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Recap | Pandora Turn the Dial up on Night 1 at SXSW 2017

Streaming music service sets the tune for SXSW 2017 with showcases from FRENSHIP, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) and Lo Moon.

Patrick Greenby Patrick Green
Photo: Patrick Green

The second week of SXSW 2017 is actually just the start of the music festival festivities. With sponsored showcases and official and unannounced SXSW shows all over Austin there was a lot to see and hear on day one.

Also: The 20 Must See Bands for SXSW 2017

One of the hottest spots to be on SXSW 2017 day one was the Pandora showcase at the Gatsby. Although I arrived a day late for Gucci Mane’s special performance to celebrate the music streaming’s new service, Pandora Premium, which combines the best of Pandora radio with the ability to search and play any track or album any time for $9.99/month, it was still the place to be on Monday night.

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 13: James Sunderland (L) and Brett Hite of Frenship perform at the Pandora Night Party during the 2017 SXSW Conference And Festivals on March 13, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder (Getty Images)

FRENSHIP were the perfect opener to the evening’s festivities, welcoming the eager, yet jet-lagged crowd (okay, that was me) with their pop-synth rock (with a hint of country) sounds. Frontmen and best buds James Sunderland and Brett Hite trade verses, harmonies, jokes and even engaged in a drum duel, working in synch to set a feel good tone that made you want to put your hands in the air for sing-alongs or to light up your cellphone. 

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 13: Nic Offer of !!! (Chk Chk Chk) performs onstage at the Pandora Party during 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals at The Gatsby on March 13, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW)

Photo: Diego Donamaria (Getty Images)

Next up, was !!! (Chk Chk Chk), who describe themselves as a “band of gold, band of gypsies, sons and daughter of MILFs.” To say that they’re fun is like saying Austin is just “The Live Capital Music of the World.” The funk punk collective are a bit like LCD Soundsystem minus the morose and hipster commentary of James Murphy, but with all of the fun. 

Frontman Nick Offer hit the stage in bold suit shorts, prowling the stage, licking his lips and grabbing his crotch like the love child of Mick Jagger and Beck… on Molly. The band was tighter than the body suit of an as yet unnamed soul chanteuse co-singer (I’ve been trying to Google her all morning), who they’ve weaved into their disco party seamlessly. If you haven’t seen !!! (Chk Chk Chk), definitely add them to your “must-see bands SXSW 2017 list.”

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 13: Matt Lowell of Lo Moon performs at the Pandora Night Party during the 2017 SXSW Conference And Festivals on March 13, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder (Getty Images)

Lo Moon were the ideal come down (in a good way). The Los Angeles band has the music blog adoration and name recognition (band member Sam Stewart is Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics son) that have made their upcoming album one of the most highly-anticipated debut’s of 2017. You can hear why from their shimmering songs that have a distilled ’90s alt-rock-synth rock sound that is both atmospheric and melancholic and dare I say singer Matt Lowell sounds a bit like Thom Yorke?

Cut Chemist with Mr. Lif #sxsw

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I closed the night out with a fly by Mazda Studio at Empire Control Room to check out Cut Chemist Presents, which featured the esteemed DJ showcasing the likes of Boston rapper Mr. Lif, but the beats weren’t the only things hot and steamy, plus the late night street tacos were calling and there was Day Two to prep for.