With South by Southwest looming, a handful of local promoters and venues have come together to snag acts en route to Austin. For the 2nd Annual SxSF Transit Music Festival, more than 50 acts pack just 15 days at Corazón, Warehouse 21, VFW, Eggman & Walrus and Little Wing.
At thrice the size, this year’s festival makes choosing shows hard. Rest easy, dear readers, for I have sifted through a plethora of upcoming bands and compiled a must-see list of six great shows for week No 1. Keep in mind that the whole fest will slay; these are just the shows you should be slain for missing.
Thursday, March 10 has two killer shows at two killer venues. First, Corazón goes straight indie-folk as Denver’s Paper Bird shows everyone how to feel feelings. The music is gorgeous and full of old-time, folky flair. It’s like Neutral Milk Hotel goes rootsy, with all sorts of toe-tapping guitar, banjo-pluckin’ goodness and horns a-honkin’. Paper Bird has seven members, whose chorus-like harmonies provide a super-sweet touch. Local solo acoustic folkstress Flamingo Pink stops by with her wholly original and intensely beautiful works. FP has an endearing lo-fi sound and a knack for writing exquisite songs that refuse to be forgotten.
Later, across town, The Process hosts Seattle garage/psych act Night Beats, a band that compares to 13th Floor Elevators and Ty Segall. Night Beats is fuzzy, sloppy and pure rock ’n’ roll. Promoter Red Cell, who has a reputation for booking oddball acts, drives this all-ages show right into your faces.
On Saturday, March 12, Southwest Roots Music puts on a fest within a fest, with the 2nd Annual Santa Fe Blues Festival at Corazón. Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe is on hand alongside the Hazel Miller Band and beloved Santa Fe ex-pat Ken Valdez, with others yet to be announced. I know a whole mess of you locals are salivating at the lineup, which resounds with genres from zydeco to blues to soul to R&B. Though this show is aimed at an older crowd, all-agers are welcome with a guardian.
Local buzz is that Monday, March 14 is a holy trifecta. Early in the evening, San Francisco freak-folk act The Dodos keeps it all ages at Warehouse 21. This band is pretty huge already, and it’s just a matter of time before it explodes, so be sure you can say you “saw them when.” This is also a boon for W21, which, let’s face it, can use all the help it can get attracting a wider crowd. Opening act The Mumlers is nothing to turn your nose up at, either. With a quirky, poppy sound, The Mumlers is indie rock at its best.
After this show lets out, you’d be wise to head to Corazón to catch New York City dream-pop act Asobi Seksu. Usually a duo, the pair has enlisted backup members and appears as a full band. Fans of shoegaze and ethereal indie-chick vocals will not be disappointed by singer Yuki Chikudate’s sugar-sweet voice. Asobi Seksu’s music is multi-layered and likely packs a totally outrageous effects setup. I’ve seen this band fill gigantic venues in California, so show up early or be jealous of those who made it.
Later on, Portland, Ore., indie/electronica band Starfucker takes over the VFW for Meow Wolf’s Mega Powered Dance Destroyer. Perhaps you’ve heard the band in that one Target commercial? Anyway, Starfucker is absolute pop perfection. Front man Josh Hodges writes songs that focus solely on hooks. Synths and effects pour out of Starfucker with the greatest of ease for a wonderful addition to Meow Wolf’s already stellar dance party offerings.
And that’s just the first week, Santa Fe…
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