SPOILER ALERT: This is another preview about another festival that is NOT South By Southwest. If you wish to stop reading now, be my guest. However, just know that you’ll be missing out on free music, free food, plenty of awesome giveaways and the perfect way to unwind before Spring Break and celebrate making it through half a semester.
Are you still there? Good.
By Bryan Rolli
In celebration of the fabulously talented Austin artists we have featured in our regular 5-1-Tunes segments this year, ORANGE Magazine has joined forces with the University Co-Op to throw its very own unofficial, pre-SXSW showcase called 5-1-Tunes Fest this Thursday from 5-9 p.m. in the Co-Op Food Court. The Co-Op will hold a series of giveaways (X Games tickets, Moto XP tickets and Red Fest tickets) for those present. Buddha’s Brew will also be giving out kombucha samples, and there will be a gross overabundance of KIND bars, as per usual with any ORANGE function. Most importantly, the four artists performing cover a huge range of styles, serving as a celebratory nod to this musically rich city and establishing themselves as simply, uniquely, Austin.
Jane Claire (5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.): Hailing from the Rio Grande Valley, singer/songwriter Jane Claire moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas and pursue music. She is a vocal powerhouse and chameleon, often covering the vulnerability of Adele and the bite of Janis Joplin in the same song, if not the same breath. Her music explores love, tragedy and the unadulterated joy of performing. She’s also the co-Editor in Chief at ORANGE and is responsible for the endless supply of free KIND bars, so show some respect.
Piqued Jacks (6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.): Music is never without sacrifice, and the Piqued Jacks took the ultimate leap by moving from their hometown of Borgo a Buggiano, Italy, to Austin to chase their dream. Combining the aggressive funk-rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the frenetic vocal flourishes of the Mars Volta, the four-piece has recorded their debut EP, Just a Machine, and played two showcases at last year’s SXSW since moving to Austin in late 2012. They also sport some electrifying (literally) stage attire that I won’t spoil for you. Come see for yourself.
Featherface (7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.): Hearkening back to Abbey Road-era Beatles with a healthy splash of Viva La Vida-era Coldplay, these Houston natives stack wistful vocal melodies atop bouncy keys to create their own brand of dreamy, psychedelic pop. The group avoids the trite and common pitfalls most Top 40 artists make, but never gets bogged down in its own introspection or self-importance. Instruments are not so much individual sounds but textures, bold slabs of color that all lend to a rich sonic palette. The end result is a joyful melancholy, a paradoxical combination that demands a listen — ideally in a live setting — to make sense.
Friendly Savages (8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.): These Austinites’ impassioned hybrid of folk, rock and Americana combines catchiness and authenticity, while always keeping an eye on bombast. Calm, acoustic numbers swell into captivating, full-band epics, with waves of piano crashing into explosive drums, which allows lead singer John's scratchy mid-range vocals to coast overtop the band, straining nearly to their breaking point to reach high notes that only make them sound more endearing. Their songs sound grizzly and weathered, but there is a joy to be found in the group’s playful musicality, one that is best expressed onstage. Yet another must-see act.
But don’t just take my word for it. Join the action this Thursday at 5 p.m. ORANGE Magazine’s 5-1-Tunes Fest is a manifestation of the musical diversity in this city, and with Spring Break rapidly approaching, it serves as a celebration of food, fun and freedom, if only for a few days.