The crowd for The Temper Trap

Every band on the bill for KCRW’s Friday night official showcase mentioned how much effort it took to get to SXSW.

Willy Mason and his band drove down from Massachusetts and only got one flat tire on the way.  Producer Quantic had been stranded in an airport in Caracas. Clock Opera traveled thousands of miles from the UK.

Willy kicked things off with a bunch of new songs I was eager to hear. He’s one of my favorite singer-songwriters with a voice that is truly unique and lyrics that make me pay attention. He tells it how it is . I guess you can call him a protest singer — whether it’s about the world in general or a kiss off to a friend who didn’t treat him right.

Next up, Colombian-based musician Quantic and UK singer Alice Russell, backed up by The Park, brought some soul to the proceedings. I have been loving the tracks I’ve heard off their new album and its as even better live. Our showcase was the first time they were playing material from their new album live in the U.S.!

Clock Opera put on a great show despite bass amp issues (they asked the audience if anyone had a spare) and Crystal Fighters injected some electro energy into the crowd (someone compared them to an electronic Devotchka).

Headliners Temper Trap were playing one of their first U.S. shows in quite sometime and debuting material from their new album. They claimed to be rusty, but I think the anticipation and love from the audience carried them along. The new songs are, for lack of a better word, more electro but they fit in seamlessly with the tracks everyone knows (which of course got an incredible response.)

I can’t wait to see them again when they journey through LA next.

RR

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