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.
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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.
The 5th annual Global Citizen Festival continued the success of past iterations by generating support for a variety of international social causes. Through actions and commitments driven by the public, either with intent to attend the free show or through a prompt from a performer (notably Rihanna asked her fans to call Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to boost funding for foreign health programs), Global Citizens are making measurable impact.
As the GCF press release notes, “these commitments and announcements are worth $1.9 billion, and are set to reach 199 million people, and put the world on track to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Global Citizens will continue to use these commitments to hold governments and businesses accountable to deliver on their promises in the years to come.” Some specifics follow select performance highlights and a few photos.