2013 was a great year for the Live Music Capital of the World. With over 250 live music venues, finding a good show on any given night isn’t a difficult task. Whether outdoors at Blues on the Green or a crazy night on the dance floor at Barbarella, there is something for everyone. So what shows made my list this year? Check out some of my personal favorites.
Deltron 3030 at FFF Fest
The year is 3030, and Del has managed to find a way to combine sci-fi and hip-hop in a way that has the entire crowd at FFF fest headbobbing to nerd rap. Composed of hip-hop producer Dan “the Automator” Nakamura, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, and turntablist Kid Koala, Deltron 3030 is a supergroup literally well before its time. Dan the Automator served as maestro and emcee of the evening, wearing a dapper tuxedo while Del flowed over a 16-piece live orchestra. Can you say mind blown?
Red Baraat at ACL
Nestled under the Zilker Gospel tent the first Sunday of ACL was the amazing eight-piece, Brooklyn-based group Red Baraat. Each musician brought an incredible combination of sounds that was fresh and unique, from the fusion of bhangra rhythms and brass funk to the use of the dhol, a barrel-shaped double-sided drum that hangs over the musician’s shoulder. Due to rain the festival cancelled the band’s second set of weekend 2, so anyone who caught this creative, energy-filled performance should consider themselves lucky.
A Brainfeeder 4/20 at the Parish
With performances by Teebs, Thundercat, and Flying Lotus (and his secret alter-ego Captain Murphy) The independent record label was formed by Flying Lotus in 2008 with a list of artists in electronic music and instrumental hip-hop. A night filled with experimental beats, psychedelic visuals, and an eclectic roster of talent.
Earphunk at the Parish
The New Orleans based funk group Earphunk comes to Austin a few times each year, but their most memorable performance was this December during their Daft Phunk set at the Parish. With a live, funky spin on the French electro-duo’s dance hits, the group performed classics like One More Time, Around the World, and Harder Better Faster Stronger to an amped, sold out crowd. If you missed the tribute, no worries. The Daft Phunk tour ends in Georgia, with a show in Athens at the Georgia Theatre January 17 and Atlanta at the Terminal West a King Plow January 18.
Illmore Mansion at SXSW
Have you ever been at a late night during SXSW, alone, drunk, and dancing? Transport me back to March at Illmore Mansion. A crowd littered with famous rap acts, free booze, and bucket hats. Picture Macklemore crowdstanding on the hands of an intimate audience, special guest appearance from Kendrick Lamar, and a long list of some of the biggest names today in hip-hop and electronic music. The party got so crazy at one point the dance floor upstairs nearly caved in. Best part about this party: it’s four nights long and FREE. Although good luck getting in, an RSVP is required. Check out the recap video here.