Article and Photos by: Melanie Allen
Austin’s new festival Sound On Sound hosted a live show this past weekend, at which the headliner was electronic group Austra.
To start off the night was Austin’s very own “future wave” group Night Drive. Their dreamy, 80s-esque, synth-pop tracks captivated the audience, much of who showed up early to see this opening act. Synthetic fog flooded the stage, creating a cinematic and dramatic mood to accompany their entrancing songs. Night Drive currently has a few EPs out, and is releasing their upcoming self-titled debut album on February 24th of this year. At one point, lead vocalist Rodney Connell made himself very comfortable amidst one of their set as he got off stage and walked through the crowd, serenading a few lucky audience members.
The second act was energetic solo artist James Hinton, a.k.a. The Range, who seems to have mastered the techniques of producing. His electronic music explores hip-hip samples with hints of dubstep. Accompanying him onstage is a projector and a screen onto which the projections appear. The projections are created to fit with each song, and include visuals of people and digitized landscapes, among other things. The Range performed many tracks off of his 2016 album, Potential, including the single “Florida.” Hinton’s onstage energy was definitely absorbed by the audience, charmed by his upbeat dancing.
A low, constant bass sound was playing as Austra took the stage. The Mohawk was packed to the brim, front to back. After the rest of her bandmates, frontwoman Katie Stelmanis took the stage, and the group began to play “We Were Alive” off of their third album Future Politics (2007) which they are currently touring. The group was absolutely beaming (thought maybe it was the bright and saturated lighting choices, but I don’t think so). Regardless of Future Politics’ release just about two weeks before Austra’s Austin performance, most everyone was able to sing along. The entire night had been dance-worthy, but Austra really got everyone moving with hits such as “I Love You More Than You Love Yourself,” “Lose It,” and “Home.” Though Stelmanis may be on the less-tall side, she sure can pound out vocals like it’s nobody’s business. Her strong, fluttery, sustained notes gave everyone shocking chills as her live voice matched up to, if not surpassed, her striking vocals on their studio albums. For anyone that isn’t familiar with Austra, be sure to expect lots of passionate synth-pop (the group had THREE keyboards onstage), smooth drum beats, and beaming genuineness.