Wednesday in Austin and its sunny…again!

The day's plans are full and a good sleep in has gotten us prepared for the long day ahead.

Of course the choices are tough and in an effort to tick off a lot of boxes today, we try to go with a party that will do just that.

Off to Holy Mountain we go, a venue we had never been to but it has an inside stage and an outside stage and we can go between the two. It is hosting a party celebrating two Australian music festivals (Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass) and was to feature Chloe Howl but her band has had problems getting into the country so she is a no show.  Line-up is solid even without her so off we go!

First band of the day is Dune Rats; lo-fi surf pop played with an edge featuring, ex Vines Bassist so they have some volume to them and pack a great punch for the first band of the day. Aussie band Money for Rope is up next. Straight ahead rock & roll and it wakes you up as it's a 6-piece band with 2 drummers. They are fierce and don't let up until their set is done.  Quick, fast, punchy fella’s and it's a solid show.  

Now back inside for one band who I really wanted to see. Wolf Alice! Ellie Rowsell leads this bunch with some lovely vocals and the show is a great one.  Many in the venue had no idea who they were before they got there but as the band played on; everyone from outside the club came inside to watch.  With a mix of indie folk/garage pop/grunge. They blast through a 45 minute set that is very pleasing to listen to and it is difficult to not watch this lead singer performing. Quite enjoyed that set!  

Now inside to watch our local lady, Lowell (from Toronto) perform a fun, bouncy, electric little electro pop set that had her dancing in the crowd outside. Quite a nice change of pace and gave us a rest from what was to come inside next. Royal Blood, here is where Sandra and I part ways!  As this lovely two piece band from the UK start playing, the volume is so deafening Sandra moves away!  Bloody hell these two pack a punch for a two piece.  Unrelenting and magnificent noise from a bass guitar and drums and a wicked voice to match. Pick your favourite rock influence. Zeppelin, White Stripes, The Who all sharing a bit part in what is a fantastic 40 minute set.  If you love loud intense rock n roll these two are your guys.  40 minutes is about right for a set as the fear is that the ceiling could collapse at any moment from the sheer volume of their show.  

Outside the band DeLux have started up and its back to electro pop!  Kind of Dance Punk DIY they are a refreshing treat after the assault by Royal Blood, a good solid set of Duran Duran ish pop, these kids will probably be quite popular.  


Now its time to wander, grab some food and get to the next party but before that, a quick visit to the Paste party going on next door finds a lovely female vocalist fronted Frances Cone Band. We stick around long enough to catch a couple of songs Norah Jones/Ellie Goulding influenced pop and a lovely voice. 

Now after lunch decisions have to be made.  Going to be a long night so we decide to revisit some bands we missed the previous day due to bad sound or venue was packed so it's off to the Red Eye Fly for Arthur Beatrice and Jungle.  As we get in the club, Avid Dancer is playing. We only catch a few songs but like what we hear. Psych pop from LA, .lovely sound and perhaps will revisit them when they get to Toronto.  Outside we go to the main stage where Arthur Beatrice and Jungle are playing back to back.  Thankfully, there is enough room for us out there and the sound is much better than the night before so Arthur Beatrice hits the stage for a full 40 minute set of wonderful pop.  Still very new, they still have some room to grow but they are a very good group. All sharing vocal duties and producing some very beautiful songs, they do a great job setting the crowd up with some dance pop before Jungle come on stage.  Jungle hit the stage and they are on full sound, everyone is dancing, and you can't really help it.  Beautiful, infectious, electro soul…these guys are fun and they look like they are having fun as well.  If you want to go to a show where you dance about…this is it.  Great little band and they work the room with their party grooves and we are glad we made the choice to revisit them here.

Now..we head towards our hotel for that much needed downtime. A little rest before the long night ahead but as it happens, we have enough time to meet up with some friends and gather at Latitude 30 to witness Wytches, aggressive surf/psych rock..heads down..screaming lyrics (again I lose Sandra as she moves away from the stage!) these newcomers crank it up!  Another solid set of loud and unrelenting rock n roll and now I really do need some rest!

After an extended rest and some food at the hotel it's come to this.  Time to do our popular/unpopular decision (depending on what friend you talk too) decision to commit to Spandau Ballet reunion night.  No apologies to those offended by our choice. I am old and these guys are doing a one off reunion show that we hope is fantastic.  First though, Eagulls as I really like the new album. We got to Stubbs in time to catch Perfect Pussy. its all about the angst and catharsis element but gosh I don't get that girl and her band.  She sure screams a lot.  Clearly not my thing.

Eagulls were solid but while the songs are sweeter sounding, I think they suffered playing after Perfect Pussy.  They seemed dull in comparison but having seen them before, I know that they are more active and a little more energetic when playing on a smaller scale/stage

We get to the club; a newly renovated old blues club in Austin called the Vulcan Gas Company., for the Spandau gig. It is empty!!  which doesn't bode well for the night but beer is cheap and its beautiful in there so…we stick with it and soon friends show up to join us.  Not much can be said about the first band, Somekindawonderful. Honestly, big band with a solid sound but they seem a bit contrived and formulated and it occasionally hurts! (sorry)  


Ski Lodge are up next and while they present a better show with bitter lyrics mixed with some solid musicianship. Really the night belongs to only one band.  Have to say…as soon as Spandau Ballet come on…the club is packed and with the full band Tony Hadley in fine form and the band performing as if they were youngsters, it's brilliant.  I expected a fully shambolic show pieces together by a band that has rehearsed very little since they apparently still are very much tired of each other but, it is mostly just a wonderful, greatest hits set…that sounded perfect.    

Sadly for our friends who are there had to leave only 5 songs into the set as a update has come across their phones to say Warpaint are now playing at a venue a block away they miss the super set of “Communication”, “To Cut a long story Short” and of course “True”.  

Sadly as this fine set continued we got the alerts on our phone that there had been a terrible road accident and that there were multiple serious injuries only blocks away.  The show was very very good but as we walked out after “True” (a very lovely sing a long version as you would expect)..It was with a heavy heart and some frantic texting to make sure our friends in Austin were ok.  Spandau Ballet had not played in the US in almost 30 years but their show does bring back some very good vibes for an evening that included such a devastatingly sad event.

And again, as it happens in Austin. We wander towards the hotel and Sandra heads back and I decide to catch some of the Warpaint show, and it turns out, these young ladies have been fighting with the sound guy for 40 minutes and have not started their set yet!!  My friend who was with us at Spandau Ballet is furious as he really wanted to see Spandau and is still sitting here waiting for Warpaint to go on.  They finally do and these young ladies put on a fine solid 4 song (!) set as the club has to close. Perhaps I will get to see them play a full set back here in Toronto but what I hear is quite good. Progressive and brooding, guitar based fuzzy and fun to watch but, now…its 2:15am and this old man needs to get to sleep, another full day ahead!

More to come…

Jim  @totolondon