I’m going to need a massage at the end of this week because my neck and back are seriously out of whack after seeing over 50 bands this week already. Action continued Friday as I was out another 13 hours before throwing in the towel.
My first set of the day was Los Angeles singer-songwriter Pearl Charles at the Lazarus Brewing Co. down E. 6th St. I made the mistake of ordering a hot coffee and sitting in the hot sun, but even that combination kept me unable to pull away from Charles’ riveting folksy set of tunes from her 2018 album Sleepless Dreamer. I am going to credit her and not the coffee for stirring me fully awake Friday afternoon.
Next I caught an Uber down to Rainey Street for a couple of shows. First it was Icenhauer’s for Gracie and Rachel, the chamber pop duo from Berkeley, California. Rachel Ruggles showed some serious chops on the violin and it was one of the more unique sets I saw all week.
Next was Los Angeles indie pop group Freedom Fry, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. They kicked things off with their awesome single “Strange Attraction” and mixed in a French cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” for good measure. Everyone seemed to dig it.
After being turned away from seeing them close to 1AM the previous night, I finally got a chance to see Durand Jones & The Indications. Their joyous brand of soul music was a perfect fit for the South By San Jose show at Hotel San Jose. I watched them while eating a couple of delicious tacos, somehow my first tacos of the week. Their 2016 self-titled album was re-released the same day, and my favorite of the set was “Make a Change”.
I saw Billie Eilish for the third time this week but it was the first in which I saw her deal with a ton of technical difficulties, at M&M’s party at Lustre Pearl on Rainey. Her earlier sets at SXSW were stripped-down acoustic ones and this one was attempting to do her full show, but there were a ton of issues and she ended up only performing about five songs.
Sylvan Esso closed out the night at the same venue, delivering a fun-filled 40-minute set full of their minimal electro-folk bangers. Singer Amelia Meath is one of my favorite performers to watch with her platform tennis shoes and unique dance moves. Everyone left the venue satisfied after seeing their performance.
I wrapped my night up with a couple of sets at the Australia House at Lucille. First was Mallrat, an act that popped up on my Spotify Discover Weekly a few weeks ago that I dug. She sort of has a bit of a Halsey quality to her dark pop production and I really enjoyed it.
The last thing I saw was Neil Frances, who had some really jammy funky vibes to them. The bass player has serious skills and I could’ve melted into the floor listening to that set.
I headed back home around 2 AM and am excited to get one more full day in before calling it a week.