Pandora’s annual holiday themed party continued again in 2016 with a free show headlined by one of the most buzzed about bands of 2016, The 1975 When I attended their free show a couple of years back I caught Kiesza and a few other musicians. But this year’s slate was more exciting given that The 1975’s latest album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It has been in the Top 10 albums of the year on many lists and their hit single “The Sound” ranked #4 on PopMatters’ own “Best Songs of 2016” chart.
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As the CMJ Music Marathon didn’t happen in 2016, the BBC Music showcase felt like a substitute for CMJ—a way to discover new bands via a curated show. It was with an open mind I attended their event on November 14th. Whether it was because the show wasn’t well publicized or because it was a Monday night, the crowd at the Gramercy Theatre felt a bit underwhelming. I stayed for two sets, the first being from a rock group Sundara Karma and the second from a soulful singer named Izzy Bizu.
Although she hasn’t yet released a proper full-length album, Dua Lipa has with gotten a lot of buzz with her half-dozen or so singles. The young, rising singer-songwriter released a couple of exciting tracks this year that caught my ear, notably the powerful “Hotter than Hell” and the sassy, confident “Blow Your Mind”. Videos for both are below (she also recently collaborated with Sean Paul on his song “No Lie”) and based on these (and her live set), I’m eager to hear Lipa’s self-titled debut when it comes out early next year on Warner Bros. Records.
Are there HEALTH-heads out there? You know, like the Dead-heads of elder generations who followed their beloved band around the country from gig to gig, noting every minute change in the set list or experience? I haven’t reached this kind of HEALTH-head status just yet, but I have seen the industrial electro noise rock outfit four times (and counting) over the past twelve months. So I might be just at stalker status. Maybe they have begun to recognize my shaggy face, my slightly yellow teeth, my dangerous tendency to toss my elbows around with abandon, amidst the darkened club crowds…
It is not until the end of the second weekend of Austin City Limits 2016 that I realize just how otherworldly the experience of the festival is. Even for a local Austinite like myself, the trip to the Zilker Park festival grounds takes over an hour, and once in the tree-lined confines of the park I feel that I am in another world. Moving in between concerts, local food vendors, and scores of people intoxicated on music and substances, I don’t realize just how much I’m removed from my daily routine. When I wake up on Monday morning and remember that I no longer need to make the journey out to Zilker Park via city bus, suddenly my internal clock goes right back to normal. Life moves at a slower pace than the hour-by-hour schedule of a music festival.
Still, in the post-festival daze that a friend of mine who attended the festival describes as “festival withdrawal”, I don’t feel removed from my experience of the ACL itself. ACL flew by quickly, but it didn’t fail to leave lasting memories. Here are some of mine from the second and final weekend of this year’s festival.