Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preview: UT Back to School Fest

Back to School FestThis Saturday, Hole In The Wall hosts an all-day festival on its three stages called Back to School Fest. From 2 in the afternoon til 2 in the morning, you'll get to see 20 bands and a bunch of DJs. There's no cover til 7, at which point the cover is $3 (and then $7 after 10). The proceeds will go to a nonprofit called Charity Music of Texas. They help fund after-school programs for kids to learn how to play music. They also lend instruments to musicians in need. This sounded like a badass party with a good cause, so when the fest's organizer asked me to be a co-sponsor, I was down like a clown. I helped pick a couple of the bands. I think this is a damn fine lineup with solid local and out-of-town acts. I decided to write up a little preview with videos of some of the bands I'm looking forward to. You can view the complete lineup with set times here. Check out some videos below:

YKCC, for short, is a synth- and piano-driven pop band with falsetto vocals and lyrics about heartbreak and disappointment. That sounds depressing, but they're actually a really fun and upbeat live band. The band has only been playing live for about a year, but Your Kisses is already garnering all kinds of attention with reviews in Austin Sound and couple of INsite Night showcases. YKCC plays at 10:45. Check them out on MySpace.

This is one of my favorite bands to watch live, but I feel like SNAFU Kitties isn't indie or hipstery enough to garner much attention within the Austin blogosphere. It's unfortunate. SNAFU Kitties makes sincere and straightforward piano-based pop-rock with hints of R&B and dancehall. They're good songwriters and solid musicians who work well as a group. Their secret weapon is pianist/vocalist Jessie England's virtuosic piano skills mixed with her quirky sense of humor and laid-back Texas girl demeanor. What other band in town would write a song about birth control and baby mommas, and throw in a Rachmaninoff-influenced classical piano solo in the middle of it? SNAFU Kitties play at 6. Check them out on MySpace.

Their extravagant brand of theatrical pop-rock makes The Seas an interesting and entertaining band to check out live. Nurk (yeah, that's his name) is a true frontman -- not just a guy who sings the songs, but really performs them with gusto. It's nice to get a little effort from your band. There's a time and a place for artsy indie bands that play with their heads down. But The Seas are an artsy indie band that play with their chins to the heavens. The Seas play at 8:55. Check them out on MySpace.

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