In recent years, downtown Austin’s music venue and bar, Swan Dive, has established its dominance as a local-music mecca. This quaint, modern space, decorated with cozy booths and a spacious dance floor, serves as refuge for music lovers city-wide that want to enjoy quality concerts and collaborative events at a decent price.
Last Friday (August 19) Swan Dive hosted Summer Slam, a four-band showcase presented by Glitter Tribe and Sound Dessert. With the contemporary-disco club, Barbarella, only steps away from Swan Dive, partitioned only by an outdoor dance floor, the crowd yielded an eclectic and groovy vibe. Not only was the event filled with a radical energy and vodka specials, but Amy’s Ice Creams made an appearance as well–Austin’s quintessential dessert venue showed up with free ice cream for guests. The bill was composed of four similar-genre’d bands, each with a unique take on psychedelic pop-rock. Typical Girls, Roaring Sun, The Sun Machine and Strange Fiction kept the crowd moving and engaged, each with a distinct artistic accent. The showcase was a cosmic success, achieved in a blockbuster fashion to finish off this summer’s monumental influence on local music.
Artist relations and event planning queens, Dani DeMarco and Taylor Wilson, otherwise known as Glitter Tribe, served as the backbone for Summer Slam alongside Sound Dessert–an online pop-culture music blog. Between DeMarco, Wilson and the face of Sound Dessert, Gillian Driscoll, there was serious girl power radiating from the behind the scenes visionaries involved with the event. Glitter Tribe and Sound Dessert both dedicate their organizations to expanding the influence of local music and art–a righteous feat that translates well into their parties.
Although the turn-out was humble, the bashful crowd remained engaged and impressed by each performance, while simultaneously enjoying craft beer and good conversation amongst fellow attendees.
Culminating aspects of indie-pop and contemporary beach-rock, comes the San Marcos based five-piece ensemble, Typical Girls. Typical Girls produce an elegant stream of synthesis, capitalized by a rock ‘n roll reverb. Their bass is heavy and loud, seen as inanimate objects danced on their surfaces to the rampant vibration moving through the still air. The lead voice of the band is possessed by a voice similar to King Krule–deep and distinct. Typical Girls served as a fine primer for what was to come in the later evening.
Composed of four, hippie-esque young men, Austin’s Roaring Sun brought a quirky, energized atmosphere with their set. As well as combining elements of beach-rock, Roaring Sun impressively weaved in influences of early classic-rock, synth-pop and even new-age metal. The band is affluent in musical dimensions and despite the X’s on their hands, they played with power and swagger. Each song smoothly transitioned into the next–they performed old and new music alike with style and individuality.
The sun machine
Also hailing from Austin, the self-proclaimed “third coast surf” outfit, The Sun Machine, had a stirring, bangin’ set. Their general aesthetic was a parallel between contemporary rockabilly and the very best of the year 1975. The band played with great enthusiasm: The lead singer made his way around the floor dancing and shouting, riling up patrons as the instrumentals ran rampantly, chaotically in-sync behind him. Their show was a party in and of itself–groovy, energetic and notable.
Strange Fiction, an indie/pop-rock five-some from Austin, brought their established sound to Swan Dive to headline the evening. The five handsome men executed a clear, futuristic sound with the use of classic instruments and synthesizers–creating an unusual yet starkly human sound. Strange Fiction turned Swan Dive into Madison Square Garden, as they played with grandiose conviction and confidence. Each track was uplifting and spunky. The elegant synth tones and rock ‘n roll leverage that possesses Strange Fiction gives them a formidable sound and reputation.
The summer of 2016 has been transformational for local art. With a rapid expansion of the music-tech industry, and exponentially growing support from Austinites city-wide, this summer took local music off the brink and put it back onto it’s well-deserving throne. Summer Slam was a stunning seasonal exit that profitably capitalized the successes of this summer in Austin.