I couldn’t mention that I was moving to Austin without hearing “oh my god, the music! There’s good music everywhere there!” And there is. It’s not confined to brand-name festivals either – it’s like a live soundtrack that follows you everywhere you go (and it’ll find you in the strangest of circumstances). There’s a wide-range of locally sourced artists here, and these three are my faves.
1) Slim Gravy
Both Slim and the music he creates have an infectious energy, light-hearted and dancy, yet always hinting at something a little deeper. I first saw Slim perform at a Hurricane Harvey benefit concert at Mass Gallery, a small art gallery in East Austin. There was a circular stage in the middle of the room with the crowd gathered around. Slim whirled around the stage, rapping face to face with fans, slowing down only to adjust his mic cord or to take a moment and serenade his lady. He’s a captivating performer and lyricist, combining quick-lipped raps with groove-inducing beats, and he’s given a name to this genre that’s home to the likes of Kaytranada and Goldlink – “Ghetto Disco.”
I stumbled upon my first Omenihu show on a Bumble date at Cheer Up Charlie’s in downtown Austin. His message was clear from the start – he was there to have a good time and wanted everyone else to do the same. He embodied the message on stage with DJ joaqu.n and had the crowd feeling it too, yelling out and dancing, drenched in sweat. Relatable and engaging with an ever-positive vibe, it was the ideal atmosphere for a first date. I’ve since seen Omenihu perform a second time, and he consistently brings this energy that commands a joyful presence.
3.) The Bad Invaders
Pudding wrestling, anyone? I really thought that was going to be the highlight of my trip to Rainey street, but The Bad Invaders proved me wrong. They took to the stage between strange and chocolate soaked wrestling rounds and stole my heart with their personality. While a tall man pranced around the stage in a top hat and tighty-whities (which eventually soaked through to reveal a charming ass tattoo), a sassy female simultaneously bounced a tambourine off her body and belted out soulfully. Everything about this self-defined “garage gospel dancey-dance juice rock” group is enchanting.