The Oklahoma Film & Music Office announced its plans for the 2011 South by Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.
The final event at The Buffalo Lounge was a Tate Music Group/Variance showcase. After treating listeners to a swanky food spread and free drinks, the music kicked off with Michelle Buzz. Buzz's piano-based singer/songwriter tunes fit in very neatly next to staples of the genre like Fiona Apple and Michelle Branch. Her stage presence was very pleasant and inviting, as she talked comfortably to the audience between songs. She's very young (still in college), so she has a long songwriting career ahead of her if she keeps on.
Justin Cross played next, bringing some acoustic folk to the room. He caught my eye by rocking a Woody Guthrie t-shirt and a harmonica for a few tunes. His fingerpicking kept my ears tuned in. There's few things I like more than a good fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and Cross, along with his second guitarist, kept me pleased. Even when his set veered toward poppier grounds, the songs were still quite strong.
Scarlitt Redemption's pop/rock set was a contrast with hard rock act We the People, which followed. The former employed five people, the latter just two. Scarlitt had a relatively static stage presence, letting their music do the heavy lifting; the guitarist for We the People headbanged, swung his hair, and moved about. Scarlitt's set was heavy on hummable melodies, while We the People went for heavy riffs and pounding rhythms. Their disparate sounds created a diversity in the lineup that I thought wouldn't be able to be continued.
That is, until Snorlaxx took the stage. Snorlaxx is a hip-hop act from Tulsa that consists of two bassists, a drummer, a rapid-fire rapper and and another absent member. ("He's in China," the rapper said, "with his cat General Meow.") I love bass, rhythm and hip-hop, so I was stoked as soon as I heard what they were about. And as soon as I actually heard them, I was hooked. Their bassists play off each other, making complex, melodically interesting constructions for the rapper to go nuts over. And he takes their energy and feeds it back, barking, speaking and shouting his way through the raps as if his life depended on it.
The crowd swelled with every song they played; people were coming in the door even in the last song of their two-song encore (one band was unable to make their set, leaving extra time for Snorlaxx after people yelled for them to keep playing). The members could have played longer, time-wise, but they had run out of material. They performed everything they had written in their set, and they left everything they had on stage. The guys bounced around the stage like pinballs, with the rapper occasionally leaving the stage to work his words in the audience.
It was an electrifying set, and it left me wanting more. Snorlaxx is on to something, and I suggest you hear what it is they're on to before everyone else does. It was an incredibly fitting end to The Buffalo Lounge at SXSW. More please!