Givers’ “In Light” does not capture the exuberant magic that the band puts out live.
Change the oil, pack the car and cue up the playlist, because it’s time to head down to Austin for Music Christmas South by Southwest. I’ll be down there Tuesday night all the way to the end in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Here’s an audio and video approximation of how excited I am.
You can expect loads of SXSW coverage here at the OKSee blog. I’ll be spending Tuesday, Wednesday and the first half of Thursday covering the Oklahoma Film and Music Office’s The Buffalo Lounge. The fantastic people up at OF&MO have put together a lineup of 28 Oklahoma bands that I’m really excited to see. Expect photos, audio clips (of talking — music clips from my teeny recorder would sound like this), interviews, reviews, news bits, the whole nine yards. It’s gonna be a blast.
I’ll also be tweeting up a storm at twitter.com/okgazette.
From 6 p.m. Thursday onward, I’ll be kicking it all over Austin, trying to catch the best and brightest new music the smorgasbord has to offer. I have several priorities (one of Braids’ 9 shows, Typhoon, Matt and Kim, Rocky Business, Givers), but I’ll be all over the place, reporting it as I hit it. I may even drink coffee to get me through this. My stimulant of choice is Red Bull, but at 10:30 a.m. Friday when I’m trying to get to a Chris Bathgate show at 11, I may have to call in the big guns.
Here’s a whole bunch of SXSW info for those going/lusting:
• Official site
• Last.FM band aid, which will run your Last.FM account against the listings to tell you who you should see, which will make attendees drool and lusters weep
• Guardian complete band listing, with vids, streams, bios and more on each
• Bandcamp visualizer – about a fourth of the bands have music downloadable/streaming/available for purchase here
• Free iTunes playlist
Thanks to Pitchfork for alerting me to a couple of these links.
I'd spent most of my week on or near E. Sixth St., as it's the hub of SXSW music action. But for the last show of the evening, I had to book it to W. 6th St and Rio Grande (also known as the intersection of "Oh My Gosh" and "You've Got To Be Kidding Me"). It's the only set I had to run to catch, but it was worth it, because I'm still humming Givers tunes twelve hours later.
Givers is a band of five far-too-young-looking boys and a girl from Lafayette, La. They employ acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, electronic beats, ukelele, flute, synthesizers, a secondary drum set and more enthusiasm than I've ever witnessed in a show to make their songs. Some bands have standing as their basic position, with some passionate modification to jumping. Givers has jumping as their standard position, with standing when absolutely necessary.
Seriously, it was harder to tell whether the band or the audience was more excited that Givers was playing. The band's calypso-inspired bubbly indie-pop tunes careened off the walls of the venue, whipping the audience into a fervor. (I always worry when people start pogoing at upstairs venues. I'm afraid it's going to collapse. Thankfully, it did not.) The dual female and male vocals created exuberant harmonies, which the audience ate up. When the girl put down her ukelele and started mashing her half drum set, the room could barely get more electric.
Lots of bands are capable of whipping people into a frenzy, but to do with it technically difficult but incredibly appealing music is something that not many bands can do. Each of the members of Givers were excellent at their instruments, making things that other bands would have played simply even better by embellishing them with unique flourishes. The bass player is to be especially commended in this regard.
All in all, I left Givers' set in a far better mood than I went in, and that's after a full, tiring day of walking all over Austin. And was still humming "I Saw You First" when I woke up. Awesome. You will hear more from Givers; their album comes out later this year. You must buy it, if you like happiness. I'm not even kidding. It's that good. I don't care what genre you usually listen to.