So many bands. So little time. Billboard roamed Austin all week, checking out as many acts at SXSW as possible. On Friday and Saturday we caught sets by the Staves, Rhye and the Woggles. For our coverage of big-big shows (like Prince and JT) go here.
The Staves @ St. David’s Historic Sanctuary
After a well-received first foray into the U.S. starting at SXSW last year, U.K. folk act the Staves’ return to Austin—and the St. David’s Historic Sanctuary—was even better than the original. The group, composed of the three Staveley-Taylor sisters and a rhythm section, played immaculately harmonized songs from “Dead & Born & Grown,” the debut album due next week. In the church’s expanse, their voices rung out with powerful clarity, even as they turned to the stormy full-band clamor of “Wisely & Slowly.” Fans of Laura Marling or Mumford & Sons will find much to praise. (David Greenwald / Twitter, Tumblr)
Rhye @ Buffalo Billiards
It probably wasn't how he planned to begin one of his band's first shows ever in the United States, but Mike Milosh of Rhye addressed the audience gathered at Buffalo Billiards last night with an apology -- the gang had just flown in from Berlin and he had been feeling ill. "I'm attempting to sing with the flu, so bear with me," he said. The crowd, as it turned out, was more than willing to oblige.
Rhye, an LA duo composed of Milosh and Danish producer/songwriter Robin Hannibal, has courted an unusually fervent following in its short existence. Until recently, the band was shrouded in mystery -- with his soft, sensual, Sade-like voice, Milosh was believed by many to have been a woman. On stage, even with a flu, that voice had a palpable charming effect on the audience. In a stark contrast with rowdy revelers just outside on 6th street, the crowd at Buffalo Billiards swayed dreamily, intoxicated by a different kind of spirit. Milosh and Hannibal were joined by four additional instrumentalists (including a violinist and viola player, who also played trumpet), that delivered pleasant, if terrestrial, renditions of Rhye's ethereal breakthrough tracks "The Fall" and "Open." In the middle of a set that seemed all-to-brief, two young women in the heart of the crowd seemed to savor the moment, giggling and spinning each other as they danced. (Reggie Uguwu / Twitter)
The Woggles @ Ginger Man/Blurt Magazine Party
Hailing from Georgia, this quartet has been cranking out fist pumping garage-flavored R&B for 20 years now, gaining fans like Little Steven. Clad in red, they put on a high energy set, running through the crowd, rolling on the ground in the middle of them and generally working up a good sweat back on stage. Judging by the wild cheers at the end, even for anyone there who didn&apost know them before, they likely won't soon forget this small highlight of the festival. (Jason Gross / Twitter)