Last night, Enabler PR teamed up with indie labels Don Giovanni Records, Suicide Squeeze Records, and Sacred Bones for their official showcase at Holy Mountain. The night's eclectic lineup -- including singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson and her band the Cans (with an accordion!), the raw folk-rock of Katie Crutchfield's Waxahatchee, and San Jose cloud rapper Antwon -- felt like a throwback to South by Southwest's early days, when bands got their start in clubs and back alley tents instead of with the aid of corporate sponsorships.
L-R: Chris Vineyard, Big Hassle publicist; singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson; Stevenson's manager Chase Igliori
Laura Stevenson's grandfather wrote "Little Drummer Boy," and her grandmother played in Benny Goodman's band. No slouch herself, the Long Island-based musician used to be in an a cappella group and several other bands before forming the Cans in 2005. After her set, her first at the festival, she asked repeatedly if her voice sounded all right. Her Big Hassle publicist Chris Vinyard and manager Chase Igliori reassured her, rightfully so, that she sounded lovely.
L-R: WNYU's Maria Sherman; Waxahatchee member Katie Crutchfield; Waxahatchee manager Graeme Flegenheimer
Antwon, who belongs to Heems' Greedhead record label, took the stage a little later backed by appropriately-named beatmaker DJ Sex Play (born Doug Gough). Even though an anonymous beer thrown at the stage, which damaged one of Gough's turntables, Antwon still managed to get a sizeable crowd almost moshing near the stage.
Crutchfield was just as charming as Stevenson and a fitting penultimate act. Waxahatchee sang an alternately slowed-down and amped-up rendition of Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble" for manager Graeme Flegenheimer. The promise of her performance drew music journalists like WNYU's Maria Sherman, Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork, Liz Pelly of The Phoenix, and Michael Azerrad, author of "Our Band Could Be Your Life."