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The 20 best bands I saw at SXSW 2013

The 20 best bands I saw at SXSW 2013

16. Angel Haze

Carson Daly - 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival

Despite a DJ who looks so ill at ease that he must be a last-minute stand-in for the set, Angel Haze is as on-point as her fast rap flow suggests. She might not run New York yet but she runs this random Pandora stage and makes it into the audience for an impromptu quick jump around. Live, some of her lyrics like “lighter than Heavy D” stand out in their delivery more than on record. The stage is big but she fills it. Onwards and up. Random Fact: She randomly credits Ellie Goulding’s ‘Starry Eyed’ as a big inspiration on her last year.

17. Solange

While I really enjoyed the set and atmosphere in the Hype Hotel for Solange’s late-night show, ‘Losing You’ is still the only real standout song she has right now. The other tracks, seeped in ’80s pop/funk-lite were nice and worked well enough for a once off gig. Her band are slick and she, herself is an endearing performer. You do hope she has more up her sleeve than this though as obviously, expectations are high…

18. Savages

The last time I saw Savages, at a church in Other Voices Derry, I enjoyed their intensity but it was too close to a certain ’80s Manchester austere rock band for me to love it whole. They faired much better at SXSW, where the rock band dynamics and shitty venues meant the band ripped a hole through their set with that same intensity that was matched by an amped up crowd. After all, live music is a two-way thing and a Savages live show only amplifies that. The debut album is out May 3rd on Matador/ Pop Noire.

19. Young Galaxy


The Vancouver band can be hard to pin down at the best of times. Their propulsive idiosyncratic indie pop is anchored by Catherine McCandless’ yearning ’80s-style vocals. It’s fierce yet sunny, stern yet loose. That contradiction makes them a refreshing prospect.

20. Slow Magic

The solo performer that is Slow Magic makes breathy electronic music that is yearning and digital. In a live setting, the anonymous’ musician’s laptop electronics is showmanned by his freaky tribal mask and a set of single drums. Through the latter, he more than ably gets past the solo laptop musician tag by bringing his drums into the crowd to play. Vitally though, the drums gives his show live dynamics that most one-man shows cannot match.

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