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Operation Every Band - SXSW 2014
The Goal: To listen to and review every band performing at SXSW 2014.
OEB - SXSW 2014 Project Links:
OEB's 5 SXSW Qs - An Interview Series
Operation Every Band - SXSW 2013
Operation Every Band - SXSW 2012
Following the lives, careers and internet buzz of twelve bands from SXSW through the end of the year (2011).
Austin City Limits Festival 2011
35 Conferette 2011
(Image Source: SammamishPatch http://bit.ly/k4Gpta)
We last caught up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at The Soundset and Sasquatch Festivals. Recently the guys played a cool small show, The Sammamish Teen Fest in Seattle on June 17th. It’s nice to see artists on the rise still showing love to their hometown by playing smaller shows like this. Macklemore captures the attention of these young fans with the same skill he has shown at large festivals and shows. The duo played fan favorites as well as a new track, “Hope.” The new track was filmed by a few of the fans in attendance. The videos below capture Macklemore tastefully editing his songs for the younger crowd.
OEB Video Diary:
With concerts being captured from every angle by cameras of varying quality it’s interesting to get to see shows captured from multiple vantage points. In the video below YouTube member Keegan Holden (Keegalo’s YouTube channel) posted a video, with distorted audio from being so close to the stage, that included a special moment where Macklemore (at 1:13) grabs the camera and turns the lens on the audience. The description of the video shows the dedication of the fans in Seattle as well noting “macklemore concert # 6 for me. he grabbed my camera!”
Youtube user SponchyPonch captured the moment from another angle (at 1:43) in a video that was filmed further back in the excited crowd so it has better audio.
The guys also played the new singles “Wings” and “My Oh My” as well as favorites from the Vs. album and “The Town” from The Unplanned Mixtape (stream here).
“Wings” - Sammamish (Washington) City Hall at “TeenFest 2011” June 17, 2011
“My Oh My” - Sammamish (Washington) City Hall at “TeenFest 2011” June 17, 2011
While Macklemore avoided cursing he still played the fun drinking song “Irish Celebration” to the notably non-drinking crowd, catch him crowd surfing at the 4:14 mark.
“The Town” - Sammamish (Washington) City Hall at “TeenFest 2011” June 17, 2011, includes a verse over a remixed instrumental track from Sabzi of the Blue Scholars .
Blue Scholars featuring Macklemore – “Tommy Chong” at the Blue Scholar’s ‘Cinemetropolis’ record release party at Neumo’s in Seattle on Friday June 17th. The performance is a funny juxtaposition to the show earlier in the day. In the song Macklmore is a proponent of moderation allowing Geo, Sabzi, and the crowd to celebrate in their own way while respectfully maintaining his own sobriety.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis played two large festivals last weekend. They played the Rhymesayers’ annual Soundset Festival in Minneapolis on Sunday May 29 and Sasquatch near the guys’ hometown of Seattle the following day. The Star Tribune’s Artcetera Blog crowned Macklemore Soundset’s “Best Newcomer”. The Sasquatch set was loved by the local Seattle blogs with the Sound on the Sound blog noting the duo performed a new song and that “Ryan Lewis sang on the new song, and he sounded great!”
Macklemore x Ryan Lewis at Soundset
(Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniemerrill/)
Macklemore x Ryan Lewis at Sasquatch
(Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshc/5785154937/)
The pair has been on a tear recently playing shows everywhere. A few cool upcoming festivals include the Sammamish Teen Fest, a small festival for Seattle teens on June 17th, Then Rock the Bells in LA, August 20th, and NYC, September 3rd, and then the multi-venue music festival MusicfestNW in September.
Image Credit: Hayley Young
Macklemore at last year’s Seattle magazine Spotlight Award photo shoot.
Sapient: Letterhead (Remix feat Illmaculate & Macklemore)
Stream Source: Kevinnottingham.com
If you follow the West Coast Graffiti scene to any extent, you know the name Revok. The L.A.-based writer that goes by that moniker was arrested last week and is facing 180 days in jail and possible felony charges. To offer what I can for support of an artist that has been an influence of mine, I’m formally releasing this graffiti-themed single “Letterhead (Remix)” and donating 100% of profits to Revok’s legal defense fund. The track features my homies Illmaculate & Macklemore and is currently available for digital download on iTunes.
(source: http://www.sapientkills.com/ )
Other ways to support:
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
“…I love writing something that you connect to on a deep level and that other people can relate to. When you write in a way that people feel what you’re talking on a “that’s my life” type of level, that’s what I love about music. It’s a high.”
