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Thursday, January 15, 2015

More Locals Headed to SXSW: Geographer, Bill Baird, and Berner

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 2:12 PM

click to enlarge Bill Baird will bring his charmingly weird self to SXSW.
  • Bill Baird will bring his charmingly weird self to SXSW.

Line-up announcements for major festivals such as Bottle Rock, Coachella, and Bonnaroo have been clogging up newsfeeds and trending all over social media during the past couple weeks, prompting hopeful festival-goers to plan their summer escapes early.

SXSW is never one to be left out, getting in on the line-up action by announcing its third round of showcasing bands yesterday. We combed through the list for you to pick out the Bay Area acts making the journey to showcase their music in Austin:

Berner (San Francisco CA)
San Francisco native Gilbert Milam Jr., aka Berner, will be representing the Bay Area hip-hop scene in Texas this year. A self-starter, Berner started out at open mics and rap battle around SF before getting picked up by Wiz Kalifa’s label Taylor Gang. His latest release is 20 Lights, a seven-song EP which includes Migos, The Jacka, and Wiz himself lending verses. The video for "OT" features Berner in a club with an entourage smoking their weight in weed; anticipate a secondhand high at his SXSW showcase.

Bill Baird (Oakland CA)
A multi-faceted artist and a bit of an enigma, Bill Baird’s raw talent shines through his minimalist musical style. His many talents include video production, sound engineering, live art installations and performances, and of course songwriting. His music is melodic and droning, with many songs over five minutes interwoven with resonant sounds and feedback loops. At times chipper and upbeat, he echoes the same style of sonic nonchalance perfected by Frank Zappa and Beck, among others. He even created a Theremin-like instrument called the Magnetetractys, which he plays with magnetic gloves called Hot Hands. It’ll be interesting to see how creative he gets with his SXSW showcase.

Fantastic Negrito (Oakland CA)
Channeling Delta blues and black roots music, Xavier Dphrepaulezz oozes with passion and heart as Fantastic Negrito. Slide guitar, high-pitched keys and a strained, raspy voice evoke the struggles of a man searching for identity and meaning. Raised as a devout Muslim, and suffering through a horrific car accident which almost left him completely paralyzed, Xavier constantly struggles with reinventing himself while staying true to his past though his music. He takes inspiration from Oakland’s changing visage, a fitting metaphor for the trials and tribulations from which he’s emerged victorious. Expect equal parts funk and soul from his performance in Austin.

Geographer (San Francisco CA)
Local mainstays Geographer had a great 2014, playing to packed houses at big local venues and delivering standout performance at Monterey’s First City Festival over the summer. Their momentum continues into 2015, with a new record on the horizon and now a ticket booked to SXSW. Their music straddles electro pop sensibilities behind poppy drums and some precise string work. Blending analog and digital comes naturally to the three piece, whose musical accessibility is sure to win over some badge-wearers.

Jackie Greene (Sacramento CA)
Representing Sacramento is folksy singer-songwriter Jackie Greene. Another performer who started in small bars and open mic nights, Greene got his big break through Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, playing as a member of his band Phil & Friends. Deadheads embraced Greene, and he furthered his career by opening for The Black Crowes on a 2013 world tour. With songs driven by acoustic guitar and roots rock progressions, his music shifts between country, psychedelia and folk revival. Greene’s good ol’ American boy persona and musical motifs should go over well deep in the heart of Texas.

Meat Market (Oakland CA)
Oakland garage rock flag-bearers Meat Market bring endless amounts of energy and fun whenever they go. Frequently seen at East Bay shows in places like The World Rage Center, Lobot Art Gallery and The Nerd Castle, the foursome always inspires a good mosh pit with lots of spilled beer. Alex, Ian, Jake, and Jeff have been friends since college, developing their sound and style as a house party band that got always the attention of music lovers and the Santa Cruz Police Department. Now signed to Suicide Squeeze, they’ll be making the journey to Austin with fellow garage rockers Guantanamo Baywatch and The Memories. Give a listen to the dynamic and primal ‘Big Cookie’.

Team Zoe (Oakland CA)
Hip-hop collective Team Zoë carries a certain swagger and vision. Full of trap beats and street-centric lyrical styles, their recordings exhibit a self-fulfilling prophecy of starting from the bottom and moving up. Through Z4L Productions, Z4L TV, and social media, they’re making their presence felt in the Bay and beyond. They carry their Christianity on their sleeves during live shows, and should have no problem converting a few believers down South. 
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Martin Hirshland


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