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California State University, Northridge

SXSW 2016 In Review


KCSN was proud to host its official SXSW Radio Day Stage on Thursday, March 17th, but of course we went to a TON of shows featuring the best new acts around. Here are a few of my superlatives from the conference:

Most Surprising Artist We Heard Of Before: Fantastic Negrito
He was the first act of our Radio Day Stage so how could we be surprised? Sometimes what you hear on a recording is very different than what you see live. Fantastic Negrito not only rocked the stage, he has a great rapport with the audience.

Most Surprising Artist We Haven’t Heard Before: Seratones
Imagine a band that plays grunge with a Southern twist and soulful vocals. That’s Seratones in a nutshell.


Most Pleased To Welcome Back: The Avett Brothers
Republic Records’ Thursday Showcase featured the North Carolina band playing old favorites along with some brand new tunes. I can’t wait to share the new music!!

Most Rock & Roll Moment: The Struts
A lot of fuss has been made the last few years over the corporatization of SXSW and that certainly was the case at the Bud Light Lounge for The Struts. As flashy as the room was with a “Swag Wall” and a DJ between sets, The Struts came on stage as classic rock and roll badasses. The room they occupied didn’t matter - they were going to rock and you were going to listen.


Personal Pick: Bombino
I have a soft spot for West African/Saharan Blues. Ever since Robert Plant performed with Tuareg band Tinariwen and recorded the heavily influenced Mighty Rearranger, I’ve been hooked. Nigerian band Bombino is similar and their cyclical beats with great jamming guitars were such a joy to see in person.

Best Band Runner Up: Lucius
Performing songs off their brand new album Good Grief, the lovely ladies of Lucius were jaw dropping. Forget the fact that they have an uncanny ability to sing in unison, they brought the new songs to life on stage.

Best Band: Sunflower Bean
Sure, this could be a bit of bias considering they performed our Radio Day Stage, however their uncontainable sound was undeniable. For a three piece, they certainly do get quite a bit of sound out of their instruments. I couldn’t resist seeing their mesmerizing performance a second time at midnight on Friday night. That was before a 7 a.m. flight mind you.