audience was enchanted by his stories, and transfixed by his songs. It was great to see such positive response for such a talented artist.

Big Phony's musical style is slow and somber, but it speaks to the heart of the listener. His entire set that night was well played (despite his complaints about his guitar) and he played a few different songs from his Seoulsonic set.

Words That Define was my favorite song of the night. It was multidimensional, and I'll be honest and admit I started to cry sometime while he was singing it. I think it's because it shows how close he his to his family and how much that means to him – I can relate, so it was very personal for me too. 

I also love Girls Like You Don't Like Guys Like Me (don't worry Big Phony, most girls feel that way too!), the lyrics are relatable and even tho the song is a little sad, it's filled with a kind of hope.

And that, is Big Phony's charm. He easily creates songs that his audience can connect to. It's not that the songs are inherently sad, like he claims they are, it's the fact that each song has just a little ray of sunshine in there to give us all a bit of hope. And that's what we all need – is just a little hope.

If you haven't checked out Big Phony's music yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. He makes great low-key songs that will reach into your heart and wrap themselves around you and stay with you for days to come. 

Big Phony & Love X Stereo are playing a gig this Saturday in New York City - joined by another favorite of mine; IAMMEDIC. If you can make it out to the show - it'll definitely be a great night.

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