Alright, now that we got all that Christmas stuff out of the way, it’s time for us to celebrate the TRUE holiday season. I’m referring, of course, to the one and only holiday season: South By Southwest! That’s right, it’s almost March already, and to really get everyone in the holiday spirit, I’ve decided to make fun words about some of my favorite Austin bands to see live. Plus, I recommend you go back and read our take on the best live venues in Austin.
So without further ado, here’s our take on some of the best live music acts in the Austin scene.
Top 10 Best Live Acts From Austin, TX
The name Shakey Graves has become synonymous with the Austin music scene. Ask any Austinite who the must-see act is in the Live Music Capital of the World and nine times out of ten, your answer will be “Shakey Graves.” Armed with nothing but a lonely guitar and a rigged-up kickdrum, Shakey Graves has become renowned for captivating audiences with his intimate, almost theatrical folk performances. How serious is Austin about this guy? Last year the city named February 9 the official “Shakey Graves Day”.
If you aren’t told to see Shakey Graves, Whiskey Shivers is the other act that will probably pop up. This ain’t your daddy’s bluegrass; somehow this talented quintet combines tight musicianship with the frenetic energy of any formidable punk band to generate one of the most entertaining live shows you’ll ever feast your eyes on. You’ll dance, you’ll scream, you’ll drink copious amounts of beer; these dudes will have you leaving their show feeling (and probably looking) like you just ran a marathon. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Relative newcomers to the Austin scene, Bobby Jealousy has quickly made a name for themselves with their spirited live performances and pristine hybrid of punk, pop, and soul songwriting. They write some of the most infectious harmonies you’ll ever hear and lead singer Sabrina Ellis’ stage presence is second to none. There ain’t no party like a Bobby Jealousy party.
Octopus Project has been in the Austin music scene for almost 15 years and have recently made a name for themselves with their latest full-length release Fever Forms in 2013. Not only do they blend elements of electronic, pop, and experimental music to their sound, but they also have a penchant for putting on elaborate and always-entertaining live performances. Their festival resume includes Lollapalooza, Coachella, and the hometown Austin City Limits Festival. Look for this band to continue their hot streak in the not-so-distant future.
Hard Proof Afrobeat
The first time I saw this band play live they were opening for Rebirth Brass Band at the Belmont. The dance floor was pretty much empty after the band had finally set up, yet by the time they had finished their second song, everyone was out of their seats dancing. This is a talented collective of musicians that provides Austinites with some of the funkiest of rhythms and the heaviest of horns around. I dare you not to dance at a Hard Proof Afrobeat show. In fact, I double-dog dare you.
Shivery Shakes is a personal favorite of mine in the Austin scene. I guess I’m just a sucker for sunny, guitar-driven pop gems and these guys seem to have a penchant for it. Shivery Shakes’ music is the perfect soundtrack for those late summer nights that somehow turn into early summer mornings. Oh, and not to be outdone by fellow performer Shakey Graves, last year, the City of Austin named June 26 the official “Shivery Shakes Day.”
When I was 14 years old, I was still begging my mom for rides to the mall and coming up with ways to skip swim practice without getting caught. The talented young members of Residual Kid, whose ages range from 13 to 15, have already become one of the most buzzed bands in the Austin music scene. With noted influences from artists like Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine, Residual Kid continues to impress audiences with their fresh take on heavy, angsty, teenage grunge.
The Carper Family
I was blown away the first time I saw The Carper Family live. I was blown away the second time I saw the Carper Family live. I was blown away the thir- alright, I’m sure you get it by now. The Carper Family is a very talented trio of bluegrass musicians, who not only excel at their respective instruments, but also in their ability to create gorgeous, airtight vocal harmonies.
Wild Child is another relatively new Austin band that has quickly made a name for itself. Various television and festival appearances, in addition to the release of their sophomore effort The Runaround in October, have earned them a substantial amount of buzz on the national scene. On stage, Wild Child has proven to be one of the most wildly (I had to) entertaining indie folk bands in the game right now.
What do you know about 18-piece symphonic indie rock? Not much? Actually, me neither. However, I do know that Mother Falcon absolutely rocks and their performances will leave you completely breathless. Their shows contain beautiful swirling harmonies and impeccable musicianship to create a sound unlike any other band. Plus, they pretty much had me at this cover of “Paranoid Android.”
Article by Trevor Ziegler