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Currently Supporting: 2009’s The VS. EP and 2010’s VS. Redux - EP
Operation Every Band Reporter: Nathan Headden
Macklemore is not new to performing music but the buzz surrounding him has even casual listeners ears perking up. He started rapping around 15 with the group “Elevated Elements” and shortly after in 2000 released “Open Your Eyes” under the name Professor Macklemore. A rebranding of sorts took place and Professor Macklemore shortened it to just Macklemore releasing “The Language of My World” in 2005. The pitfalls of being a rapper with a little buzz befell Macklemore and he let substances and ego become the focus of his life. After being confronted by his father Macklemore decided to clean up, finding support in AA and throwing himself into 2009’s The Unplanned Mixtape which featured the first collaborations with beat maker and photographer extraordinaire Ryan Lewis. Lewis is a young producer with an aggressive artistic vision whose work outside of the Macklemore collaborations is full of social commentary and solemnity. Ryan Lewis’ work with Macklemore is undeniably hip hop but he has shown he is just as adept at hip hop with pop influenced beats, as seen on the criminally slept on Symmetry and Ryan Lewis LP which can be found free online.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released The VS. EP in 2009 as an experiment in sampling contemporary indie music and a little nostalgic rock for 80’s babies. Artists sampled include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beirut, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Caribou, The Moments, and Antony and the Johnsons among others. Lewis’ vigilant use of easily recognizable samples kept the tracks from veering into the realm of corny and instead added a new layer to familiar tracks. Following the swell of buzz around the VS. EP and a tour around the US Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released the VS. Redux – EP in October 2010 which featured production by Seattle heavyweights Jake One, Budo, and Sabzi of the Blue Scholars among others.
In late December 2010 and early 2011 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released two singles from the in the works VS. follow up album. One track, “My Oh My”, is a song that pays homage to local legend, Mariner’s announcer Dave Niehaus who passed away in November. The other track “Wings” is a song about shoes and so much more. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have formed a track that captures the affects of our consumer culture using name brand label shoes as a metaphor for the products people place so much importance on. Ryan Lewis crafted the track around a powerful chorus written by Hollis Wear that utilizes local talent the Denny Middle School Choir from West Seattle to craft a track filled with deep emotion. This emotion has become Macklmore’s hallmark.
2011 started as a banner year for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, in less than 48 hours the duo sold out multiple nights at Seattle’s historic Showbox Theater. The buzz surrounding these shows was the tipping point to an explosion of local and national fame for the two artists. During one of the Showbox shows Seattle music legend Sir Mix-a-lot told Macklemore, “I hand you the baton and run baby, run.” Macklmore and Ryan Lewis have taken these words to heart. The pair took their show to Austin Texas and the 2011 SXSW music conference playing numerous shows around town. Following SXSW the twosome played their biggest show to date. Macklemore and Lewis performed at the Mariners opening day at Safeco Field in Seattle performing “My Oh My” in front of 45,000 new fans, recently known as members of the #sharkfacegang.
Nathan’s take: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are both fantastic talents. As a hip hop head I’ve watched acts for years begin to get a buzz and see that slowly die out to the new flavor of the moment. There seems to be a special element to the music Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are crafting that is engaging to hard core fans as well as casual listeners. Whether you have never heard of Macklemore or followed him from his early beginnings get ready to hear his name on larger and larger media outlets. With the pairs’ focus on quality tracks and thoughtful public engagement they appear to be beginning a race to the top that has just begun.
I was originally going to catch Wye Oak, The Dodos, and Middle Brother at the BrooklynVegan day party on Friday afternoon, but due to an overcrowded, hot, and somewhat agitated crowd, we decided to venture off. My friend sent me a text promising nice air conditioning and great hip hop at the SXSeattle party at Copa Bar, so we headed in that direction, realizing we were about fifteen minutes from a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis set. This duo was high on my list of top hip hop recs, so excitement was high entering the wonderful back patio at Copa. The crowd wasn’t too large, but made up for it in passion as they crowded the stage upon Macklemore & Ryan Lewis stepping into performance position.
The following show was one of the best half hours of fun and danceable hip hop I’ve ever witnessed. Macklemore is a very skilled MC and lyricist, using relatable material and clever phrasing. His energy was at a ten throughout, coercing his fan base to shout along and dance like no one is watching. There’s an incredible lack of ego emited throughout his performance, creating a friendly and musical vibe that fit the crowd of friends and big time music fans surrounding the tree that dominates the back patio at Copa. The Ziggy Stardust inspired trickery within the club-ready party jam “And We Danced” drew a midset peak, showing a light and catchy side of Macklemore’s personality. He seemed to work every member of the audience individually, striding across the stage and engaging eyes and ears throughout the whole performance.
The show started out with an unexpected twist, with a trumpet player standing on a table in the back corner blasting out a melody that carried right into Ryan Lewis’ beats. The instrumentalist played throughout the set, adding just that little extra touch that seperated the show from the other hip hop acts I caught at SXSW. The music ranged from honest and powerful (“Otherside”, playing off the Red Hot Chili Peppers track) to poignant and emotional (“My Oh My”) to flat out fun (the flag-waving set closer “Irish Celebration”). I walked away from the set with the immediate reaction that it was the best hip hop act I’ve seen live. The show was pretty much perfect, and was the solid highlight of Friday’s shows. I can’t wait to catch them again; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are poised to really break out if they can get their songs to listener’s ears.