By Margot Edwards
Berklee College of Music, the only college to host an official party at the SXSW Music Festival, presents its SXSW Party: Boston and Beyond on Thursday, March 19, noon – 8:00 p.m., at Brush Square Park West Tent, located at 409 East 5th St. (Neches and 5th), Austin, TX. Berklee’s 10th annual SXSW Party is presented by The Red Room @ Cafe 939, Alumni Affairs, Heavy Rotation Records(HRR), and media sponsor Vanyaland.
The party features up-and-coming Berklee alumni and students performing rock, pop, electronic, Americana and folk. Artists include Joy Daniels, Avers, Hooka Hey, O Conqueror, Grey Season (HRR), The Ballroom Thieves, Night Lights (HRR), Radclyffe Hall, Yellerkin, and St. Nothing.
Check out this playlist featuring the artists here:
This year, Berklee has added a second stage for acoustic sets. Students Rachael Wolff, Lady Rogo, and Jacob George, and alumnus Oliver Monaco will perform in between bands. They also play on Saturday, March 21, at the Berklee Guitar and Songwriting Showcase [2:00 pm, St. David’s Bethel Hall].
Berklee’s SXSW Party: Boston and Beyond is all ages and open to SXSW badge holders. The public can firstname.lastname@example.org to attend free of charge.
Artists in order of appearance:
Joy Daniels is a Los Angeles-based alumna singer-songwriter and producer who fuses innovative hip-hop and passionate vocals to lyrics and music that explore the complexities of the human spirit. Daniels has released albums including Electric Soul Music and Joy After the Rain, and has performed recently with Stevie Wonder, Sam Smith, and Bastille in concert and TV appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The American Music Awards, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Avers, from Richmond, VA, are psychedelic pop, blistering garage rock, and fuzzed-out shoegaze all in one. With their amps cranked high and their voices doused in reverb, Avers brew a spacey swirl. The group formed with Head and the Heart’s Tyler Williams on drums and James Mason, James Lloyd Hodges, alumna Alexandra Spalding, Adrian Olsen, and Charlie Glenn swapping between bass, guitar and keyboard. Their debut, Empty Light, came out in 2014.
Hooka Hey, from Austin, TX, plays heavy grooves steeped in the blues. Its smoky, sludgy sound is dense and charged like an approaching rainstorm. The band is composed of Alex Kane (bass), Hugo de Saint Quentin (guitar), Jesse Houghton (guitar), and alumnus Ethan Yeager (drums). KUTX’s Austin Music Minute said of Hooka Hey, “There’s a reverence here for the kind of serious rockin’ out that leaves you sweaty, grimy and wanting more.”
O Conqueror was formed in 2012 by songwriter Dustin Doering (vocals) in Austin, Texas. It has since become a collective endeavor consisting of Justin Green (guitar), Mike Fisher (bass, backing vocals), Pedro Corsetti (drums), and alumnus Alex Hartley (keyboard). The group is preparing to release its second album, on which it promises a melodic journey of catchy brooding hooks folded into ambient folk with elements of delta blues and psychedelic western.
Grey Season (HRR) perform five-part harmony, blues-rooted guitar solos between wholehearted lyricism, and memorable melodies driven by bouzoukis and banjos. Benny Grotto (Dresden Dolls) and Grammy–winner Justin Guip produced its debut album at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. The group is composed of Ian Jones (bass, vocals); alumni Jon Mills (guitar, vocals, Irish bouzouki) and Matt Knelman (guitar, vocals); and students Chris Bloniarz (banjo, piano, mandolin, vocals), and Ben Burns (drums, vocals). Grey Season appears on HRR’s Dorm Sessions 10. Listen at SoundCloud.com/
The Ballroom Thieves – Devin Mauch (percussion), alumna Calin Peters (cello), and Martin Earley (guitar) – blend folk conventions with modern hymnals, and delta blues with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while also rejecting its restrictions. Supporting their debut, A Wolf in the Doorway, The Ballroom Thieves will open the next Boston Calling Festival featuring Pixies, My Morning Jacket, and St. Vincent.
Night Lights (HRR) brings together students and alumni with a world of indie, rock, and soul influences, striking a balance between profound lyrics, hooky melodies, and danceable music. Yusuke Sato’s intricate riffs, Drew Story’s warped soundscapes, Jeff Kinsey’s melodic bass, Dag Hanken’s colorful rhythms, and Mau Jiminez’s captivating guitar and other-worldly voice effects combine for an audio adventure. Night Lights appeared on HRR’s Dorm Sessions 9. The band’s forthcoming EP was produced by Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse).
Radclyffe Hall – alumni Dhy Berry (keys/vocals), Jaqui Rae Stewart (keys/vocals), and Carl Harkness (drums), and student Sean Camargo (drums) – began as an experiment in analog and digital production and coalesced around founder Berry’s groove-heavy compositions and dance-pop aesthetics. In their recordings and live shows, Radclyffe Hall has solidified an indelible sonic signature of pulsating live and programmed beats, ethereal vocals, and fuzzy bass lines.
Yellerkin is a rising indie duo from Brooklyn comprised of Adrian Galvin and alumnus Luca Buccellati, childhood friends who have known each other for over 20 years. Originally from the woods of Katonah, NY, they reunited after college, helping one another to yell their stories of love and family. Yellerkin released their debut self-titled EP in 2014, which features the single “Solar Laws.” The duo recently opened up for Dr. Dog and is preparing to release new music.
St. Nothing is a string-driven electropop group consisting of Marco Lawrence (singer-songwriter, producer), Sophia Carreras (guitar), Meredith Nero (viola), Jenna Calabro (cello) and alumnus Felix Nicholson (drums). In the past year, the group was nominated for two Boston Music Awards, opened the Boston Calling Music Festival, and performed with artists like Juana Molina, Young Galaxy, Alpine, and Freezepop. The group is working on its debut album.
Vanyaland is a Boston-based online music magazine, alternative radio station, and lifestyle brand. An interactive source for music news, live shows, new releases, downloads, live streams, and nightlife around Boston and beyond, focusing on the bands raised in our city but also welcoming to the touring acts that pass through it daily. Since its launch in May 2013, it has become the fastest-growing and most-read music website in New England, combining breaking news with artist profiles and snapshots that provide the reader with both music and video embeds and links in addition to its daily original content.
VanyaRadio: A live 24/7, non-stop radio station broadcasting from the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, VanyaRadio provides the sound to the stories featured on award-winning digital music magazine Vanyaland. From breaking local talent to finding the next global chart-topper, VanyaRadio’s playlist suits the modern music consumer who never misses a beat.