One of the nice things about attending SXSW is all of the acts you catch accidentally, those serendipitous encounters with bands you’ve never heard of or hadn’t planned on watching.
On Friday, March 19th, we caught most of the Fool’s Gold showcase at Malverde, which featured an intense lineup including past One Track Mind featured artists Kid Sister and Theophilus London. Among the other acts who performed was VEGA, one of the handful of musical venues helmed by Alan Palomo.
Palomo’s mug had been plastered all over Austin on posters and even billboards promoting his other, more en vogue act, Neon Indian, so it was nice to see him hit the stage under his more established (if less famous) moniker. Musically, VEGA falls somewhere between Walter Meego and Hot Chip, offering a funked-up take on ’80s synth-pop.
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Prior to seeing them on stage, I had never even heard of Colombia’s Systema Solar, but their ebullience and charismatic weirdness make them hard to dislike. We arrived at the Flamingo Cantina to catch Anita Tijoux’s set, but the evening’s proceedings were running about an hour behind schedule and wound up catching the entirety of their set. Systema Solar wound up being my wife’s favorite act at SXSW, a freewheeling mishmash of hip-hop, dub, cumbia, dancehall, and turntablism.
The band consists of two emcees (one of whom sang into two mics all night, one of which ran through a heavy echo chamber), a percussionist, and four DJs (three on decks, one on a laptop). Of all the acts we caught while in Austin, Systema Solar seemed like they had the most fun, hopping up and down in their improvised space suits.
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And since we mentioned her, here are some shots of Tijoux’s performance, as well. (Click here for more info and an MP3.)
All photos by Nina Barry Photography.