Part of the reason Austin has become the “Live Music Capital of the World” is because of the talent it creates. From up-and-coming blues rocker Gary Clark Jr. to disco funksters The Bright Light Social Hour, Austin is a nurturing mother to her creative children. Along with showcasing some of the best acts around the world, South By Southwest is also putting its attention on the locals. Here are some of the local music talents that are sure to be incredible.
When: March 13, 8-8:40 p.m.
Where: The Parish (free show, 21+, badges and wristbands welcome)
Eric Mikulak, commonly known by his stage name Click-Clack, is taking Austin’s hip-hop scene to new levels. With most hip-hop artists the production overshadows the rapper, or vice-versa. This is not the case with Mikulak — his production favors eeriness and discomfort, pushing boundaries in ways like OutKast’s ATLiens or Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin have done. Accompanied by a flow that strikes with fearless confidence and precision, Mikulak’s music is a testament to his rigorous work ethic and creativity.
“I make music because it calms me when I feel life has no purpose,” said Mikulak. “It’s awesome that people can relate, and I hope that listening can help them with their issues as well.”
His latest release, Housework, is a captivating listen. It features the moody atmosphere that has become a core element of his music, while also showing off his distinguishing rapping technique. He flawlessly shifts between a smooth, laidback flow, to a rapid-fire delivery, never losing his cadence. “My production process is a little impractical,” Mikulak said. “I just add instruments piece by piece, until I have something that resembles a beat.”
Mikulak’s perseverance has not gone unnoticed; the artist will be performing two showcases during SXSW. “It feels awesome,” said Mikulak. “I have been attending this festival for as long as I can remember. The hip-hop scene in Austin is growing at an exponential rate, and I feel blessed to be maturing along with it.” One of Mikulak’s showcases include the City of Austin showcase, featuring Marmalakes, Nakia and Schmillion.
When: March 17, 4 p.m.
Where: Scottish Rite Children’s Theater (all ages)
Chamber-pop ensemble Les RAV deals in somber, moody arrangements — their melancholic abyss guarded by frontwoman Lauren Bruno. Bruno, a graduate from The Berklee Conservatory of Music, is not a new face to Austin. Once fronting local group Polysky, she changed groups to form Les RAV. “The project started in my bedroom,” said Bruno. “I started it on my piano, and I wasn’t going to share it with anybody. Then one day, [drummer] Rob Wills came over and heard the songs, and he was like, ‘I have to play on these songs.’”
Since then the project has moved from Bruno’s bedroom to center stage. The group, now a six-piece featuring horns and strings, have performed at The Parish, Swan Dive Bar and restaurant/venue Frank. The group has many performances at SXSW including a set at the Scottish Rite Children’s Theater.
When: Tuesday, March 13 (4:15-11 p.m.) and Wednesday March 14 (begins at 8:30 p.m.)
Where: The Granada House (1164 Greenwood St.) and The Second House (1102 E. Second St.; everyone is welcome for both)
Experimental post-rock group Equals captivates with dynamic instrumentation and mind-bending rhythms. Part Explosions in the Sky, part The Mercury Project, the band separates itself from its contemporaries by adding a dose of heaviness into their songs.
Last year, the group opened for prog-rock instrumental band Zechs Marquise with a well-received performance. “That show was a lot of fun,” said bassist Alex Guzman. “We also did Free Week earlier this year and it was packed. Definitely one of our biggest shows to date.” For SXSW, the band will be performing a couple of house parties, including a slip-and-slide party with Zechs Marquise. There will also be performances from locals Zorch and Boyfrndz.
When: Friday March 16 and Saturday March 17 (12 p.m.-2 a.m. both days)
Where: The Future of Music at Showcase at Shiner’s Saloon (everyone is welcome; RSVP at Do512)
Local group Sorne is hard to compare to anybody or anything because they are in a musical world all their own. Frontman Morgan Sorne’s onstage persona is captivating, his spiritual chants beautiful and spine-tingling.
Accompanied by banging drums and electronic loops, there is a primal atmosphere to his music, creating rhythm with footstomps, handclaps and howls. Sorne, along with band members Kevin Naque and Dean Cote, will be a part of The Future of Music Showcase, hosted by local music label, Eye in the Sky Collective. The event will also feature groups Megafauna, Shakey Graves and Wild Child.